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.
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.
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.
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.