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14 January 2019

With the environment in mind, a UK company says 40% of its new dog food consists of flies

Worried that the beef in your beloved pup’s grub might contribute to environmental degradation? Don’t fret – flies could be the answer, a company claims.

Unless you're living under a rock, you should be aware of the problems around environmental sustainability – and potential solutions like recycling and reducing our use of plastic.

The production and consumption of meat has one of the greatest effects on the environment, which includes the animal protein you feed your pet.

According to a BBC report, in an effort to address the problem, a pet food manufacturer claims that 40% of their new product consist of black soldier flies, regarded as a sustainable source of protein.

But is it good for your pet?

However, the question is, should your dog be eating flies and is it good for them? According to Aarti Kathrani, a pet diet expert at the Royal Veterinary College, it may well be.

"Insects can be a very useful source of protein," she told BBC. "More studies are needed to show how much of these nutrients can actually be absorbed by a dog's body, but some studies suggest that insects can provide the nutrients dogs need."

But what about our feline friends? According to Kathrani, dogs are omnivores and can eat basically anything. But cats need taurine, an amino-acid that helps to metabolise fat. Cats, unlike dogs, don’t produce this naturally, which means it needs to be included in their diet.

According to experts, insects such as the black soldier fly do contain taurine, and could therefore be used in cat food as well.

Could this help save the environment?

According to the BBC report, protein from flies is much more sustainable than that of cows as production requires less water and grazing.

But the report also mentioned that one needs to look at exactly what type of meat is used to produce pet food, which is usually offal. Not using this offal when humans continue to consume muscle meat will lead to waste unless offal can be repurposed.

It’s a tricky question indeed, but for now the company believes it’s on to something.

Disclaimer: This article is merely informative and not meant to endorse any alternative ways of feeding your pet. Consult your vet for advice on animal nutrition.

Image credit: iStock

 
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