To almost quote Joe Weinstein, my dog is worried about the economy because his Pal is up to $3 a can. That’s almost $21 in dog money.

No, it’s not quite true – Pal cans aren’t called Pal any more, they’re “Pedigree”. But stranger than the demise of a great brand is the fact that rising pet food costs can apparently be attributed in part to Russians having developed a taste for Skippy.

The original unreliable source for the allegation was a hand-written notice in my local Pet Barn, apologising for the rise in roo meat prices. The blame was placed in equal parts upon the drought and roo-hungry Russians.

But it seems the latter part, at least, is true. Russia is taking about two-thirds of our roo meat exports. The latest Austrade figures show $18 million went that way last year, up 28% on 2004. And the word from the bush is that demand is growing, with most of the kill hoping off in the direction of Russia’s Far East.

A bit of Googling finds that a lot of our roo meat is ending up in Russian sausages. One fan described roo as tasting a bit like bear – I hope he didn’t mean koala.

This might explain Australia’s biggest rugby disgrace this year – our Sevens team being defeated by Russia at Twickenham. Roos v Wallabies, roos win.

Peter Fray

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