India's Emu Ranching Bubble Bursts, With a Grim Aftermath

Farmers saw quick riches in raising the bird. Big mistake
Emu eggs are as big as 10 to 12 chicken eggs Emu: Anupam Nath/AP Photo; Eggs: Alamy

In India’s countryside, where poor farmers must cope with droughts, floods, and other disasters, there’s a new scourge: the collapse of emu ranching. Native to Australia, the emu is a large, flightless bird that somewhat resembles its African cousin, the ostrich, and tastes (fans say) like beef. Farmers in Australia, the U.S., and other countries raise emus for their meat, eggs, and oil (rendered from their fat). About five years ago, Indian farmers started seeing these Australian fowl as their ticket to riches.

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