Insect-based pet food helps us move to a cleaner planet.

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Sunshine and dogs – the perfect way to start the day for any animal lover, and that’s the scene with morning playtime at the Rivas Vaciamadrid Animal Protection Center, just 25 minutes from central Madrid. Minutes away.

Two dogs are up for adoption and ready to brighten someone’s life. But while pets are part of the family for millions of people, the truth about cats and dogs is a little uncomfortable. The reality is that their carbon footprint is getting bigger and bigger.

There are now more pets than children in Spain and their population is growing rapidly in other countries around the world. The problem is their predominantly meat-based diet, which is responsible for 160 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Sciencedirect.com.

A Spanish company is using insects to make 'sustainable' pet food.  / Reuters

A Spanish company is using insects to make ‘sustainable’ pet food. / Reuters

A Spanish company is using insects to make ‘sustainable’ pet food. / Reuters

When Luxaviation CEO Patrick Hansen compared their furry friends to the private jet industry, pet owners’ ears perked up. gave Financial Times Hanson was quoted as saying that one of their customers was responsible for just over two tonnes of carbon emissions each year – about the equivalent of three pet dogs.

Science Direct calculated that if pet food were a country, it would be the 60th worst polluter worldwide, with total emissions equivalent to Mozambique or the Philippines. The researchers behind the study didn’t mince their words, saying that “the demand for pet food should be included in the broader global debate about the sustainability of food systems.”

Insect pet food: low emissions, low pollution

Italian entrepreneur Gianpaolo Pugliese is working on a solution: pet food made from insects. His Madrid-based company produces bug-based pet food packed with protein. He believes it is a real alternative to farmed animal feed.

“I had time to think about my contribution to society during Covid,” says Pugliese. “I had a conversation with one of my best friends, who is an entomologist. And that’s where it all started.”

Pugliese learned all about the black soda fly. Then he got to work. “I discovered an opportunity to reduce the impact of pet food production, and so I decided to found this company.”

A cat rests on a bench at COP 28.

A cat rests on a bench at COP 28.

A cat rests on a bench at COP 28.

Ginqo has been around for 12 months now, and the dogs and cats at the Rivas Vaciamadrid center happily scoff at its products on a daily basis. One of the people involved in the project is Cesar Sastre, a doctor and pet food expert.

“The key is trying to get a protein that’s easy to produce without too much impact,” Sastre told CGTN. For example, if you use beef, you are using a lot of land and resources. Small insect production can be done in a small building. You need less food and water than beef. Greenhouse gases are prominent.

Shastri can be onto something. A study by theecologist.org Insect-based farming compared to more traditional livestock farming. Statistics show that insect-based pet food requires only two percent of land and four percent of water to produce each kilogram of protein.

So what’s stopping the insect revolution?’ Attitudes, principles and business models that have shaped the industry for decades. gave Pet food processing The site reports that the sector is worth about $100 billion per year. Animal protein brands dominate the market and generate huge profits for the top dogs in the field.

This means consumers may have to switch to alternative products such as insect-based foods. People have to get over the ‘ick’ factor before they feed bugs to their furry companions. But based on the reactions of our friends at Rivas Vaciamadrid, it doesn’t spoil the pets one bit.

Insect-based pet food helps us move to a cleaner planet.

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