Good news, Alaska: emu farms are legalized.
The unusual bird, which can grow to nearly six feet in length and weigh more than 100 pounds, can be harvested for meat, hides and oil. Emu farmers in the Northeast have long been familiar with it, but one Alaskan wants the bird to bite for his state.
In 2019, Pike Ainsworth was inspired to start his own emu farm. After successfully hatching eggs, Ainsworth discovered that the emus were not on the White List – a registry of animals allowed in Alaska without a permit. Since then, Alaskans have been working hard to get emus on the list.
He was opposed by members of the Game Board who discuss the Clean Line only every three years, and it didn’t happen this year. After years of preparation, Ainsworth was able to speak to the board and testify about the food insecurity facing many Alaskans.
“Food security is a very important issue, especially in times of war and COVID-19, stores have run out of food and the price of meat has increased, making it unaffordable for many. of Alaska red meats,” Ainsworth told the board. “I have a request. I would like to add emu to the White List.”
The proposal was passed and will take effect at the beginning of this year.
Since then, Ainsworth has raised two emus and plans to add more. On top of the health and food safety benefits, Ainsworth said the emu makes a great pet.
“It’s a close-knit animal, just like a dog,” says Ainsworth. “They are very loving, they are not evil creatures.”