Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) of lean meat from domesticated and wild ruminants (cattle, sheep, goat, sambar deer and buffalo) and non‐ruminants (pig, horse and kangaroo) have been examined by capillary gas‐liquid chromatography. Ten different PUFA were found in all specimens with linoleic acid accounting for at least 50% of the total, and arachidonic and linolenic acids being the next most abundant. The total PUFA content for the ruminants ranged from 9 % in beef to 31 % in sambar deer and for the non‐ruminants from 25 % in pig to 43 % in horse. In all species the meat phospholipids (PL) were rich in PUFA (range 24–46% of PL fatty acids), whereas the triglycerides were relatively more saturated (PUFA content range 2–17%). Overall, horse and kangaroo meat had the combination of lowest fat and highest PUFA content, whilst beef and sheep had the highest fat and lowest PUFA content. These results indicate that significant reductions in total fat intake and increases in the proportion of polyunsaturated fat in the diet could be achieved without necessarily requiring a diet low in meat.