Imagine meat cat food that doesn’t involve any slaughtered animals. Clean meat for cats, or cell-cultured meat, is here now! Because Animals introduced its Harmless Hunt mouse cat treats at SuperZoo, one of the world’s largest pet trade shows, last month. The treats began with the stem cells from three mice who scurried off to do whatever mice who live in a posh mouse house do after they’d made their quick and painless donation to other animals and the planet.
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Clean Meat For Cats | A Mouse Treat Without The Mouse
I don’t know if my cats actually eat mice. If they do, they at least have the good grace to not eat them in front of me. But even though I’m not sure the cats will like them, I just preordered some Because Animals clean meat for cats mouse treats because the concept does my vegan heart good.
Clean meat, or cell-cultured meat, begins with the stem cells of an animal that are nurtured in a growth medium. Because Animals pricked the ears of three lightly sedated mice. As soon as they woke up, they got on with their lives in a posh mouse house created by their adopter, a Because Animals employee.
Were they proud to be the beginning of the first commercially available cell-cultured meat product? They probably don’t know or care. But for the planet, this is a very big deal.
Tiny Feet Create A Huge Carbon Pawprint
For such tiny animals, our cats have an enormous carbon pawprint. Around 63.4 million households have dogs and 42.7 million live with cats. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
In 2017, pet food manufacturers bought over 16.5 billion pounds of meat, poultry, fish and grains to feed our cats and dogs. If cats and dogs had their own country, they’d be fifth in meat consumption, according to a 2017 study published in the scientific journal PLOS One. That adds up to about 64 tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Add to that the tons of litter in plastic bags that find their way to landfills, the plastic their toys and cases of food are wrapped in and the plastic-lined dry food bags and our cats aren’t the greenest family members we could invite into our homes. Not that it’s their fault. If they had a choice, they wouldn’t wrap anything in plastic. It’s too hard to get off, even if you have razor-sharp claws.
Greening Our Cats
Maybe our cats can’t go completely green until clean meat cat food reaches the marketplace. But there are ways for them to turn greener. Here are some ideas to consider.
♦ Use plant-based litter and scoop it into compostable bags. It will take years for the bags to break down in the landfill, but they’re kinder to the environment than plastic. Clay litter also gets black marks instead of green ones because it’s strip-mined and doesn’t biodegrade. Silica litter is strip-mined, too
♦ Buy your food in bulk to minimize trips to the store or deliveries from your online retailer. And look for sustainable packaging. Check Terrcycle.com for manufacturers’ free recycling programs for cat food pouches and plastic-lined dry food bags. Among the manufacturers with free recycling programs are Wellness, Royal Canin and Weruva.
You can repurpose large dry food and litter bags, too. Use them as trash or scooping bags or for storage.
Clean Meat For Cats: One Tiny Bite At A Time
Producing cell-cultured meat is a long process. A cat could catch and eat hundreds of mice in the time it takes to produce and bring the first mouse treats to market. Asking a live animal to donate a few stem cells is just the beginning.
The cells are put into a bioreactor, where they’re fed proteins, vitamins and other necessary nutrients as they grow and divide. Think of the bioreactor as a big, stainless steel womb or a tank for brewing beer. Eventually, the cells become tissue, or meat. Cells can continue reproducing and turning into tissue indefinitely. But that’s just part of the process. Manufacturers have to scale up to produce enough meat to feed thousands of dogs and cats. And the products need regulatory approval.
Bond Pet Food is also working on cell-cultured meat for dogs and cats. The dogs are coming first though. Their food should be available for sale in 2023.
And clean meat for humans? Upside Foods expects its chicken nuggests to have regulatory approval and be on the market later this year. And Eat Just’s chicken nuggets are on the market now. But you’ll have to go to Singapore to get them. The company expects US regulators to approve them soon.
Will I eat cell-cultured chicken nuggets? Probably not. Yuck factor aside, I haven’t eaten any animal products for years. I’m happy with my plant-based nuggets and burgers and see no reason to change. But my cats would love chicken nuggets, and they might want to become regular customers.
Read More About Cat Food And Sustainability
What do you think? Will you eat cell-cultured meat? Will you give it to your cats? Let us know in the comments below.