How cricket agriculture could save endangered animals in Madagascar

You, my friend, are living through a food revolution. In labs across the world, researchers are growing meat from just a handful of animal cells or engineering striking imitations of meat, including an entirely plant-based burger that bleeds. Human eaters are also starting to appreciate a rich protein source crawling around right under our noses: crickets. People have eaten bugs for millennia, but the world seems to have forgotten that until recently. Companies are now racing to turn crickets into the (lucrative) future of food. Why crickets? For one group of conservationists, encouraging people to re-embrace bugs as a source of protein could relieve pressure on endangered mammals in places like Madagascar. Many inhabitants of remote villages on the island rely on primates such as the endangered lemur, venturing into the jungle to hunt them, putting the species in even more danger. By adding crickets back into the diet, the conservationists hope to lessen the need for hunting lemurs. Cricket agriculture could also reduce the number of livestock farms operating in Madagascar, which takes up a lot of space, creates emissions, and requires lots of precious resources like water. Less land dedicated to raising cattle also means more land dedicated to growing vegetables and fruits for humans. Of course, to those of living in the Western world, this might sound a bit crazy. But with the way the food revolution is currently going, it may not be long until crickets start making it into your diet too.

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