Roos to be processed near Camperdown

Castle Estate granted first Victorian licence to process kangaroo meat for human consumption in the state

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KANGAROO PROCESSING: Castle Estate's Steve Castle says the processing of kangaroo, for human consumption, will help the business diversify.

KANGAROO PROCESSING: Castle Estate's Steve Castle says the processing of kangaroo, for human consumption, will help the business diversify.

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A Lake Purumbete meatworks will be the first abattoir, licenced by the Victorian government, to process kangaroo meat for human consumption in the state.

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A Lake Purumbete abattoir has been awarded the first Victorian licence to process kangaroo meat for sale for human consumption.

Castle Estate's works, near Camperdown, already processes venison and rabbit, as well as kangaroo from interstate suppliers, alongside cattle, sheep and pigs.

This year's state government Kangaroo Harvesting Program will include meat for human consumption, with a quota of 95,680 kangaroos, an increase of 37,780 from last year.

Castle managing director Steve Castle said it was a natural progression, given so many animals were being harvested for pet food.

"Other parts of the country have also been harvesting kangaroo for human consumption for quite some time," Mr Castle said.

"It is a similar production method to the deer.

"Obviously the kangaroo is a lot smaller than the Sambar venison that we have already been doing, but it is not a difficult change from a processing point of view."

He said he'd made inquiries to see if the government was considering allowing the sale of kangaroo meat for human consumption.

"It was already in process, they were already in the stages of working towards this."

Mr Castle said the numbers he was processing were low, at the moment.

'We are talking in the hundreds, not thousands, but it gives us the opportunity to continue to establish that market," he said.

Castle sold kangaroo meat directly to consumers, through home delivery, and the hospitality trade.

"Kangaroo has been used in hospitality for quite a while now, so there is already somewhat of an established trade.

"There are more and more consumers out there, who are willing to give these sorts of proteins a go."

Kangaroos would be supplied by registered field harvesters, with a strong focus on animal welfare and hygiene.

"Food safety and animal welfare are the two key components of the supply chain," Mr Castle said.

"I am not suggesting it will ever be like beef or lamb, but slowly and surely there is a market there.

"If we can get it to market, at a competitive rate, there will be an appetite there for it.

"When you are a small business, you have to have lots of different avenues and revenue streams; this compliments some of our other offerings."

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