Thanks to an enterprising Chicago couple, cats in America will soon be enjoying real mouse meat in cookies – without a single mouse being hurt.
Co-founders Dr Shannon Falconer and Joshua Errett, have spent five years bringing the concept to fruition, using “humanely harvested cells,” nourished by safe additives to create pet foods that are safer, healthier, and more sustainable than conventional factory-farmed pet foods. In many parts of the world pet food is made from knackered livestock and fish waste. The company already produces plant-based treats for cats and dogs.
“The public launch of Harmless Hunt is a milestone for us, for the cultured and alt-protein industry, for pet food, and for animals raised and slaughtered to feed cats and dogs,” said Falconer. “We are finally able to provide pets with a healthier, safer, greener choice at a price that will be on par with other premium retail products.”
The founders say that using mouse cells avoids the most prevalent food allergens in pets – beef and poultry. There are no by-products found in slaughterhouses or rendered ingredients and the cultured meat is free from antibiotics and pathogens.
Because, Animals has worked on technology that could well be a process welcomed by companies developing cell-based, cultured meat for humans, that also reduces costs.
Dr Falconer says the company has eliminated fetal bovine serum (FBS) from the manufacturing process – a costly, scarce, animal-based ingredient obtained by the slaughter of pregnant cows, an “egregiously cruel” practice widely used by cell-based meat pioneers.
“Because, Animals’ proprietary, animal-free growth media blends vitamins, trace minerals, and growth factors to provide an environment for cell replication, at a far lower cost than FBS,” she explains.
Dr Falconer has a PhD in biochemistry and was a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University, while Joshua Errett worked in fintech after earning an MBA from Indiana University. They both left their careers to start Because, Animals after meeting at a cat rescue charity.
The venture has drawn investment from Orkla, Draper Associates, SOSV, Keen Growth Capital, and others.
Featured image: @Chalabala via Twenty20.