Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 75 
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Amongst the various largely specious and even self-contradictory arguments used by those seeking to expand the markets for kangaroo flesh is that that flesh is good for humans. It is not only tasty, but it is the leanest of red fleshes, according to these marketers – has more iron than other fleshes, has twice the vitamin B12 than other fleshes – and is therefore amongst the healthiest. If you can eat red flesh more healthily and without sacrificing taste, why wouldn’t you?
Well, I can think of a lot of responses to that? To paraphrase Pam Ahearn of Edgar’s Mission, If you can follow a healthy and tasty diet without taking the lives of others, why wouldn’t you?
But there is also L-carnitine.
It has long been a truism of general medicine that cholesterol and the fat in the flesh of non-human animals have been the major contributors to heart disease. Now, it seems, there is another factor in the mix. L-carnidine, widely used by weightlifters and other sports people, as a dietary supplement helping to burn fat and build muscle.
L-carnidine is in fact found in numerous foods – the flesh of cattle, sheep and pigs, the flesh of fish and poultry, and in milk – though most concentratedly in ‘red’ fleshes. The amount of L-carnidine in milk products, for example, ranges from 1.4 to 43 milligrams per 100 grams of dry matter; in cow-flesh it is c.139 milligrams per 100 grams of dry weight; in horse flesh it is 423 milligrams. And in the flesh of kangaroos – we come to the kangaroo – there is 637 milligrams. I.E. there is more L-carnidine in the flesh of kangaroos than there is in the flesh of any non-human animals yet tested (have they tested humans? that’s a thought; surely they must have).
The point? The point is that L-carnidine, when chewed up and processed by microorganisms in the gut of human animals who eat flesh (in whose systems these particular microorganisms seem to thrive; apparently vegetarians and vegans need not worry too much), produce something called trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO), and TMAO – the real culprit here – promotes atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis, for those who don’t know, is the multiplication (layering, building-up) of plaque in the blood vessels, most particularly in those most-travelled vessels near the heart. It creeps up on you, this plaque. You can go most of your life without a (known) problem, but then, as the plaque – atherosclerosis – builds up, and less and less blood can get through the vessels – say, a coronary artery – the system in general and the heart in particular becomes stressed. And eventually, of course, a vessel will become blocked entirely, in which case you have what is commonly called a heart attack. It may be that, if you have been eating a lot of kangaroo flesh, you might start to regret it. It may be that, if you already have atherosclerosis, or suspect that you might be a candidate (it is partly genetic), you may not want to go anywhere near kangaroo flesh.