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Go Feral – Swap, not stop.

December 4, 2011

We are so used to hearing it… Exhibit A is bad for the environment so stop using it.

It is the dialectic which has dominated discussion of beef – cows are bad for the environment therefore we should not consume beef. The logic is not consuming beef leads to less cows being produced and thus less damage to the environment.

As Ecovores, we have no argument with the logic. But as Ecovores, we see more options.

For an Ecovore, the focus is on eating native animals that do not produce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and feral species. This post focuses on feral animals.

Feral animals are bad for the environment. In some cases, they produce GHG, but their lifestyle is destructive of the fragile environments in which they live. This can also apply to many native species, if they overpopulate, as overpopulation leads to overgrazing of the land, leading to degradation. Instances such as these reverse the above dialect, they are bad for environment and thus we should increase our consumption.

Increasing consumption of feral animals aims to reduce their numbers. Culling species such as camel, buffalo and wild boar present’s benefits to the environment and thus increasing there consumption is better for ecosystems. Many of these animals do not produce as much green house gases as do livestock such as cows and sheep, however from the point of an Ecovore, any emissions produced is irrelevant as they already exist and consumption of feral animals does not increase the populations of the species. In fact, it is the ultimate aim of Ecovore is to remove them from the environment.

The argument here is to swap meat, not to stop it. Reducing beef consumption and increasing consumption of feral animals is beneficial for the environment for two great reasons. Firstly, less cows would be produced as demand decreases and this leads to less green house gas emissions from livestock. Secondly, ecosystems are improved by declining numbers of pest species or overpopulated species, which are overgrazing their habitat. Most of the large feral populations are located in fragile environments, not suitable for mainstream agriculture or primary production. For overpopulated species, it is the aim of the Ecovore to sustainably manage local populations as an alternative to traditional beef farming, however whilst species are already overpopulated and there is an abundance of feral animals, consuming game meat is choice for the environment.

For Ecovores, we have a significant structural challenge to overcome in order to gain access to these feral animals. With the exception of Kangaroo (though Wild Duck, Rabbit and Boar and becoming more common) most of these animals are culled, but their meat is not being sold. So far, all the camel and buffalo I have located has been farmed – and this meat does not benefit the environment. The challenge is to create the mechanisms and the infrastructure, for these culled species to be commercialised, so that they can be purchased instead of farmed meats.

This topic is undoubtedly contentious, so please feel free to share your thoughts or questions by either commenting or by using the contact form here.

Supplier Found: Wangara Game & Poultry

November 28, 2011

I Bought some Game Meat for Saturday night at Wangara Game & Poultry in Kensington. I bought a frozen wild rabbit and fresh Kangaroo Fillets. Wangara Game is a wholesaler to restaurants, meaning not only is it great quality, but it is really cheap!

They have a huge range of products and if you place an order over $160, they deliver for free. I recommend getting in with some friends and making an order regularly. In the past, I have mainly bought my Roo from supermarkets, but the meat from them was much better in quality.

I am going to chuck there details as a supplier on the Cafes, Bars & Shops page, but more info is on their website.


A taste of what’s coming..

November 24, 2011

Finally back in business after a long month (or so) of exams. Ecovore is going to go wild.

Looking forward to doing a guest post over at Eat. Drink. Better. and plenty of our own posts on Game Meats, recipes and suppliers. I finally have the time and I am keen to get on it. With any luck, Ecovore have some of its own guest posting – about sustainable fish and the environmental impact of pets (and mainly, their food).

Stay tuned folks, it’s bound to be tasty.

New pages, content

October 22, 2011

We are building up the pages on here. Trying to find good places to go which serve Eco-friendly food, such as game and vegetarian options. Also searching for some nice recipes, ideas for posts, events. You name it, we probably want to here about it.

It’s looking pretty bare, but we’ll build it up as we go.

If you have a second, send us through something… here.

Food choices: Emission intensity and type.

October 15, 2011

Following up from this post on Food Choices, we have a graph!

This shows a breakdown of transport type and emission type associated with various food groups. It is interesting to note that Cereals and red meat have a similar amount of transport associated with their production, yet when analysing based on climate impact, Red Meat producing significantly more CO2 equivalent emissions (Green house gases) per household per year. The killer for Red meat is the combination of Methane (CH4) emissions and Nitrous Oxide (N2O). This is an important fact for the Ecovore to consider and the graph certainly helps to paint a better picture of it.

