China’s latest version of Viagra comes from kangaroo testicles

November 4, 2013
November 4, 2013

In the wake of a spate of health scares, worries about animal welfare and a trade tussle with Russia, demand for Australia’s kangaroo meat has tumbled. Fortunately, kangaroo product peddlers have an alternative: Chinese zeal for virility enhancing supplements made from kangaroo testicles. Chinese buyers are sizing up investment in the kangaroo testicle processing business, reports the Sunday Mail.

John Kreuger runs a roo processing business Chinese investors are eying. “We buy a tonne of testicles every month from roo meat processors and put them through my custom-made ‘de-nutting’ machine,” Kreuger told the Sunday Mail. “It squeezes out the balls and leaves behind the empty pouch.” So far, Kreuger’s business has relied more on selling lighters, keychains and bottle-openers fashioned from kangaroo scrota in places like Canada and California.

Australian businesses have been exporting kangaroo testicle products since at least 2011 (they’re banned in Australia). A slew of manufacturers sell dDried and pulverized testicles, which can fetch up to $165 per bottle of 300 capsules (link in Chinese), on Taobao, a popular online marketplace in China.

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(Taobao.com)

Chinese enthusiasm for roo testicles is rooted in traditional medicine theories about libido-boosting, which similarly drive sales of tiger penis potions and rhino horn powder. One seemingly popular “kangaroo essence” virility product explains that male kangaroos typically have 40 female kangaroo sexual partners. “According to the analysis,” reads the product description, “the capability to produce the spermatic fluid of the male kangaroo is twice that of the adult bull.”

Kangaroo meat is also in high demand, and could get a boost from a new trade protocol between Australia and China. That could help the kangaroo industry overall, which has suffered from oversupply due to a Russian ban on imports following a 2009 contamination scare. Many Australians believe the country is overpopulated with kangaroos. The government typically promotes commercial kangaroo hunting in part to stem their numbers. Australians generally don’t eat kangaroo, perhaps because it’s the Oz equivalent of “eating Bambi,” and there’s growing awareness of inhumane killing methods. (Animal welfare groups have long argued that lack of regulation of commercial hunters has led to agonizing deaths for kangaroos.) More than 70% of the meat is typically exported, mostly to Russia; what stays is usually used in pet food.

The industry also has high hopes for Chinese demand for kangaroo steaks. The managing director of Macro Meats, the leading kangaroo meat producer, says that business could grow to more than $350 million annually.

But the business may not benefit humans. The main purported advantage of ingesting pulverized kangaroo testicles is the boost in testosterone. While a small dose may boost libido—the effects of the supplement haven’t been proven—large dosages can actually exacerbate impotence and cause sterility, one doctor told the Courier Mail. And though it’s often marketed as a healthy alternative to other red meats, kangaroo steak causes more damage arteries.

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