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Smith College

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

Australia: Rainforest, Reef, and Cultural Ecology

Abstract

Kangaroos have been cherished as a source of meat for over 40,000 years by Aboriginal Australians and for many years by Europeans once they invaded the continent, but somewhere along the way kangaroos lost their status as an important resource and came to be regarded as a pest, and then a national icon which was considered taboo to hunt (Jackson et al., 2010; Mulvaney et al., 1999). It wasn't until the 1950's that a kangaroo meat industry began, and in the past few decades Australians have re-realized the great potential of kangaroo meat, and conservationists have begun promoting the sustainability and environmentally-friendly nature of kangaroos. The kangaroo industry is doing well (Kelly, 2013), but there is still much room for improvement (Ampt et al., 2008), and consumption still needs to increase in order for “sheep replacement therapy” to be realized (Grigg, 1987; Grigg, 1988; Grigg, 2002). This study used surveys administered to students at two universities in Sydney, Australia to determine whether the young adults of today's generation would be more likely to consume kangaroo meat than the overall Australian population, which would indicate that the Australian population's kangaroo consumption is increasing over time. The study also aimed to investigate students' awareness of kangaroo sustainability and harvesting issues, in order to determine whether increased awareness and education would cause increased consumption. It was found that students' kangaroo consumption is very similar to the kangaroo consumption of the general population of Australia, as determined by comparing results to the 2008 study done by Ampt et al. This study also found a high proportion of students to be unsure about many aspects of kangaroo meat and kangaroo harvesting, and increased education and awareness does seem to be likely to increase the consumption of kangaroo meat. This paper suggests that better promotion, marketing, and visibility of kangaroo meat would have a strongly positive affect on the industry.

Disciplines

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Australian Studies

 

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