AS THE British horse meat substitution scandal lurches from one crisis to the next, Wanniassa butcher Jordo McHugh says he would happily sell horse meat to Canberrans - if he could get it.
The 29-year-old has run a gourmet butcher's shop for six years and from humble beginnings the business has grown to include five full-time staff and the sale of 100 kilograms of native animal meat each week.
Mr McHugh said kangaroo was the most popular ''exotic meat'' with about 50kg of mince, steaks and tails sold every seven days, but his range includes crocodile, kangaroo, emu and wallaby.
''Crocs probably 10 kilos, emu probably 10-ish,'' he said.
While the shop also sells wallaby shanks, whole possum, goat and rabbit, the one meat Mr McHugh said he can't source is equine.
''If I could get it I would sell it, but none of my suppliers have it.''
He said crocodile tastes like a cross between lobster and chicken and the store's original chilli, plum and kangaroo sausages were considered a healthy alternative.
Assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Canberra Michelle Minehan said wild meat was leaner and had better store of good fats. ''Kangaroo is really lean, so from a low fat point of view it's good and it tends to have higher protein,'' Professor Minehan said.
''And it tends to have higher omega-3, which is what everyone is talking about as a good fat at the moment.''
She said Australians were starting to calculate the environmental price of meat.
''In general people are recognising that the environmental impact of producing things like beef and lamb and chicken is a concern. So they are looking for alternatives with things that are more natural and don't have as high greenhouse gas emission associated with them.''
But the university lecturer, who did her doctorate on meat, said Australians still ate more free-range meat when hunting for rabbits and kangaroos was the norm.
''Now we are purchasing it more.''
Mr McHugh enjoys the creative aspects of being a butcher and is working on a new sausage flavour - the shield sanger - a gourmet mix that would combine emu and kangaroo meat.