Did you know about one-fifth of global meat production is for pet food? This means that around 5% of food-based greenhouse gas emissions are due to our furry friends’ appetites. In the US alone, an estimated 65 million tons of CO2-equivalent methane and nitrous oxide is due to dog and cat food.
Scientists have been looking for solutions outside of traditional methods to supply our pets with the protein they need while protecting our planet. Cultured meat is one of these alternatives, being produced by growing animal cells in a laboratory. Amazingly, the end product is biologically identical to meat straight off an animal.
The cells are grown in bioreactors where conditions are simulated similar to that inside of an animal’s body. They are fed an oxygen-rich medium full of nutrients such as amino acids, glucose, vitamins, salts, and other supplements allowing the cells to grow and transform into a larger population.
Introducing Good Dog Food
UK based companies Agronomics and Roslin Technologies have launched Good Dog Food to tackle this problem and bring lab-grown alternatives into the market for dogs. This idea isn’t new, with lab-grown mouse-meat snacks being developed for cats last year and lab-grown chicken already available in shops and restaurants in Singapore.
Jim Mellon, chairman of the company, extolls the excellent standards of their product. He said: “As a dog owner I have been looking for high-quality meat alternatives to provide to my dogs. An untapped sector of the agricultural market is the production of pet food via cellular agriculture. We are delighted to be able to announce our first joint venture in the cultivated meat field, to focus on the production of cultivated pet food.”
The benefits of using lab grown meat are that no animals need to be raised in inhumane conditions and slaughtered in order to eat it. Hugely reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses released, land needed for them to live on, and cruel practices that are a result of factory farming.
However, cultivated meat is not yet in a place to take over the meat market. The scalability and cost of the process is still a hurdle that needs to be overcome, though the future looks bright, with a report estimating by 2030 lab-grown meat will overtake traditional farming methods in cost production.
If you’re curious about other ways in which you can reduce your pet’s carbon pawprint, check out this article.