Can Dogs and Cats Be Vegan? Science Weighs In

Treats and kibble made with fungus offer high protein from plant-based foods, but nov t all pets may be able to make the switch.

Quick, name one thing soy sauce, miso, and sake all have in common. If you said, They’re delicious, you’re not wrong. But the real answer is koji.

The common name of the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, koji is a microorganism at the heart of many traditional Asian flavors and foods. It’s also the key ingredient in a new kind of pet food announced today that its creator hopes could change the future of how animal feeds are produced.

Koji is normally cultured directly on grains like rice, which supply the starches the fungus needs to proliferate. Wild Earth co-founder Ryan Bethencourt says they put the koji straight into a beet sugar-based solution. After extraction, they press it like tofu, then slice and bake it into a final product that’s like a cheese cracker in taste and flavor.

The end goal, says Bethencourt, is to create an environmentally friendly, high-quality food for pets that’s vegan and tasty. The company plans to release their first product—a pet treat—by June, with a kibble-based food available later in 2018.

 VIEW IMAGES

Bags of Wild Earth pet treats.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF WILD EARTH

Though it’s not the first commercial vegan pet food on the market, their new koji-based product would no doubt appeal to the masses of humans who have already adopted a meat-free lifestyle: The overall market for plant-based foods that directly replace meat is already valued at $4.9 billion, and a recent analysis indicates that sales grew by 8.1 percent in 2017. (Find out how a tick bite could make you allergic to meat.)

The idea to use koji as a way to enter the plant-based pet food sector came from company co-founder Ron Shigeta, a third-generation Japanese-American and serial koji grower.

“Ron always has these kojis he’s growing everywhere, and we started to think: Could we use koji as the primary protein product rather than something just to add flavor?” Bethencourt says.

An analysis of their early koji solids showed that they were around 50 percent protein; a steak, by comparison, is around 30 percent. For fat, fiber, and other nutrients, the company plans to mix in vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato, buckwheat, and potato flour.

DIETARY CHOICES

Even if koji is a quality source of protein, is it right for both dogs and cats?

Despite the growing desire by Americans to provide their pets with high quality, high protein food, no official definition exists for “high protein” for animal feeds. So veterinary nutritionist Amy Farcas follows a few rule-of-thumb guidelines: For dogs, a low-protein diet consists of 10 to 15 percent of daily calories from protein, while a typical diet is anywhere from 20 to 35 percent. Anything above 35 percent could be considered a high-protein diet.

“It’s a little arbitrary,” Farcas says. “For healthy dogs, there’s no upper limit of protein intake, meaning that as long as they also meet their dietary fat requirements, dogs can do well on a high-protein diet.”

Zach Ruiter, a Toronto-based documentary filmmaker, says his 13-year-old wirehair fox terrier, Alvie, already thrives on a mainly homemade vegan diet. He says he’d give koji a shot; Alvie loves tofu, so it wouldn’t be a stretch.

“It would be interesting to see if there are any studies done to look at health and life expectancy with various diets,” Ruiter says. “What are the overall health impacts of a vegan diet for dogs?”

Bethencourt says his company hopes to help answer that question. “It’s something we don’t have data for right now, but as you’ve seen with vegan athletes, we think that a non-meat diet will be beneficial to the animals as well, perhaps surprisingly so.”

As for fungus in Fluffy’s future, koji alone isn’t quite right for cats: as obligate carnivores, they need to eat meat to get nutrients like taurine and arachidonic acid. But “cats certainly can tolerate a certain amount of plant material in their diet, though they do have higher requirements for protein or fat than dogs or humans,” Farcas adds.

Bethencourt says his company is in the process of developing a lab-grown, meat-based cat food—made of cultured mouse cells. (Scientists have also been able to grow milk in a lab—here’s how.)

THE COST OF KIBBLE

In addition to being more humane, such products aim to lower the environmental impacts of feeding the world’s domestic pets. In the U.S., people share their households with 47.1 million cats and 60.2 million dogs, according to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey.

Those figures, and the proliferation of “premium” pet foods, prompted UCLA geographer Gregory Okin to crunch some numbers about pet food production and consumption.

In a study published last year, Okin estimated that in the United States alone, dogs and cats eat an equivalent number of calories as 62 million Americans, or a fifth of the population. Because most of those calories come from animal products, they’re more resource-intensive to produce.

