Legally, of course.

That’s a powerful hunger you have there, friend. Let’s see if I can help you out.

First up, you need to be aware that what you are about to attempt is not some new idea. Your desire to eat every animal on the planet has a long and proud tradition in human history. For example, when he was not claiming to have discovered dinosaurs, the completely brilliant and utterly insane 1800s English scientist, Mr William Buckland, made it his life’s mission to eat one of every animal in existence. And far from being idle talk, he made a pretty good attempt at it, eating such delicacies as the sea slug, dung beetle, and many types of African wildlife that, these days, are on the endangered species list. In case you are interested, he described the taste of the poor, almost blind, and perfectly innocent English mole as the most disgusting of all animals. Poor mole!

If you don’t mind that you will not be the first, or the last, to make an attempt at eating one of each animal, I need to warn you that, if you attempt this feat, you are going to run into some legal issues as well as (I presume) some serious stomach problems.

Let’s keep things local, just to simplify things. Even if you set yourself the modest goal of eating one of each animal species that lives in Australia, it will not be long before you run afoul of our laws. In fact, you will run into legal trouble even before you take your very first bite.

Issue number one: it is illegal in all states and territories of Australia to kill or harm animals in an inhumane way. We talked about this in an earlier section of this book, if you recall. Depending on how you kill the animals on your to-eat list, and how you prepare them for eating (or if you eat them while they are still alive, you eager beaver – yummy, yummy beaver), you might find yourself charged with animal cruelty.

All is not lost though. If you are prepared to eat animals that have died due to natural causes such as old age or syphilis, then you should be fine to take the dead animal home with you and put it on your cutting board.

Issue number two: Even if you humanely kill an animal, or find one already dead and ready to eat, the list of animals you can legally cook and eat is very, very small. Let’s say you want to start simple and begin your animal degustation with an entrée made up of dog and cat meat skewers. Dogs and cats have the advantage (from your perspective, not theirs) of being easy to find and catch. And, as I am sure we are all aware, cats and dogs are regularly served as a food in several countries, so there are probably some recipes floating around on the internet that you could use.

Our local laws take a surprisingly relaxed view on the eating of dogs and cats. It is legal to eat dogs and cats in every state and territory other than in South Australia. Provided you do it humanely, you are even allowed to kill cats and dogs for the purpose of preparing them to eat. However, it is not possible to sell their meat at, say, Woolworths or Coles, or even at a speciality butcher.

With your dog-and-cat-meat skewer entrée eaten, it is time to move onto the main course. And that leads us to issue number three: If you want to feast on one of our local delicacies such as a koala or platypus, you better be prepared to break the law to do so. Australia has very strict laws that make it very, very illegal to catch our native animals or to take their bodies if you come across a dead example, let alone cook and eat them. Australian law classifies our native animals as vulnerable and in need of specific legal protections, and the law protects these animals by classifying them as ‘at-risk’ or by putting them on our ‘Endangered Species List.’

The Endangered Species List includes the (probably horrible tasting) koala, the northern hairy-nosed wombat, the Sydney hawk, and various species of crayfish. Kill and eat one of those, and indigestion will be the least of your problems. If you are caught, you’ll face criminal charges, fines, and general social shunning. You are looking at jail time of between one and five years, depending on the state or territory, and fines ranging from $20,000 or so, up to $100,000.

The risk versus reward trade-off of eating one of every animal is high. I don’t want to crush your animal-eating dream, but really, I kind of need to crush your animal-eating dream. Trying to eat one of every animal is, sooner or later, going to get you into serious legal trouble. So, rather than eating one of every animal, why not set yourself a more modest but equally admirable goal, like eating a meal I prepare. Trust me, survive my cooking and you will achieve something no one has managed to complete (or even been brave enough to attempt). Survive, and you will forever be a hero to my family and friends.