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Hippo Meat Almost Grew to become an American Meals Staple

Hippo Meat Almost Grew to become an American Meals Staple

2023-05-15 04:54:26

In the course of the begin of the twentieth century, a bunch of eclectic males determined to deal with America’s meat disaster by introducing hippopotamus into the American weight loss plan. Hippo steak could have grow to be a typical menu merchandise right now had they succeeded.

Within the early 1900s, meat was in excessive demand attributable to a rising inhabitants and overgrazed land. Bison had grow to be almost extinct, so there weren’t any animals left to hunt. However a person named Frederick Russell Burnham was satisfied hippo meat was the answer.

Frederick Russell Burnham

Burnham was an American adventurer, soldier, and chief of scouts for the British military through the Second Boer Battle. He moved to Africa in 1893 and was the inspiration behind the Boy Scouts and the big-screen motion hero Indiana Jones.

Burnham was a proponent of consuming hippopotamus meat as a result of animals resembling cows, sheep, poultry, and pig weren’t native to the US but they have been a big a part of the American weight loss plan. Additionally, African animals resembling ostriches and camels had simply tailored to sure areas of the US, and Burnham believed hippos might accomplish that as nicely.

Louisiana Congressman Robert Broussard additionally supported the importation of hippos as a result of he thought the mammals might assist resolve an issue he had in his district. In 1884, a Japanese delegation gave water hyacinths to the town of New Orleans as a present, however the vegetation have been very invasive and killed many fish. Broussard, nicknamed “Cousin Bob,” hoped the hyacinth-loving hippopotamuses would deal with the difficulty. Plus, hippos might reside within the bayou in contrast to cattle, which wanted grasslands to feed.

Broussard enlisted the assistance of infamous conman Frederick “Fritz” Duquesne to set their plan in movement. Duquesne was a South African Boer and big-game hunter. He dubbed himself “The Black Panther of the Veldt” in reference to the predatory abilities of the panther. He was additionally Burnham’s enemy.

hippo meat

Fritz Duquesne

Duquesne was a soldier and a spy who did no matter was required of him to get forward. At one level he was ordered to kill Burnham, then chief of the British Scouts, through the Second Boer Battle. Concurrently, Burnham was ordered to kill Duquesne. Neither carried out their orders, and several other years later Broussard tapped on Duquesne’s data of African animals to assist him and Burnham search authorization to import hippos to America to spice up the meat provide.

Broussard launched H.R. 23261, a.okay.a. the Hippo Invoice, in 1910 to safe $250,000 in funding for the import of helpful animals, together with hippos, into the US. The New York Occasions coined the phrase “lake cow bacon,” describing the flavour of the hippo meat, and a few believed it might solely be a short while earlier than it was available in America.

William Newton Irvin from the U.S. Division of Agriculture was additionally an advocate of hippo importation and testified on the boys’s behalf. What they could not have realized is that hippos have a status for being aggressive and territorial and possibly wouldn’t have settled in very properly within the Louisiana bayou.

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The invoice failed. To fulfill meat demand, meatpackers elevated provide, grazing lands turned feedlots, and wetlands have been drained to type grasslands for cattle.

louisiana cattle

Following the defeat, Burnham went on to stop an murderer from capturing President William Howard Taft and was invited by Theodore Roosevelt to guide a delegation in France much like the Tough Riders. The division by no means bought off the bottom, however the adventurer ultimately struck it wealthy after discovering oil in California.

Broussard, in the meantime, served eight phrases as a congressman and one as a senator. As for Duquesne, he turned a naturalized U.S. citizen earlier than turning into a spy for Germany. The FBI arrested him and his spy ring in 1941, and Duquesne served 14 years in jail.

By Noelle Talmon, contributor for

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