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Startup Unveils Lab-Grown Mouse-Meat Cookies For Cats

Now, your cats and dogs can also eat cultured meat!

Startup Unveils Lab-Grown Mouse-Meat Cookies For Cats
Co-founder Joshua Errett feeds his cat Frankie a cultured mouse cookie. Because, Animals

Because, Animals, the only biotech company producing cultured meat for our beloved cats and dogs, might be poised to disrupt the agriculture industry. Today, the startup announced that it has successfully completed the world's first cultured meat product for pets: Harmless Hunt™ Mouse Cookies for Cats with Cultured Meat.

Even the most finicky cats have tried and approved of the "species-appropriate" snack, which is now ready for production. The process begins with the isolation of stem cells from a mouse and putting them in a food-grade bioreactor, where they grow into real meat. Then they're combined with other nutritious and delicious cultured ingredients like tempeh, miso, nutritional yeast, and others.

Startup Unveils Lab-Grown Mouse-Meat Cookies For Cats
Source: Because, Animals

The cells were taken from the ears of donor mice by piercing them with the administration of a mild anesthetic. Two years after the operation, the donor mice are doing well today, and Because, Animals employees have adopted all three of them.

Why mice?

The startup chose mouse over beef or chicken because cats evolved to eat mice, rats, rabbits, lizards, and insects, explained Shannon Falconer, CEO and co-founder of the startup, in an email to Fast Company. “Although chicken, beef, and fish are the main sources of meat in pet foods, studies have shown that these proteins are also among the leading food allergens in cats and dogs," and they are only used because they're already being produced for human consumption.

This is especially noteworthy in light of Falconer's claim that pet food helps support the animal agriculture industry greatly. According to one estimate, feeding pets meat accounts for more than a quarter of the environmental impact of animal agriculture, and farmers would struggle greatly if they couldn't sell rendered meat for use in pet food since they couldn't afford to dispose of it as biohazardous waste, Fast Company explains. 

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The clean meat industry is still in its infancy, and most companies involved are focused on producing food for humans since they are the biggest consumers of traditional meat. Most recently, Israeli startup Future Meat Technologies announced the opening of its production facility with a capacity of 5,000 burgers per day, and while lab-grown meat is still hard to find, it appears that it's only a matter of time before they're widely available for human consumption.

If no regulatory or governance issues arise, Harmless Hunt™ Mouse Cookies for Cats should be available in early 2022. This week, the cookies will be shown to the public at SuperZoo, one of the largest pet trade shows in the pet food industry. The company is still figuring out how to fully scale up the process, and cultured rabbit for dogs will be the next step.

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