If you want to try some, cultured meat still isn’t easy to find: So far, only one form of cultured chicken has regulatory approval, and only in Singapore. But more is coming, and your pets won’t have to wait long either. Soon there will be cultured meat for pet food, which could help cut the 64 million tons of carbon pollution that comes from producing meat for dog and cat food.
The biotech startup Because, Animals is the first to focus on pet food, and hopes to launch its first products—including a “mouse cookie” snack for cats—by 2022. “The ultimate goal of most cultured meat companies is to create a product that will allow animals to be taken out of the food supply chain,” Shannon Falconer, CEO and cofounder of Because, Animals, said in an email. “And, given that humans are the largest consumers of traditional meat, it makes sense to focus on humans when making a cultured meat product. However, something that most people are unaware of is that, in addition to humans, there is another hugely significant population driving the animal agriculture industry forward: our pets.”
More than a quarter of the environmental impact of animal agriculture, by one estimate, comes from feeding pets meat. Pet food often uses rendered meat, the grisly ingredients that people don’t want (like viscera, heads, bones, and blood) or meat that can’t legally be sold because the livestock was diseased or dying. The volume of this rendered meat is so large that if farmers couldn’t sell it, they couldn’t afford to dispose of it as biohazardous waste; Falconer argues that pet food helps prop up the entire industry.