A Meat and Dairy Article from All-Creatures.org

Meat Producers Have a New Animal to Farm: Insects

From Matilde Nuñez del Prado Alanes, SentientMedia.org
May 2022

While it is true that insects may offer significantly better feed-conversion ratios and a smaller land-use footprint compared to traditional livestock systems, this does not guarantee that the insects-as-food industry will be environmentally friendly.

eating Insects
Image from Harish Shivaraman-Unsplash

Meat producers have a new animal to farm. In an effort to be more sustainable, the industry is turning to insects as an alternative source of protein. But new research on insect sensitivity and behavior raises ethical questions about this surprising trend.

Humans have fed on insects for centuries and continue to do so today. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2013, insects were still part of the traditional diet of at least two billion people around the world, mostly in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Most of the small six-legged land animals consumed for food today are collected from the wild. However, in some countries, insect farms have existed for several decades.

Such is the case in Thailand, where experts estimate there are 20,000 small- to medium-scale cricket farms and about 5,000 for palm weevil larvae, and in China, where there are even some industrial-scale cockroach farms intended mainly for the production of medicines and animal feed. Cambodia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Kenya also have insect farms, mostly for crickets. Most of these farms are small-scale and not technologically developed.


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