Friday, January 26, 2007

Eat the Bustard!

An article in New Matilda argues that Australians are missing the opportunity to use its own resources -- choosing to farm the American turkey and chicken rather than its own indigenous bustard.

Given the palatability of the bird, why did Australians begin to lose interest in bustards and refocus instead on importing American turkeys - yet another introduced species that could potentially harm Australia? Why didn't they build an industry around sustainably harvesting, and in the process conserving, a valued Australian bird? Our guess is that native foods were increasingly seen as 'poor man's tucker' and as such were gradually removed from Australian cookbooks.
The contrast between the current status of the bustard and the chicken in Australia is stark: the former is struggling to survive and in decline, the latter is the continent's most numerous bird. Indeed, the chicken is now thought to be the world's most numerous bird, all eight billion of them.

Bob Beale and Michael Archer are co-authors of Going Native: Living in the Australian Environment (Hodder Headline)
Bob Beale and Michael Archer 'Sustainability: Eat the Bustard!' New Matilda (22/11/2006)

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