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ANIMALS | Pets

Feed your pet insects, reduce their carbon 'paw' print


Reuters
News agency

Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 4:27 PM - Love your dog, but worried about the environmental impact of their meat-heavy diet? Now one British company is offering a solution - feed your pooch insects instead.

It launched a dry dog food on Thursday made from black soldier fly larvae in a bid to tackle the "carbon pawprint" created by pets in the animal-loving nation.

"So these days more and more of us are trying to reduce our impact on the planet by cutting down on the amount of meat that we eat but for our cats and dogs it's all meat based and so I decided to see if there was an alternative that was better for the planet," said Tom Neish, the brains behind Yora dog food.

There are nearly 9 million dogs in Britain where almost half of adults own a pet, according to the PDSA veterinary charity.

(RELATED: Preparing your pet for winter)

Studies suggest pets consume about a fifth of the world's meat and fish, and a dog's carbon footprint is more than twice that of a 4x4 car, according to Yora.

Compared to beef farming, it said the grubs need just 2 percent of the land and 4 percent of the water to produce each kilogram of protein, which means they generate 96 percent less greenhouse emissions.

The grubs are grown on vegetable waste at a Dutch farm and the left over matter provides fertiliser for crops.

Neish said a teaspoon of fly eggs could create 100 kg of high-protein larvae in 14 days.

"Compared to most livestock our grubs use only a tiny fraction of the land, which includes grazing land and the land used to farm the soya that's fed to the animals, a tiny amount of the water and the carbon emissions are minimal. There's no methane emissions and there's no waste going into rivers," Neish said.

(RELATED: Should dogs go vegan?)

Vet Rory Cowlam, who stars in the BBC TV show "The Pets Factor", said it seems an easy way to go green.

"In this day and age it is all over the news and people are more and more eco-conscious and this is such an easy way of making a change in your everyday life and your dog's everyday, day to day life that you can make that can really impact the environment," Cowlam said.

Yora is named after one of the last un-contacted tribes in the Amazon rainforest, which is threatened by the rising demand for farmland to meet the world's booming appetite for meat.

But Neish, who is developing a similar food for cats, admitted it could be a challenge to persuade the public to "get over the ick factor".

"When we give it to dogs they absolutely love it and if dogs find it delicious and it's nutritious and it's good for them, genuinely as good if not better than chicken as a protein source, then I think when someone sees their dog burying their face in a bowl of it then they might be convinced."

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