"It shouldn’t offend people. Really, it’s just hamburgers," one of the fast food spot's managers told local news

By Benjamin VanHoose
January 13, 2020 04:01 PM

One Utah restaurant came under fire for offering kangaroo meat burgers during Australia’s ongoing climate crisis.

When Burger Bar, a family-owned fast food joint located in Roy, Utah, announced its burger of the month option for January as kangaroo, its owners were met with a barrage of backlash on Facebook. Given the bushfires devastating much of Southern Australia, placing the native species on the menu didn’t sit well with some customers.

In response to the outrage, a spokesperson for Burger Bar shared a message on Facebook saying that, though the special was “ill-timed,” they would continue to sell the Australian imports.

“We placed an order for the Kangaroo months ago before the Australian wildfires,” read the statement. “In December, we talked about cancelling the order because we worried it would look insensitive. We could have done this, easily, with no one the wiser.”

The statement continued: “[We] decided that it would actually be insensitive, and also self-serving, to pull our business out of Australia because we were worried about how selling Kangaroo would look. … We think there is probably no better time to support Australia and the Australian economy than right now.”

The Burger Bar Roy, Utah
Burger Bar
| Credit: Google Maps

On Sunday, the owners provided an update, thanking customers for their business as the kangaroo burgers sold out within days of the controversy making headlines.

“We are completely overwhelmed by your positivity and patronage! Because of you, we have sold around 400 kangaroo burgers in two days!” read the statement. “We know there are others out there who wanted to try the Kangaroo- we’re sorry to say with the increased demand we have run out early.”

The restaurant — which has offered alligator and camel meat in previous months and has wild boar, red deer and yak slated soon — said they are looking into tracking down more kangaroo meat if possible.

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Australia bushfires
| Credit: DEAN LEWINS/Shutterstock

With experts now estimating more than 1 billion animals to have died in the Australian bushfires so far, more attention is being focused on the country as it grapples with the climate disaster.

Burger Bar manager Joe Fowler told KUTV that the timing of the kangaroo burger and the region’s fires was purely coincidental, and reversing their previous order of the meat would not have been practical.

“We actually considered not doing it, but kind of logistically, it’s very difficult to hold onto hundreds of pounds of meat,” said Fowler. “We don’t have space for it.”

He added: “It shouldn’t offend people. Really, it’s just hamburgers. We’re not making a statement or anything like that.”