Wallabies don’t fart
(Well, they do but they don’t smell)
Methane is 27 times worse than carbon dioxide as a global warming gas (1). Cattle and sheep emit large volumes of methane as a by-product of their digestive system (2)
The amount of methane emitted by any one animal depends on a range of factors, not the least of which is their diet.
The concept of ‘embedded carbon’ represents the amount of carbon which has been released to produce a food. It has been estimated that boneless beef from Australian grass-fed cattle has between 19.8-27.1 kg of embedded carbon per kg of boneless beef. However, these estimates can rise by up to 34% when land-use related emissions are included (3).
Wallaby and kangaroos on the other hand emit almost no methane as a result of a completely different digestive system (4).
Below is an estimate of how much Lenah’s wallaby production contributes to mitigating global warming.
Lenah Game Meats produces approx. 150 tonnes of boneless wallaby meat per year.
Let’s assume every year all 150 tonnes of wallaby meat is consumed as a substitute for grass-fed Australian beef.
If we use the lowest figure given for the embedded carbon in Australian grass-fed beef of 19.8 kg carbon/kg beef, without accounting for land-use factors, then the equation is:
150,000 kg meat x 19.8 kg carbon = 2,970,000 kg carbon emission per year saved by replacing beef with wallaby.
What does this mean?
An Australian car typically travels 11,400 km each year generating 3,110 kg of carbon (5).
Therefore, 2,970,000 kg of carbon mitigated by wallaby consumption is the equivalent of taking 955 cars off the road every year.
Lenah has been operating for 29 years. Over its lifetime, Lenah has produced approximately 1.152 million kg of low carbon meat. If we use the same logic as above this equates to 22.8 million tonnes of carbon emissions abated. That’s a little bit more than the annual carbon emissions from Australia’s largest carbon emitting coal fired power station, Loy Yang A in Victoria (5).
By encouraging people to eat wallaby rather than farmed meat, Lenah currently abates the emissions from something close to 1000 cars per year, and over its lifetime we have saved equivalent emission to shutting down Australian’s largest coal fired power station for a year.
Our little business makes a decent contribution to mitigating global warming and we think that’s pretty cool.