“Even though animal byproducts may not be expensive, rendering them is a high-temperature process,” Okin says. He notes that the next step, kibble production, could also be energy intensive, as the formulas are squeezed through high-temperature extruders that sterilize the pet food as it’s made.

“Maybe if [koji] is made in a highly energy-intensive way, and using certain materials, it’s possible that it’s no better than meat in terms of environmental impact,” Okin says. But the product needs to come to market with a scaled-up production process before anyone can do a real comparison.

PROTEIN FOR PEOPLE?

Koji could also be a useful solution for challenging dietary circumstances among people, Bethencourt notes. For example, the fungus-based protein could be suitable in developing countries where food spoilage is a real concern, or for use as non-perishable, high-quality food sources for remotely deployed soldiers.

Okin says conventional dog food could already meet those needs, given its protein content, but he muses on the potential for koji as a more palatable alternative.

“If there’s a takeaway here, why aren’t we taking this stuff and thinking about how to feed it to humans?” he asks. “There are people all over the world who need protein. Here you’ve got this shelf-stable, long-lived potential emergency food. You could use it for people. Or you could feed it to dogs.”

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PETA asks government to tax meat, other animal derived foods

https://retail.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/industry/peta-asks-government-to-tax-meat-other-animal-derived-foods/62391033

PETA India, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, requested him to consider taxing meat and other animal derived foods to discourage their consumption.

Image:Pinterest
Image:Pinterest

NEW DELHI: Animal rights body PETA asked the government to levy a tax on meat and other animal derived foods for their damaging effects on environment and public health, on the lines of a similar tax imposed on tobacco.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, in a letter to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, requested him to consider taxing meat and other animal derived foods to discourage their consumption.

PETA India asks that India tax meat and other animal derived foods for their damaging effects on the environment and the public’s health the same way there are increased taxes in countries around the world on other unhealthy or damaging goods such as tobacco,” said Nikunj Sharma, Lead–Public Policy, PETA India.

In India, the consumption of beef, chicken, eggs, dairy and other animal derived foods is on a rapid rise, it said, asserting that between 2003 and 2013, meat consumption more than doubled in the country.

While vegetarian and vegan eating is also increasing (between 2004 and 2014, there was a five per cent growth in the number of vegetarians in India), the amount of meat, eggs or dairy foods consumed per person in India is the highest it has been in history and it is projected to grow further.

India’s chicken meat consumption is growing annually at about 12 per cent, the letter said.

“This extraordinary upsurge in the consumption and production of these foods in India adversely impacts animals, of course, but also the health of its citizens, water availability, air and water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and food supply to the poor in colossal ways,” it said.

It said India now tops the charts in many diet-related ailments and pointed out that cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in India, while stroke was also a main cause of death and disability in the country.

It said India is also the world leader in diabetes, its cancer rate is out of control, and childhood obesity is at a crisis point.

It asserted that India is home to 20 per cent of the world’s cattle and buffalo population and 11 per cent of world goat and sheep population, which are bred predominantly to be used for meat or dairy production.

The animal rights body said according to satellite data from our space programme, ruminant animals transfer almost 12 million tonnes of methane–which traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does–into the atmosphere via flatulence every year.

It said while India tops the world hunger list with 194 million people and as 77 million people in the country lack access to safe water, the production of meat, eggs and dairy foods uses one-third of the world’s fresh water resources as well as one-third of the world’s global cropland as feed for animals.

“Taxing meat could discourage citizens from consuming these damaging products and could bring in revenue that could help support costs related to damage to public health and the environment because of meat, eggs and dairy foods.

“Won’t India, a country known for its cultural respect for animals, and with a Constitution that requires all of its citizens to protect and improve the natural environment…and to have compassion for living creatures take the lead on taxing meat and other animal derived foods?” it asked.

Arby’s bringing back venison sandwich for hunting season

 – Arby’s, the restaurant chain that claims “We have the meats,” is bringing back its venison sandwich for hunting season for a second year.

The restaurant chain tested its venison sandwich in five popular hunting states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, last year. The venison sandwich, featuring thick-cut venison steak and crispy onions topped with a juniper berry sauce on a toasted specialty roll. Arby’s claims the sandwich was so popular it sold out within hours.

This year, Arby’s is releasing the venison sandwich nationwide. It will return to the menu on Oct. 21 and be available until supplies last.

