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Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects 760

rhettb writes "Scientists in the Netherlands have discovered that insects produce significantly less greenhouse gas per kilogram of meat than cattle or pigs. Their study, published in the online journal PLoS, suggests that a move towards insect farming could result in a more sustainable — and affordable — form of meat production."


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Scientists Advocate Replacing Cattle With Insects

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  • Re:Or Ostrich (Score:5, Informative)

    by jadrian ( 1150317 ) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:08AM (#34821116)

    Some say the same about kangaroos [].

  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Monday January 10, 2011 @06:26AM (#34821240) Homepage

    Eating insects is quite widespread [], apart from few areas of cultural oddity (highly visible though; and we do eat other invertebrates), not to mention at least an order of magnitude more efficient from vertebrate farm animals when it comes to transformation of resources into meat.

    In the form of industrially-produced meat paste (for a start) it would be probably hard or impossible to taste a difference; maybe military could introduce it to its diets - I imagine grunts can't whine quite as much as a typical consumer, and it would be one good part of the puzzle towards solving this [], might get acceptance from there.

    As a matter of fact - you all eat insects every day; standards for grain, flour, vegetables, etc. generally speak of "maximum number of insect body parts per unit"

    (and feeding the world in a sustainable way - not exactly an Idle-grade material)

  • by nido ( 102070 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {65odin}> on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:08AM (#34821470) Homepage

    Cows are very efficient at converting grass inputs into human-usable protein, in the form of milk.

    Cattle eat grass and weeds (high-quality protein!), and can operate on rocky slopes where John Deere can't farm.

    While all cows start their life in a pastures, agribusiness finishes cattle on feedlots [] because it's much quicker to fatten animals up on grain than grass. ConAgra doesn't care that grain-finished beef has 1/2 as much beta-carotene, 1/5 as much Vitamin A, and 1/5 as much Vitamin E as cows that have eaten grass from start to finish.

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday January 10, 2011 @07:31AM (#34821600)

    While it's true that poikilotherms have a far more efficient conversion ratio when it comes to food because they're not burning off all that energy just to maintain body temperature like hot blooded animals do, I am surprised that the first answer from these scientists is culturally unacceptable (well in most western cultures anyway) insects. I mean, what happened to fish? I'm sure that the difference in energy consumption between insects and fish is not all that great when compared to say a cow, sheep or pig. Basically what you feed is what you get in weight gain, it only takes around 1.2kg of food (in some species) to produce 1kg of muscle in fish. That's very efficient. Plus pretty much every culture in the world already eats fish.

    My only thought is that said scientists were worried about the huge water consumption of aquaculture. However they have completely failed to consider the up and coming field of aquaponics [] which is extremely water efficient (the only loss is evaporation). With aquaponics you also get delicious veggies with your protein - you have to; it's part of the system that cleans your water to keep your fish healthy. Hey but what do I know, I've only met the guy that invented it.

  • Re:More allergenic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday January 10, 2011 @08:27AM (#34821864) Homepage

    you already eat bugs.

    Eat anything preprocessed? insects are in them, ground up with the rest of it.
    Do you sleep with a net over your head? no? you eat bugs at night.

  • Re:More allergenic? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Peeteriz ( 821290 ) on Monday January 10, 2011 @08:56AM (#34822040)

    You really can taste if the animal has been fed from pastures or from industrial feedstock; and you can taste if the muscles have been used by the animal moving around. Good life? Well, there's some correlation with these issues and 'good life', but happiness is not so relevant.

"I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime." - Johnny Legend