Australia’s National Food Plan may include vegan issues  »

That’s the way to do it, Vegan Australia.

The magical island of Australia (or as we think of it, Evil New Zealand), is right now creating a national food plan. The government wants “to foster a sustainable, globally competitive, resilient food supply that supports access to nutritious and affordable food.” Which is admirable!

The leader of NFP project, Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig, minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, has been meeting with interested parties nationwide, and taking public comment since releasing his ministry’s first issues papers on the subject in June 2011. This week Vegan Australia submitted its own set of recommendations to the NFP, because vegans care a lot about the direction of food production. As quoted in the International News Magazine, Vegan Australia recommends the NFP should

Ensure all Australians have access to affordable and adequate fresh fruits and vegetables and other plant foods irrespective of income by 2015.

Improve the health of Australians and lower the burden on the health system by reducing the incidence of dietary related diseases.

Use Australia’s land resources more effectively and sustainably.

End the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20 years by building up and supporting Australia’s fruit, vegetable and grain producers.

"End the use of animal agriculture systems within the next 20 years"! As in, TURN AUSTRALIA VEGAN. I love it. I love that the first tenet is "food justice" and the last is "National veganism." Those are big goals! Read them all in the official submission [pdf].

Would our Australian readers (or any antipodean readers, if you follow Australian news) please tell us your opinions on this? Is it a tiny issue? Is the country abuzz with cries of “Let us eat steak!”? Are Australian vegans like the ideal-world version of the silent majority? OK that can’t be true—no vegan is silent. But I don’t know anything about anything, so let your favorite pink dinosaur know: What is up with the National Food Plan? Will Australia be vegan within our lifetime?

[Photo of (and recipe for) vegan lamingtons by penguincakes via Flickr]


Wild kangaroo is “green” meat; obviously we should be farming them!  »

New Scientist magazine has a vegetarian, Wendy Zukerman, take an “in-depth” look at the argument for eating kangaroo. Turns out it’s the same argument these kangaroo-pushing Australians keep making: “We already shoot just oodles of kangaroos all the time, they’re such terrible pests you know, and cooked right the meat is absolutely delicious! It’s so lean! Besides, you’ve got to shoot them BANG once in the head, it’s an utterly painless death you know, doesn’t give that awful ‘terror-hormone’ flavor (“myopathy”) to the meat. The joeys? Oh, you just kill them too, shoot them, or whack them in the head with a ‘a metal pipe, or [swing them] against the side of a truck.’ Easy-peasy! Heaven knows we don’t need more ‘roos! If they get away, they’ll live, hardy little buggers. The best part is, we’re not spending any extra money for them right now! Just get a hunting license and shoot shoot shoot, save the landscape for the properly farmed livestock.”

Still, this isn’t enough. The people—or at least, the people invested in selling kangaroo as a tasty meaty treat—demand more ‘roo! And it’s hard to go out hunting every night, returning with maybe one dead kangaroo for your efforts (e.g. sitting, looking). What’s the plan? Farming the kangaroos! Of course! Keep them in an enclosed area, feed and water them like other livestock, and they’ll just be there, ready for shooting/neck-slitting/etc. whenever “the people” want!

Except, hold on there, geniuses. Doesn’t having a kangaroo ranch, where people are responsible for the care and feeding of kangaroos, directly oppose all the arguments of the council for eating kangaroos? They aren’t self-sustaining—which is to say, wild—animals anymore if they are living behind big fences and people are looking after them. You’ll have to “maintain artificial watering points throughout the landscape, which are environmentally detrimental because you favour water-dependent species,” and what’s next, “government subsidies,” really? Really? Kangaroos are Australia’s new sheep.

Of course this would have to be a “solution” (ha) exclusive to the Antipodes, as kangaroos live exclusively in Australia and on some islands in New Zealand (not stated which), and if we’ve learned anything from colonial times, it’s Bringing Non-Native Species to “New” Worlds Is a Very Stupid Idea. Further, being wild animals, they won’t take well to ocean voyages, and once they arrive all that myopathy in their systems will have ruined the flavor of their sweet, sweet flesh.

But hey! An Australian vegetarian of 10 years ate some kangaroo once, and thought it tasted good, so maybe it’s not so bad! She even called it “the kindest meat.” The kindest meat! And if the hunters promise not to kill the lady kangaroos, there won’t be any bashing or smashing of tiny baby kangaroos, so that’s all right! Might as well start fencing off some land; the kangaroo ranches are totally coming, Australia. Wonder how long it’ll take before people over here start shooting the kangaroos in the zoos.

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