The success of the venison sandwich has prompted Arby’s to add another game meat to its menu. A limited edition elk sandwich, featuring an elk steak topped with blackberry port steak sauce and crispy onions on a toasted specialty roll, will also be available at three locations in the popular elk hunting states of Colorado, Wyoming and Montana.

Not In My Backyard: The Day My Quiet Cul-De-Sac Turned Into a Bloodbath

By Hope Bohanec, Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns

I live in a rural area of Sonoma County, California in the small town of
Penngrove. It’s farm country and there isn’t much more in the tiny downtown
block than a burger joint and bars. But it’s a beautiful, peaceful area. The
golden hills glimmer in the distance, and mature, majestic oak trees shade
the
wild turkeys and deer in our neighborhood. My husband and I have been in
this
area for over a decade, and while a miniature horse or a goat in a field is
a
common sight, chickens were not, up until a few years ago. The popularity of
having chickens at home has grown, and now we see flocks of chickens
everywhere.
Across the street, there is a chicken “tractor” (a mobile chicken coop) in a
sprawling field. We often see a colorful collection of chickens here and
there,
wandering and scratching around front yards as we take our evening walk.

So when our new neighbors built a chicken coop in their backyard, I wasn’t
surprised, but I was concerned. Our four duplexes share a laundry, and I
walk
directly in front of this neighbor’s house on a regular basis. He is often
outside in a cloud of cigarette smoke. When the chickens first came, I
braved
inhaling a haze of second-hand smoke to inquire about the birds. He said he
got
them for eggs. I said, “You’re not going to kill them, are you?” He said no,
that he had them just for the eggs. I reminded him that coops need to be
cleaned
daily and that he should adopt chickens if he was going to get any more, but
doubted that he would care one way or the other about something like this
as he
blew smoke away from my direction.

A few months later, I was walking some laundry out to the machines. As I
glanced
in this neighbor’s front yard, he and two other men were standing around a
tall,
green, plastic garbage can. There was a scuffle and I couldn’t quite figure
out
what was happening at first, until I saw his arms spotted in blood and a big
black bird flapping her wings furiously as she was being held upside down by
both men in the garbage can. Her large ebony wings beat desperately against
his
arms. The third man was skinning the sandy colored feathers off another
chicken
and there was a third little body, colorless, headless, featherless, with
her
feet cut off, balanced on the top of the garbage can. I dropped my laundry
basket and screamed, “What are you doing!?!?!” The neighbor was immediately
uncomfortable. He said, “Oh, sorry Hope.” One of the other men looked at me
and
said, “We’re gonna BBQ!”

I ran back to my apartment and grabbed my cell phone and then back to the
scene
of the horror and with trembling hands started taking pictures while I
pleaded
with him to stop. There wasn’t another bird out there, just the three now
still
and silent. The neighbor said these three were the “old ass chickens.” I
assume
he meant they were not laying eggs as frequently as the others in his
backyard.

Through my tears, I reminded him that he had promised he wasn’t going to
kill
the chickens. He didn’t say much, just apologized again. He knows my
feelings as
he sees my vegan bumper stickers every day, and we have talked on a couple
of
occasions about veganism and not killing animals. It seemed to me like he
felt
“caught in the act.” I can only hope that he does feel a degree of guilt
and not
just embarrassment about doing something his neighbor disapproves of.

I was so upset I forgot my laundry basket which sat out in the driveway for
hours and I cried my eyes out. It was sickening to witness. My neighbor
literally had blood on his hands from taking a precious life not fifty feet
from
my front door, and there was nothing I could do about it. The fact that
these
men were executing this repulsive act in a garbage can felt terribly
symbolic of
how they seemed to feel about these birds. They treated them like garbage
and
left their heads, feet, feathers, and other parts of their little bodies to
be
thrown away with the trash.

I called our mutual landlord to complain. He sympathized with me but said
only
that he would tell the murdering neighbor that he should do his killing in a
more private and secluded area of his backyard in the future. I know that
it is
legal to kill animals who are your “property” as long as you do it
“humanely.”
But what can be humane about taking a sentient being’s life? And although
throat
cutting and beheading are considered “humane” methods of killing, they
certainly
are not. Throat slashing is a painful, traumatic way to die, and it can take
agonizing, frightening minutes for someone to bleed out. Killing an animal
who
wants to live can never be humane. This idea that we can “humanely” take the
life of another animal is an outrage. And I am outraged that it is
happening in
my backyard . . . in anyone’s backyard.

