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Male Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at an ostrich farm in South Africa

In the 1990s, during the Mad Cow scare, French farmers began raising ostriches (autruches) for their red beef-like meat, which is low in fat and cholesterol. The need had previously been filled entirely by importing large amounts from South Africa and Israel.

Today some 4800 tonnes of ostrich meat are consumed in France annually, most of which is still imported; France’s 50 ostrich farms produce 1500 tonnes.

At one point there were 150 ostrich farms. One problem is that the big bird is considered a dangerous (rather than domesticated) animal, with rules that are different and harder to navigate.

Those who have persisted sell steaks d’autruche, pavés, stew meat (bourguignon), terrines, eggs, and the skin (as leather), often to private customers. You occasionally see it frozen in big supermarkets.


Text © Dana Facaros

Image by DickDaniels