The three directors of The Consolidated Ostrich Corporation have finally requested that their company be placed in liquidation. One of hundreds of similar ventures established in South Australia during the mid-1990s to cater for what was tagged as the meat of the future, Consolidated Ostrich is one of only a handful that have survived to now. Survival came at a high price however, with company debts amounting to A$500,000.
“We are finding it difficult to establish exactly what happened but it appears the venture was ahead of its time as the ostrich market in Australia is still finding its feet,” commented company liquidator Austin Taylor.
The price of the birds dropped dramatically when it appeared that consumer acceptance was tentative, and birds bought for A$10,000 fell to a value of just several hundred dollars.
Financial problems were also compounded after investing in an upgraded Riverland abattoir, specialised in game for domestic and export markets, but liquidated in September having accrued debts of A$435,779. Furthermore, the Meatpackers marketing company refused to pay A$150,000 for birds allegedly slaughtered at the abattoir.
The directors of Consolidated Ostrich, farmer Peter Cap, financial consultant Joseph Abdilla and businessman Wayne Moran, are not unusual in turning their backs on the once promising ostrich industry. Indeed, they are perhaps unusual in lasting so long. Taylor revealed that the national flock has dropped from 100,000 birds to around 35,000 and, suffering from low prices and demand, poor quality of birds and payment difficulties, an estimated 60% of ostrich farmers in South Australia have already thrown in the towel.