Sure, Americans chow down on about 280 pounds of meat each per year, compared to the 181 pounds in your average developed country. But chances are those 280 pounds come from the same three or four meat-producing animals: Chicken, beef, pork, and maybe a little turkey. While North America has long had plenty of edible land animals, ranging from deer to squirrels, that doesn't translate to much in the way of menu choice for carnivores. The reason for that has a lot to do with the history of the meat industry in the US, Lauren Davis explains at io9.
Westward expansion allowed the growth of cattle ranching at a time when cities like New York and Chicago needed to feed surging populations. Meanwhile, European cattle suffered from a virus that forced Europeans to turn to the US for their beef. Packers shipped huge amounts of the stuff to consumers. Deer ranching, by contrast, didn't take off, and required federal inspections for venison are much harder to come by. But while pretty much all poultry "tastes like chicken" in the US, the Technician notes that the Chinese have included pigeon and quail in their domestic poultry industry; geese and duck are common elsewhere. Another part of America's diversity problem? A simple lack of recipes that include more exotic meats. Click for Davis' full piece. (Read more meat stories.)