Dear friends and family,
I sincerely hope you and your families are all healthy and safe.
I’m sending you this update to let you know that the Because Animals’ team is still in the lab, continuing to work hard on our cultured meat pet food during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finding a solution to the problems associated with the production of traditional meat has never been more urgent.
Over the years, you have heard my impassioned pitches on why animal husbandry, particularly factory farming, has no place in pet nutrition — growing antibiotic-resistance, horrific animal abuse and environmental destruction. But one aspect I haven’t given a lot of words to is the spread of disease — intense, large-scale confinement of animals poses a public health threat by increasing the potential of emerging zoonotic diseases.
COVID-19 (as well as SARS, MERS, Avian Flu, Swine Flu and many more) is a zoonotic disease that jumped from animal to human at a market in Wuhan, China. The conditions at markets such as these are ripe for viruses — wildlife of many breeds confined and stacked on top of each other in abusive conditions, fecal matter spread from those trapped animals, and the butchering of animals on site. Often, the same chopping block and knife is used to slaughter these various species with little washing of hands.
This is not simply a problem of live animal markets, nor is it restricted to China. The potential for the emergence of zoonotic diseases is a world-wide problem associated with raising animals for food (recall that the Spanish flu - the world’s most devastating pandemic - is an avian virus). Medical experts from Johns Hopkins and WHO have recently stated that the world is unprepared for the impending and lethal zoonotic diseases that could kill up to 50 to 80 million people and wipe out 5 percent of the world’s economy.
Now, more than any other time in history, cultured meat is the only clear path forward as it has none of those problems caused by the raising and production of traditional meat.
Easing our reliance on animals in the food system will have wide-reaching benefits and we can’t waste another minute.
Shannon Falconer, CEO Because Animals