A pet nutrition startup is aiming to launch a line of clean meat for cats made from cultured mouse cells.
US-based startup Because Animals is working on clean meat mouse meat cat treats, based on a cat’s natural prey, according to the company.
“This meat is packed with the same protein that a cat in the wild would consume, and does not contain the growth steroids or any trace of Salmonella and Listeria found in meat used to make commercial pet food,” states the website.
Unlike many companies working in the clean meat industry, the product is also entirely animal-free. Some brands use fetal bovine serum to create lab-grown protein.
The use of the serum, due to its extraction from a bovine fetus at the slaughterhouse, is considered controversial and unethical. Because Animals is one of a handful of clean meat companies attempting to dodge its use in favor of more ethical alternatives.
“At the moment, the standard in the clean meat industry is to grow tissue using serum from another animal – usually fetal bovine serum,” explained Because Animal’s CEO Dr.
Shannon Falconer, in a statement.
She continued, “Because Animals is changing that by creating ultra-nutritious foods that provide all the nutritional benefits of traditional animal protein but with animal-free ingredients that protects pets, people, and our planet.”
Founded in 2016 by Falconer and Joshua Errett, Because Animals is on a mission to transform the pet food industry.
It already has two products on the market, a superfood supplement for cats, and another for dogs. Each is made with sustainable, plant-based foods, including seaweed, pumpkins, and blueberries, and packaged in compostable packaging.
“Because Animals is a small company with a big mission,” its website notes. “To create a world of healthy, happy pets without harming other animals or our environment.”
It adds, “[Because Animals’ products] are also naturally free of antibiotics and growth-promoting steroids – both of which are used in the mass production of factory farmed animals and both of which are bad for your pet.”
The startup isn’t alone in its mission to change the pet food industry for the better. Clean meat dog food brand Wild Earth recently secured a $550,000 investment on “Shark Tank,” and before this, it received a $650,000 investment from tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel, Mars Petcare, and the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. The company was also the first to launch cell-based mouse meat technology in the pet food category.
“We can solve some of the planet’s most pressing problems through applied biotechnology,” said Ben Jacobs, the head of Ventures at Mars Petcare, last year. “Cellular agriculture offers the opportunity to efficiently produce protein while reducing the environmental impact of feeding hundreds of millions of pets.”
Because Animals’ clean meat cat treats are currently in the prototype phase.