A vegan shopper has slammed Coles for displaying wallaby meat next to plant-based food options in a Victorian store. Susan was shocked to see cuts of the native marsupial just one row beneath vegetarian sausages at the Woodend branch.
Incensed by the display, the woman vowed to boycott Coles, telling Yahoo News she had a visceral reaction when she noticed the blood-soaked cuts, which included diced wallaby, wallaby shanks and wallaby sausages. "Sections need to be a lot clearer, especially when the animals people can eat are the same ones that are our Australian tourist attractions," she said.
The shopper explained it's not the first time she's seen wallaby and kangaroo meat products displayed alongside vegetarian options by big supermarket chains. She argued that if customers are shopping where plant-based foods are kept, "there shouldn't be any animal product in that section".
A champion for animal welfare, she addressed her concerns directly to Coles on social media. "Looking for a plant burger in the plant-based food section at Coles. Noticed the bloody wallaby parts just before I picked up a packet," she tweeted. "Not buying anything from that or any other Coles until they work out kangaroos and wallabies are not plants."
Coles defends meat placement
Addressing the incident, Coles didn't indicate any intention of changing their displays, explaining that store layouts are determined by available space, and selling wallaby meat is nothing new. "Coles has sold wallaby meat in a range of products for a number of years now," a spokesperson for the supermarket told Yahoo. "Wallaby products are available in selected Victorian and Tasmanian stores."
Native meat industry booming
According to the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia, kangaroo meat is worth more than $200 million per year to the economy. Macro Group Australia, the world's largest retail distributor of Australian kangaroo and wild game meat, adds that kangaroo meat is one of the most sustainable, lean and tasty meats that Australia produces.
"The commercial kangaroo industry is very heavily regulated and sustainable so would comfortably supply households as a weekly meal option," a Macro Group Australia spokesperson told Yahoo. "Everyone should consider Kangaroo as an option. Low in fat, high in protein, natural, not farmed, the list goes on. Whatever the motivation people have to eat certain foods, it has to taste good, and with all of the benefits around Kangaroo plus the great taste, it ticks a lot of boxes."
More Aussies cutting down on meat
As the cost of living surges, more Australians are looking for cheaper alternatives to red meat. However, it's not only inflation that's prompting people to change their eating habits. A 2020 University of Adelaide survey found nearly 20 per cent of Aussies are trying to reduce their meat consumption, with reasons including health, animal welfare and increased access to plant-based options.
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