The idea that it is somehow better to “kill your own” baffles me. One
argument
my neighbor might use is that his bird had a good life and this was her
“one bad
day.” But what about all the other days of life you are depriving her of?
What
about all the days of sunshine, eating, dustbathing, playing with friends,
and
loving being alive? It’s not just one bad day; it’s denying someone a
lifetime
of experience, robbing them of the full knowledge of life. If we don’t want
our
human life cut short, how can we justify taking the life of another sentient
being who wants to live when it is completely unnecessary and we live
healthier
as vegans?

Another position that people who kill animals themselves take is that the
person
is now aware of the process and “knows where their food comes from.” But
this is
useful only to that person. The animal receives no benefit from this
concept. If
they took care of the animal, fed and cleaned and provided for this animal,
then
a bond of trust was formed between the caregiver and the dependent. To turn
on
someone you care for, and then mercilessly kill them, is a terrible
betrayal of
trust. In fact, it’s the ultimate betrayal. This phrase is the title of my
book
on the subject of small scale animal agriculture, *The Ultimate Betrayal*.
For a
broader, in depth analysis of this issue, I encourage you to read my book
<https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Betrayal-There-Happy-Meat/dp/1475990936/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1372963043&sr=8-1>
.

I haven’t seen my neighbor since that horrible day, which is unusual as he
is
typically out in his haze of smoke several times a day. I think he has
moved his
habit to the backyard so he doesn’t have to look me in the eye. I hope that
my
reaction made him think deeply about what he did. There is a different
energy
now when I walk past his place and out to the laundry. It feels somber and
sad
knowing what occurred there. It’s horrible to live with but only
strengthens my
resolve to fight for these beautiful birds and help bring about the day when
they no longer suffer at the hands of our neighbors.

__________

Hope Bohanec is the Projects Manager for United Poultry Concerns and author
of
*The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?*
<http://www.the-ultimate-betrayal.com>


United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes
the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl.
Don’t just switch from beef to chicken. Go Vegan.
http://www.UPC-online.org/ http://www.twitter.com/upcnews
http://www.facebook.com/UnitedPoultryConcerns

View this article online
<http://upc-online.org/alerts/170901_not_in_my_backyard.html

Should veganism come with a mental health warning?

12 June 2014

by Clare Mann

As a psychologist with over 20 years’ experience, I admit that I have a mental health disorder.

Some professionals might say I have an eating disorder because I am vegan. Others would show concern that I regularly feel anxious, depressed, experience panic attacks and even post-traumatic stress symptoms at what I have and continue to see in society’s abuse of animals.

I say this because, in the past year I have seen an increase in GPs referring people they believe are suffering from mental illness, particularly eating disorders. However, upon meeting them, I find that these preliminary diagnoses follow these patients explaining that they are vegan.

What if their associated symptoms were not signs of mental illness at all, but instead signs of extreme anguish, grief, betrayal and the madness of speciesism?

So if you are reading this and are actively involved in animal advocacy and consider yourself to be an ethical vegan, then perhaps you should be issued with a health warning?

Not a physical health warning because with the proper nutritional advice, your health will positively improve by adopting a plant based diet, but with a mental health warning.

Once you lift the veil on what is going on behind our speciesism, you will most likely reach the same conclusion – that it is a form of madness but not your madness.  The madness of how our society thinks speciesism – our unspoken superiority over the animal kingdom and differing treatment of different species – is ok.

More: http://www.thescavenger.net/social-justice-to-all/social-justice-for-animals/943-should-vegans-be-issued-with-a-mental-health-warning.html

Lab-grown “Meat” Anyone?

Veganism is all about reducing the harm we cause to sentient beings to the best of our ability. This is why we don’t eat animal products. It’s impossible to take the body part or secretion of a living being without exploitation and pain.

Or is it? If meat and other animal products could be made without harming animals, would there finally be such a thing as vegan meat? [tweet this] When it comes to lab grown meat, there are vegans on both sides of the debate. With the potential for massive reductions in the environmental impact of animal agriculture and an end to the suffering and death of trillions of animals every year, why wouldn’t every vegan be championing the cause for test tube meat?

