Insect-based pet foods are becoming increasingly popular, due to owners’ concern about the climate costs of traditional pet foods. In an effort to reduce the significant carbon emissions from livestock raising traditional meat-based diets, environmentally conscious pet owners have begun feeding their animals meals made with crickets, black soldier flies or mealworms as more sustainable alternatives.
According to nutritionists, farmed insect species are rich in proteins, oils, minerals, vitamins and high in fats. Moreover, when insects are grown commercially, levels of emissions, water and land use remain lower than in the case of conventional livestock farming.
“When turned into a nutritionally complete pet food, insect proteins can contribute to nutritious and palatable products that can also be environmentally sustainable. Insect-based products offer An alternative for owners who prefer to feed their pets a diet sourced from ingredients other than traditional livestock.
According to the PFMA, there are currently seven species of insects authorized by the European Union for use as pet food ingredients, which are grown on more than 100 farms across Europe. Rabobank, a Dutch multinational, estimates that the insect-based pet food industry could grow 50-fold by 2030, when half a million metric tons are expected to be manufactured.
Experts claim that a major obstacle to the smooth development of the industry will be the owners’ disgust with insect-based diets. However, as Solitaire Townsend, co-founder of Futerra (which works with Mars Petcare to produce Lovebug, the first insect-based cat food), owners should keep in mind that their pets are not overly sensitive.
“Cats are not sensitive about eating insects, but some people can be. Of course, millions of people eat insects as normal in their diet. It may be unusual in the UK, but I am old enough to remember when sushi, and even pasta, was the way herself,” she said.
While this transition from traditional pet food to insect-based pet food may have significant benefits, scientists caution that it is not yet clear to what extent this diet meets the needs of animals.
“Currently, there is not enough evidence to support an insect-based protein to completely replace current pet diets, but it is another option that could be considered in the future,” said Justin Shutton, president of the British Veterinary Association. “Owners should always ensure that any changes to a pet’s diet are supervised by a veterinarian with in-depth nutritional knowledge.”
by Andrei IonescuAnd Earth.com crew clerk