Podcast

Shannon Falconer, CEO Because Animals; World’s 1st Cultivated Mouse Cat Cookie

What happens when you cross a cat rescuing microbiologist with another cat rescuing MBA student?  You get a passionate and purposeful team who set out to remove animals from factory farming and the pet food supply chain by creating cultivated mouse meat cat treats!  BOOM, we have Because Animals!
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Because Animals

Podcast Summary

Shannon Falconer and co-founder Josh Errett bonded at a Toronto cat rescue organization and realized they had the skills and passion to help take animals out of the pet food industry supply chain.  

Having completed her post-doctoral fellow in microbiology and immunology at Stanford, Shannon realized she had the scientific knowledge to create cultivated meat for the pet food industry.  It would be the first step in removing animals from our pet food supply chain.  

The Insidiousness of the Pet Food Industry

The world urgently needs sustainable and ethical pet food.

Currently, pet food is comprised of the 50% of the animal that humans don’t eat; bones, blood, heads, hooves, pesticides, heavy metals from fish and so on.  However, it is also comprised of some very disturbing other components.  Did you know that all packaging from any of these animals and old meat goes into the same vat?  They don’t have time to unwrap outdated meat from supermarkets.  Euthanized animals from shelters and the bags they come in are often thrown into the same rendering vat.  Pet tags, cattle id tags, surgical pins and needles all go into this rendering process and end up as a soup, ultimately used as core ingredients for our pets food.

What is “rendering?”  Rendering is a heat extraction process to remove any meat from bones and to also destroy all the chemicals, bacteria and other nasties.   Here is an article on rendering to read further.  

Furthermore, according to Shannon, the volume of rendered meat is so large that if farmers could not sell it on as pet food, they could not afford to pay the cost of disposing it; as it would be classified as “biohazerdous waste.”  Shannon explains that the pet food industry actually props up the entire animal agriculture industry.  

Should we feed dogs and cats chicken, beef and pork?

Most of us have not spent a great amount of time understanding what kind of meat our pet food is comprised of.  Another critical element of the contents of our pets food is that they are a main source of pet allergens .  A cats native diet consists of mice, insects and birds.  It is not at all in their best interest to be fed “highly rendered” meat from chicken, cows and pigs. 

"A single cell sample can create up to 10,000 kg of cultured meat, which means that those biopsies will not have to be taken very often. Additionally, researchers are working on the development of immortalised cell lines that can be multiplied almost limitlessly to reduce the number of samplings even further."
Prof. Dr. Mark Post
Mosa Meat Chief Scientific Officer

The Environmental Impact of Pet Food

According to one study, more than a quarter of the environmental impact of animal agriculture comes from feeding pets meat.   A Lochtree study found that every year, the global production of pet food releases 106 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. To put this into perspective, only 5 countries surpass the pet food industry with their carbon emissions.

Prof. Dr. Mark Post, Chief Science Officer at Mosa Meats says that cultivated meat uses 99% less land and 96% less water than traditional animal agriculture.

Building a Cultivated Meat Company

This podcast will shed some light on some of the hurdles of developing cultivated meat; the main factors being the cost of the “medium” or food that feeds the proteins as well as the cost of the “bioreactors.”  The industry standard used as “food stock” in labs is an ingredient called “Fetal Bovine Serum.”  The is obviously a NO GO ingredient for a cruelty-free pet food company.  It was a huge milestone for them to find a suitable, non-animal substitute.

An oversubscribed Venture SEED round

Venture capital investments into Cultivated Meat companies was up 266% this last year!  Of the 5 main cultivated meat companies receiving venture capital investment in the last 12 months, 3 of them have been on The Shot Caller Podcast! 

Because Animals closed a $3.6m seed round in the Spring of 2021 that was OVER-SUBSCRIBED.  They will launch an A-Round of financing early in 2022 to increase trial production scale.

Their key investors include top name firms such as Draper Associates, ORKLA Foods from Norway, SOSV and several other angel investors. 

Because Animals Probiotic Products & Community

Because animals has already created probiotic supplements as well as treats for both cats and dogs.  In fact, Shannon explains that developing cultivated meat products is very similar to the fermented foods.  They are investing a lot of time in educating their consumers on this process and using some of these existing methods in their cookies and probiotics that are not from cultivated meat.  I myself am just learning how important it is to give our pets these probiotic supplements as they clearly are NOT getting this in their diet.  Check out Because Animals Probiotics for cats and dogs if you are in the US, Canada or even Australia!https://becauseanimals.com/collections/supplements-treats

Shannon Falconer

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Watch the podcast with Shannon Falconer on YOUTUBE!

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