Well like most topics I set out to cover, cultured meat production is far more complicated than it may first appear. We’re going to cover some of the pros and cons of cellular agriculture and why it’s a hot button within the vegan community.

As always, I’ll be barely scratching the surface, so you can dig into the citations and resources at the base of this post for more information.

The concept of growing and maintaining muscle outside of the body is not new. Starting in 1912, biologist Alexis Carrel kept cells from an embryonic chicken heart beating in a nutrient bath in his laboratory for more than 20 years.[1] In 1931, Winston Churchill wrote in a predictive essay optimistically entitled Fifty Years Hence that, “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”[2]

Over the decades from NASA-backed fish fillets made of goldfish cells[3][4] to the 2013 taste test of the first lab-grown burger,[5][6] the cultured meat, well, culture, continues to grow. [See a brief but thorough timeline in the ‘In-Vitro Meat” section of this essay][7]

The advantages of this method of meat creation are obvious. Despite the efforts, hopes and dreams of vegans and activists alike, the global demand for meat is on the rise with India and China leading the charge.[8][9]

With animal agriculture contributing as much as 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions,[10] using a third of the earth’s fresh water,[11][12][13][14] up to 45 percent of the Earth’s land,[15][16] causing 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction[17][18] and serving as a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat destruction,[19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29] the environmental implications alone could be staggering. [tweet this]

A 2011 study concluded that, “cultured meat involves approximately 7–45% lower energy use … 78–96% lower GHG emissions, 99% lower land use, and 82–96% lower water use depending on the product compared.”[30] While these numbers sound promising, the study was largely criticized for basing its numbers on a not-yet-proven method of cultured meat growth.

While still theoretical, a 2014 study accounting for other potential production methods found that energy use for cultured meat actually exceeded current levels for beef production, but had significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and land usage and was only higher than poultry in water usage.[31]

The reality is that the actual environmental impact of cultured meat remains unknown because it’s still in such an experimental phase. The ground meat grown for 2013’s seminal burger was a relatively simple creation of pure protein. It lacked any of the fat and blood that give meat its flavor or the firmness of once-active muscle tissue. In order to create meat products of more substance, the muscle, which is what meat is after all, has to be exercised and provided with artificial blood flow, oxygen, digestion and nutrition. [32][33][34][35] Some scientists speculate that this increased energy demand may negate any reduction in land usage and agricultural input. [36][37]

Basically, when it comes to the environmental benefits, it’s still too early to know.

So what about the other main benefit: an end to the suffering and death of trillions of beings every year? [tweet this]

Here is where cultured meat has the potential to shine.

Maybe. Eventually.

There are several significant hurdles to overcome before lab-grown meat can be called anything near “cruelty and animal-free.” The major issues on the ethics end are establishing self-renewing stem cells and finding plant-based materials for the growth medium and scaffolding.

To understand what that means, I’ll give a very simplified version of in-vitro meat production. Initially, cells are taken via biopsy from a living animal and deposited into a growth medium where they proliferate and grow. Eventually, in order to produce meat products with more structure than the ground patty, they will need a form of scaffolding to hold their shape.

The first ethical issues arise when considering the long-term viability of the initial harvested cells. Professor Mark Post, the man behind the famous taste-tested burger, has said that, “the most efficient way of taking the process forward would still involve slaughter,” with a “limited herd of donor animals” kept for stock.[38] Others in the movement envision the establishment of a self-renewing stem cell line, meaning only an initial biopsy would be required at which point the cell line would replicate indefinitely.[39][40][41]

Yet another concern is that, given humanity’s love of the new, different and exotic, we may start breeding specialty animals for cell harvesting, which would still require the confinement and reproductive control of sentient beings.[42]

As a side-note, Post’s famous burger was made with egg powder to enhance the taste, introducing another level of animal suffering.[43] This is by no means, however, a necessary practice.

The second major ethical issue and one that isn’t widely addressed in most of the news reports on cultured meat, is the growth medium into which the cells are deposited. At the moment, the most widely used medium is bovine fetal serum. Fetal serum from an array of animals is commonly employed in a wide range of experiments, including those for tampons, which I covered in my “Are Tampons Vegan?” video.

