The meat we eat : are you game?
16 A4 pages in pdf format. Includes diagrams and tables. Includes bibliographical references.
Inaugural address delivered on 12 November 2007 by Prof LC Hoffman. The tourist industry in South Africa is a growing and lucrative one, based on the fact that visitors, normally from highly industrialised countries, are willing to pay to see wild game in an unspoiled habitat. However, it is only with a strict management programme that game parks/farms can be maintained as apparently unaltered, wild and limitless expanses of country. An inevitable part of this programme to maintain the illusion of wild animals roaming in an unspoilt habitat is the regular culling of surplus animals. Presently, “culled” animals are sold live at auctions, mainly for restocking, utilised for recreational hunting or cropped for the game meat market. However, the demand for stocking animals has started to decrease and an alternative for the surplus has to be sought. One potential outlet is the marketing of game meat on a bigger and more organised scale and with greater sophistication than has been the case hitherto. This can only be accomplished successfully, particularly on the export market, if approached scientifically. Although research was conducted in the late 1960s and 1970s on the production potential of some African ungulates by the likes of Ledger, Van Zyl and von La Chevallerie, very little attention was given to meat quality parameters and factors that influence them. The present synopsis reviews the work that has been conducted at Stellenbosch University since 2000 on the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that influence the meat quality of game. The results from this research have been used successfully by the commercial industry in its marketing strategy, locally in restaurants as well as internationally, where game meat has followed the marketing channels of ostrich meat, another exotic species sold overseas.