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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Britons Suddenly Mad For Kangaroo, Ostrich

LONDON -- British carnivores, gripped with panic over mad cow disease, are deserting roast beef for crocodile and ostrich steaks.

The Vegetarian Society hotline is being bombarded by alarmed callers. One dairy farmer's wife called to say she would stop feeding meat to her children.

The British, nicknamed "Les Rosbifs" by the French for their stodgy devotion to Sunday lunches of roast beef, have gone in search of the exotic to adorn their dinner tables after the mad cow scare sparked worldwide alarm.

The meat counter at the luxury London department store Harrods is doing a brisk trade in emu and kangaroo steaks and ostrich and alligator fillets.

"The mad cow scare has given sales added impetus. We have run out of kangaroo steaks twice. They just jump into the pan," joked food hall spokesman Richard Furnival Jones. "It is two and a half times more expensive than beef."

Conservative British eaters once rarely ventured away from their staple diet of roast beef, steak and kidney pudding and fish and chips. But now adventurous travelers with jaded palates have been joined by millions of housewives scared by tales of a disease that still only affects one in a million humans.

"People coming in to look for an alternative to beef are choosing venison. Wild boar is very popular. Ostrich is 93 percent fat free and very low in cholesterol," said Andrew Johnson at the Game Larder, a butcher that specializes in exotic foods.

Barrow Boar, a firm whose mail order delicacies range from crunchy pan-fried locusts to roast peacock, reports brisk sales. "The scare has boosted business quite a lot," said Christine Baskerville at their farm headquarters.

The Vegetarian Society has found its hotline constantly blocked.

Spokeswoman Samantha Calvert said the scare "has made the public realize what hidden nasties go into their food. We are pleased people realize the price we have to pay for meat eating."