Dairy has very high emissions per dollar spent, however the climate impact is less per household, though still significantly higher than other food groups. We will post more on dairy soon!

Source: Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States, Environmental Science & Technology. Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott

Kangaroo Cookbook – ‘Roocipe’

October 13, 2011

Kangaroo is a great supplement for beef in food, which is environmentally friendly.. and just in case experimentation isn’t your style, we have a guide and some recipes for you.

Click here to download the Kangaroo Cookbook (cleverly titled ‘Roocipe’. It’s sure to be an essential ingredient for your kitchen.

As we find it, we will keep adding recipes and food information to the blog and hopefully end up with a worthwhile resource for all ecovores.

Cattle station turned into conservation zone, run by traditional Indigenous owners

October 11, 2011

A cattle station in the Northern Territory has been handed over to its traditional indigenous owners for conservation. This is great news for both the environment and  indigenous populations. Extra land for conservation is always good to see, though as an ecovore, this section sore particular interest:

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke is at Fish River Station today for the handover of the land.

He says feral animal management will be part of conservation work conducted by traditional owners.

“It has never been really heavily grazed commercially and the location just has not quite worked for high levels of grazing but there are some significant feral populations still there,” he said.

“There are more than 2,000 buffalo still there, more than 2,000 horses, cattle, and significant donkey and feral pig populations.”

Meat from these feral animals will hopefully end up in the hand of consumers as they are culled.

Watch video courtesy of the ABC 7.30 Report

Food miles and food choices?

October 7, 2011

People today show great concern about how their food is produced, but also where its from. Many will attempt to reduce their ‘food-miles’ by buying locally or growing their own food in order to reduce their overall green house gas (GHG) emissions. The ecovore thinks this a good thing to do, but food choices can be just as important as food miles.

Below I have placed some excerpts from an article that looks at food-miles and food choice in the US and the impact these have on GHG reduction.

Interestly, the article compares the impact of total localization (ie zero food miles, everything grown in your back yard) to the impact of shifts in food choice.

It is clear that even with the unrealistic assumption of zero food-miles, only relatively small shifts in the average household diet could achieve GHG reductions similar to that of localization. For instance, only 21-24% reduction in red meat consumption, shifted to chicken, fish or an average vegetarian diet lacking dairy, would achieve the same reduction as total localization. Large reductions are difficult in shifting away from only dairy products but making shifts in both red meat and dairy on the order of 13-15% of expenditure would achieve the same GHG reduction as total localization

(Eating 21% less beef or 15% less beef & milk achieves the same GHG reduction as growing ALL your food in your backyard.)
I have always found this statistic to be very disturbing and is a key motivator for changing our eating patterns. It is worth noting that these figures are 10 years old and the research was conducted in the United States, not Australia but this still emphasises the impact food choice can have on GHG reduction. The key point to take here is that whilst choosing a diet with low food miles greatly lowers overall GHG emissions, a shift from red meats to game meats represents a much greater reduction in GHG emissions. (Especially if coupled with less dairy consumption).

The article also looks at total transport over a the total life cycle of food, rather than simply food-miles (distance travelled from producer to retailer). A foods life cycle would include for instance, the distance grain travelled to get to the cattle farm, in addition to the transport of beef to the retail outlet. (It excludes consumer transport to and from retail outlets as this would be too difficult to calculate).

Looking at a life cycle of food products is definitely important, as is shown that a food life cycles is approximately four times the total “food miles”. (Food miles being the final part of transport form producer to retailer)

The average household consumes around 5kg food per day,  average final delivery of food is 1640km and total supply chain movement is 6760 km. Food groups vary in these averages distances from a low of beverages (330 km delivery, 1200 km total) to a high red meat (1800 km delivery, 20 400 km total).

The largest contributor to freight requirements is cereals/carbohydrates (14% of total), closely followed by red meat (13%).

This article was not intended to beat up food-miles. The ecovore sees them as an important consideration for food. Buying local is definitely preferable, but reducing our intake of red meat is most effective way to the reduce GHG emissions generated by our food.

Source: Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States, Environmental Science & Technology. Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews.

The Age: environmental impacts of beef

October 7, 2011

Good to see some coverage on beef and the environmental problems it causes in The Age recently. We do not suppose that we should ban beef, but seeking an alternative is a central part of Ecovore.

Some say cows are killing the earth. So do we need to ban beef?

Read more:

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