The kangaroo soon may become common cuisine in the country's most populous state now that New South Wales plans to make it legal to dine on Australia's national symbol.
"Quite clearly this is a food product which is very much going to waste and there does seem to be a certain demand for it among restaurateurs and among people who like game meat," said lan Armstrong, the state's agriculture minister.
The New South Wales Parliament is considering a bill to legalize kangaroo consumption and Armstrong predicted it would pass during the current legislative session.
The state of South Australia and the Northern Territory already allow kangaroo cuisine.
But animal welfare groups said Wednesday they opposed New South Wales' plans and promised to picket restaurantsor butchers selling kangaroomeat.
"The kangaroo is our national emblem and it should not be exploited for monetary value", said Christine Townsend of the group, Animal Liberation. "We really think people would be disgusted by eating kangaroo."
She said it had to be proven that kangaroos were a pest  to farmers. She contended that sheep do as much damage to the countryside as kangaroos.
But Armstrong countered that the kangaroo population had grown too large.
He said his department would consider legalizing the consumption of meat from the Ostrich-like emu bird, but he assured reporters that koala bears and wombats would never become legal menu entrees,
Armstrong dismissed fears by conservationists that the meat was unsafe and said every butchered portion would be inspected.