The harvesting of bovine fetal serum is far from transparent. One study reached out to 388 harvesting entities with only 4% responding with any kind of methodology data. Five sources explicitly declared their harvesting methods to be confidential.[44]

Of those that did respond, the typical procedure for fetal serum harvesting was “by cardiac puncture” meaning a needle directly into the beating heart of the fetal cow. They specify that, “Fetuses should be at least 3 months old; otherwise the heart is too small for puncture.” The general process is as follows:

“At the time of slaughter, the cow is found to be pregnant during evisceration (removal of the internal organs in the thorax and abdomen during processing of the slaughtered cow) … The calf is removed quickly from the uterus [and] a cardiac puncture is performed by inserting a needle between the ribs directly into the heart of the unanaesthesised fetus and blood is extracted.” This bleeding process can take up to 35 minutes to complete while the calf remains alive. Afterwards, “the fetus is processed for animal feed and extraction of specific substances like fats and proteins, among other things.”[45]

The study continued with a detailed debate as to whether the fetal cows can feel this procedure and their possible slow death from anoxia, meaning lack of oxygen, from placental separation, and estimated that between 1 and 2 million fetuses are harvested annually for serum.[46]

All in all, fetal serum from any animal is not, by any stretch of the imagination, cruelty-free. The good news is that the champions of the cultured meat movement seem to be invested in finding plant-based medium alternatives with both algae and mushrooms providing promising options.[47][48][49][50][51] Fetal serum’s drawbacks don’t stop at the ethical line. There are scientific concerns as batches vary considerably in their composition. It also poses the threat of pathogen introduction, is not environmentally friendly and is cost-prohibitive. Dr. Neil Stephens of Cardiff University states that: “Everyone in the field acknowledges this as a problem … It currently undermines a lot of the arguments that people put forward in support of in vitro meat.”[52]

This leads into two of the additional pros of cultured meat, both revolving around human health. Though I personally believe that health is the last worry when it comes to producing a possible alternative to mass animal slaughter, it’s worth noting that the composition of cultured meat can be altered to provide superior nutritional benefits. The level of fat and type of fat can be selectively controlled. The threat of food contamination and spread of pathogens would also be greatly reduced, as cultured meat would not involve all the biohazards of traditional slaughter.[53][54][55]

So if scientists are able to create a self-replicating cell line, thus eliminating the enslavement and potential slaughter of animals, and find a suitable plant-based growth-medium and scaffolding, thus eliminating the cruelty of fetal serum and other animal byproducts, what objections remain against going after this concept in full force?

Two of the largest are cost and what’s best described as “the ick factor.” Surveys involving every range of dietary practice seem to indicate that the majority of people are put off by the concept of lab-grown meat.[56][57][58][59][60] Interestingly enough, those people with the highest rates of meat consumption appear to be the most sensitive to disgust.[61]

Of course cultured meat proponents emphasize that “lab-grown” is a bit of a misnomer. While in the testing stages, the meat is grown in laboratories. However, were it to go to commercial production, it would be made in factories just like all of our packaged food items, and some could argue, would be more natural than other chemical concoctions the public readily consumes. [see[62] for an illustration of potential production methods].

Also, given what all we inject into our food animals from hormones to antibiotics, to our outright manipulation of their genes, one could ask just how natural “standard” animal products really are.

While cultured meat doesn’t require the use of GMO’s, it’s possible that genetically modifying cells may allow them to reproduce faster and thus prove more economical.[63]

Speaking of cost, Mark Post’s initial burger in 2013 cost approximately £250,000 (over $350,000) to produce.[64] However, by 2015, Post stated that the cost is now down to £8.00.[65][66]

As with any new technology, the initial cost investments will be steep, but Post and others in the movement see cultured meat eventually attaining a competitive price to traditional products, though most likely not for at least another decade.[67]

The vegan community is most dramatically torn on either side of this issue. [ See [68] for examples]Some feel that any product derived from an animal remains a form of exploitation. Others believe that with the insurmountable fight against the ongoing animal holocaust and more non-vegans being born every day, we need to search for practical and viable solutions to replace humanity’s rising demand for meat.[69] The vegans on the pro-cultured meat side I’ve come across through my research say their motivation is putting the animals’ interests above all else. They believe it’s unrealistic to expect humanity on a global scale to cease or even reduce their consumption of animals. Thus, providing an alternative that not only looks and tastes like but actually is meat could be, with the proper harvesting method and growth medium, the most immediate path to animal liberation currently available. With the concurrent rise of research into milk and egg-producing yeast and leather and other animal byproducts,[70] could it be that the laboratory and not the picket line will be the ultimate genesis of a vegan world? [tweet this]

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot debate in the comments below. Check out resources below for more on cultured meat and other animal-free animal products.

