Emu oil: Why we choose not to use it

Emu oil: Why we choose not to use it

First of all: Yes, Emu Oil comes from Emus.

Emus are farmed and slaughtered for many parts of their body: flesh, skin, feathers, eggs, and oil. [1]

Various studies have reported that emu oil contains high levels of unsaturated fats or good fatty compounds such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid. Additionally, it contains various organic compounds that may have regenerative and healing properties. [2]


The downside

Most people assume Emu Oil is either a marketing spin or just a brand name. Bad news – it’s not.

Thousands of emus are slaughtered every year.

The most “valuable” product for emu farmers is the oil. Unfortunately, they must be killed to remove the fat underneath the emu’s back, which is then refined into oil used in beauty and pharmaceutical products that we see in-store and online today. [3]

Due to the lack of emu slaughter facilities in Australia, many emus are killed on-site. As these farms are not approved slaughterhouses, their flesh cannot be used for human consumption - making their bodies “waste”. The fat, however, can still be harvested. [4]

Emus are killed at around 12-18 months of age, although some farmers keep them for 24-30 months [5], dramatically shorter than their natural lifespan of up to 20+ years.

Wasteful? Yes. Unnecessary and unethical? Most definitely.


Emu oil uses

Emu oil is registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and can be listed as an active ingredient in cosmetic products and over the counter remedies in Australia. [6].

So, what are people using emu oil for?

Today, Emu oil is being used for a variety of beauty and healthcare concerns, including:

  • Dry skin and complexion
  • Osteoarthritic pain
  • Inflammation
  • Eczema and dermatitis

Two researchers at Victoria University conducted a study to test the effectiveness of emu oil on osteoarthritic hands. Emu oil, consistently ingested or topically applied may be effective in reducing pain in osteoarthritis sufferers after three weeks. [7]

Naturally, we’re big fans of oils at Better Nature. Still, with so many equally excellent and cruelty-free alternatives, it seems mind-boggling that more people aren’t questioning the use of this ingredient.

At Better Nature, we have developed a combination of plant-based carrier oils called VEMU oil. Our VEMU oil has similar properties to emu oil, without the need to compromise the welfare of emus.  


The environmental impact

The farming of emus comes at an environmental cost.

Just 100 years after colonists arrived in Australia, emu varieties in Tasmania, King Island, and Kangaroo Island were driven to extinction. Coastal populations on the north coast are in rapid decline, with less than 50 birds left in 2016 [89].

Emus play a pivotal role in the Australian ecosystem. They help native species regenerate as they disperse many seeds over large distances and could aid remnant vegetation by maintaining the necessary mix of different plant species in an environment. One emu scat can contain 1000 seeds, and these animals can travel over 50km [1011].


Does Better Nature use Emu Oil?

At Better Nature though? Not. In. Our. Name. We use naturally sourced plant and marine ingredients that work together to effectively reduce mild muscle and joint pain without the need to harm animals.

Most people are unaware of the circumstances of farmed emus worldwide, and more specifically, in Australia. Sharing this information plays a vital role in generating awareness and working towards ending the suffering of these animals. You can make a difference by deciding not to purchase emu or meat, leather, feathers, or oil.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) accredits every Better Nature product, so you can ensure that our entire pain relief range is animal-friendly.

Shop our 100% naturally sourced pain relief range here.


[1][5] https://www.al.org.au/ostrich-emu-farming
[2] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2012.07098.x
[3][4] https://www.awe.gov.au/sites/default/files/sitecollectiondocuments/animal-plant/animal-health/livestock-movement/structure-poultry-ratite-ind.doc | Pages 84-86
[6] https://www.tga.gov.au/legislation-listing/therapeutic-goods-listing-notice-2002-no-5
[7] https://vuir.vu.edu.au/869/1/Power_et.al_2004.pdf
[8] http://www.lateralmag.com/columns/ethograms/private-lives-of-the-emu
[9][10] https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2019/11/solving-the-case-of-the-disappearing-coastal-emu
[11] https://www.publish.csiro.au/mu/MU99030