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April 12, 2001   Email to Friend 

ALABAMA CELEBRATES EMU AWARENESS WEEK
Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
April 12, 2001

A strange looking bird that produces tasty, healthy meat and an oil with potential health benefits is creating a flock of new fans in the state. Gov. Don. Siegelman has proclaimed April 7-15 as Emu Awareness Week in Alabama in an attempt to increase consumption of the meat and use of the oil. Emus are a flightless bird, similar to an ostrich, and were introduced here years ago as a potential way for farmers to diversify their operations.

"Emus produce heart-healthy red meat that is high in protein, low in cholesterol and low in calories," said Raleigh Wilkerson, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Ratite Division. "The oil produced by emus has been used by burn patients and others with serious skin disorders with remarkable results. Patients with bed sores that would not heal reported significant improvements after using emu oil as part of their treatment."

In addition to meat and oil, the bird's hide also is marketable and is used in the fashion industry for boots and other soft leather products. For information about emu products and producers in Alabama, contact Wilkerson at 1-800-392-5705, ext. 4221.


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