Do you know where the pet food comes from?
And how it's harming other animals and the planet?
I learned about it recently.
It mostly comes from the grisly ingredients that people don’t want (like viscera, heads, bones, and blood).
It comes from livestock that is diseased or dying- as that can’t be sold legally for human consumption.
It comes from animals that die in transit, or from suffocation in farming facilities.
The pet food industry absorbs most of the wastage in the meat industry.
And that helps the meat industry to minimize its losses.
Although the amount of pet food consumed pales in comparison with human meat consumption, it plays a key role in keeping the meat industry afloat- an industry that is one of the highest contributors to increased carbon emissions, deforestation and animal cruelty.
So should we feed vegan/vegetarian food to our pets?
Well, while dogs can theoretically survive on a well-balanced vegetarian or even vegan diet (with synthetic supplements), cats cannot.
They are true carnivores; an adult feline eats around 230 grams of wet food each day and a lot of it needs to include meat.
In today’s edition, let’s look at how these 3 startups are keeping our pets healthy while taking care of other animals and the planet⬇️
This does not add up…Plant-based proteins can cause some nutritional gaps for our pets. Our pets need to absorb some essential amino acids and micronutrients to thrive and a plant-based protein could hinder that absorption. But does that mean that we keep feeding animal meat to our pets? Does it make sense to kill those farmed animals to feed our pets?
No animals were harmed during this…Meat production has the environmental and animal welfare problem and we can’t rely on plant-based diets for our pets. So Bond Pet Foods decided on producing a more sustainable, responsible, and humane protein for pets. Using biotechnology, they have developed the world’s first animal-free, cultured chicken meat protein intended for use in pet food. It started with taking a blood sample from a chicken.
Then, using microbial fermentation, the part of the chicken DNA that expresses skeletal muscle protein is isolated.
Next, it’s combined with yeast and put into a fermentation tank, where it’s fed sugars, vitamins and minerals.
Lastly, it is dried into a powder that can then be used to make anything from treats to freeze-dried pet food.
They’ve got the balance…The brand is focused on creating the right protein that fulfills the nutritional requirements of the pets without harming other animals. Their first prototype was a dog treat that was fed to some volunteer dogs (who loved it btw). They are aiming to launch their first products using lab-grown chicken in 2023.
The planet and pets are suffering…The main sources of meat in pet foods are chicken, beef, and fish. And we are made to believe that they are good for our pets but studies have shown that these proteins are the leading food allergens in cats and dogs. Also, raising farm animals drives up land and water use, burning of fossil fuels and the use of highly toxic pesticides that can runoff from farms into the natural environment.
How bout a mouse cookie?… Because, Animals. wants to replace the existing sources of protein for our pets with meat grown in the lab. Their proprietary technology does not kill any animals to prepare food for pets. For example, to prepare the mouse treats for cats, protein cells are extracted from a mouse’s ear by putting it under a mild anesthetic.
The process starts by harvesting cells from an animal.
These cells are then put inside a bioreactor, where they grow and turn into real meat that is animal-free.
The real meat is then made into different animal treats.
The beginning…Before starting Because, Animals. Co-founders Josh and Shannon were volunteering in the same cat shelter in Toronto. And it was there that they bonded over the same problem- how devastating pet food is for the climate, our environment and the lives of farmed animals. And that’s how Because, Animals. was born.
I think you get it…By now, you would know how bad pet food is for other animals and the planet. The problem is no different in Europe. But there was this new European regulation that was launched in 2017, which authorized the use of insect proteins in animal feed. And that led to the birth of Entoma, a Franco-Danish brand that has the intention of providing the best for dogs and our planet.
I’ll have some larvae…Entoma develops natural treats and complete food for your dog which contains insect-based protein sources. They use black soldier fly larvae as a source of protein in their dog food. Apart from being rich in protein, the insect-based diet is also rich in vitamin B, Omega 3, minerals.
The treats are hypoallergenic, 100% natural and meet the nutritional needs of the pets for minerals, vitamins, fibres and amino acids.
The production of insect-based protein consumes 70 times less water and 10,000 times less space than beef production.
Also, they emit 100 times less CO2 than beef production.
They’re thriving…With the first-treat recipe in 2017, the company has come a long way with its products being sold across different countries in Europe and the UK. They have also launched insect-based cat food and an antiparasitic shampoo for dogs.
🔍No crossword this week. How about a short pet quiz?
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📢 Shoutout to Paridhi who helped me write this edition.
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