In the future, we'll eat bug-fed beef

Photo: VladK213 (iStock)

If you’ve been following the arguments for fake meat, you’ll already know that one of the chief arguments against eating animals is all the natural resources that are depleted to feed them. Most animals raised to become food live on fish meal and soybeans; this means overfishing and emissions of greenhouse gases.

So what do we do? We feed them insects, of course!

The New York Times paid a visit to AgriProtein, a farm in South Africa that is raising 8 billion black soldier flies that subsist on 250 metric tons of food and farm waste. Insect larvae are very good at digesting organic matter, and after they eat it, they grow very quickly.

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“I’ve been to facilities that can digest a hundred tons a day of waste with these insects. That’s a hundred tons of waste that won’t go into a landfill. A hundred tons of waste that won’t produce greenhouse gases. A hundred tons of waste that won’t potentially pollute the soils with pathogens,” Jeffery Tomberlin, an entomologist at Texas A&M University, told the Times.

These insects also take up less space than soybean fields and provide enough nutrients that it would be hard to spot any changes between an animal fed on insect meal and one that ate more conventional feed.

Strangely, the Times seems to think that Americans will be weirded out by eating animals that were raised on bugs. As our resident backyard chicken expert points out, that’s exactly what organic chickens already eat.

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About the author

Aimee Levitt

Aimee Levitt is associate editor of The Takeout.