This video took approximately 64 hours to produce. If you’d like to help support Bite Size Vegan so I can keep putting in the long hours to bring you this educational resource, please check out the support page where you can give a one-time-donation or receive perks and rewards by joining the Nugget Army on Patreon. I’d like to give a special thanks my $50 and above patrons and my whole Patreon family for making this and all of my videos possible.

If you enjoyed this post, please give the video a thumbs up and share the post around to spark debate. You can use the share buttons at the base of this post or any of the pre-made tweetables throughout this post.

If you’re new, I’d love to have you as a subscriber. I put out fresh vegan content every Monday, Wednesday, and some Fridays.

Now go live vegan, put the animals first, and I’ll see you soon.

see ya next nugget!

Your Next Hamburger May Come With a Side of Endangered Wolf

http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/05/29/food-production-impacts-wildlife-extinction-labels?cmpid=tpdaily-eml-2016-05-30

A group argues for adding wildlife conservation facts to nutrition labels.


<!–

The remnants of uneaten hamburgers at a 2014 burger-eating contest in Washington. (Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)

May 29, 2016
Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife

When it comes to valuable real estate, the square inches that comprise the official food nutrition label may be a hotter commodity than the most impressive street address in Manhattan. How consumers react to the label’s black-and-white facts about calories, fats, sugars, and vitamins is worth billions of dollars to the food industry.

An environmental group would like to factor in one more thing: how food production affects wildlife. Piggybacking on the government’s overhauled nutrition label—which, despite industry opposition, now distinguishes added from naturally occurring sugars—the Center for Biological Diversity has released “extinction labels” that suggest how much impact a hamburger, a chicken breast, or a serving of bacon has on water supplies, forests, the climate, and the survival of endangered species.

“People probably don’t think that when they’re eating a hamburger they’re harming a wolf, but there’s a direct correlation,” said Jennifer Molidor, senior food campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A wolf, for example, will be targeted by predator control programs in their natural environment, at the behest of the livestock industry, to protect the cattle.”


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The “extinction facts” label. (Image: Center for Biological Diversity)

The Center for Biological Diversity and other animal welfare groups have charged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program, which kills millions of wild coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, and other animals annually, lacks transparency as well as scientific justification for its practices. States also run such programs.

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There are other impacts as well. Increasing amounts of livestock manure are the leading driver of growing methane emissions from agriculture. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and can also degrade air quality. Raising alfalfa for cow feed uses up 2.7 trillion gallons of water a year in California alone.

The Center for Biological Diversity would like the government to advise the public on how to make eating choices that have less impact on wildlife and natural resources. “We’re in the sixth major extinction crisis, the first human-caused extinction crisis, and it’s highly related to our diet,” said Molidor. “Americans eat about three times the global average of meat consumption. If the rest of the world ate like Americans ate in terms of meat and dairy, we would need four more Earths.”

Author and futurist Jamais Cascio has experience using the nutrition label format to make an environmental point. His “cheeseburger footprint” graphic, which was based on his research into the carbon emissions created by a quarter-pound cheeseburger, went viral in the mid-2000s, landing him an appearance in a National Geographic documentary about climate change.

(Full disclosure: Casio and I were colleagues on a blog-and-book project called Worldchanging during the mid-2000s.)

Ten years later, Cascio said, he continues to get requests to use the image, and he features it in his consulting on sustainability and future planning.



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The “cheeseburger footprint” label. (Image: Courtesy of Jamais Cascio)

“I can say from my experience that adding that carbon facts image dramatically increased the amount of conversation around carbon footprints,” he said. “I started to see, in some places, the cheeseburger as the symbol of unintended climate consequences.”

Cascio called the extinction label “a good first draft,” but noted that “it doesn’t pretend to be objective.”

“This looks like they’re combining the nutrition label with a cigarette warning,” he said. “If you want to blame the elimination of sage grouse and wolves on beef production, I can understand that. I’m not sure how it factors into polar bears.”

But images can evoke interest and reactions in ways that pages full of text can’t match, he added.

“Greenhouse gases, water, manure, all have links to beef production,” Cascio said. “If they can draw a more direct link to the consequences, I could see this being applied across a wide array of products—or even a political candidate.”