Sustainability within the pet meals trade

Sustainability considerations in regards to the world’s meals provide is nothing new for each the human and pet meals industries. At Superzoo 2017, this was confirmed by claims showing on new packaging. For instance, many pet meals have already begun specializing in marine sustainability and searching for third-party approval by assembly necessities established by sure businesses to make the most of their logos on their packaging. 

Environmental impacts of meals consumption by canine and cats

A current examine out of the College of California Los Angeles (USA) has questioned the sustainability and environmental influence of the pet meals trade together with canine and cats (Okin, 2017). Specifically, the analysis focuses on the influence of animal protein consumption by canine and cats. Though the Okin examine does convey extra consciousness of sustainability, it has many elementary flaws. 

Okin’s calculations had been made on the next assumptions:

  1. Every of the primary 5 components contributes equally by proportion to the pet meals.
  2. Collectively, the primary 5 components make up almost all the mass of the pet meals available on the market.
  3. The animal protein sources are all appropriate for human consumption. 

Incorrect assumptions = overestimation

Okin does acknowledge that the above assumptions are flawed and conservative; nevertheless, he proceeds anyway together with his estimations of the environmental influence of canine and cats.

In the end, Okin concludes that canine and cats represent roughly 25–30 p.c of the environmental impacts from animal manufacturing by way of using land, water, fossil gasoline, phosphates and biocides. I feel it’s attention-grabbing that he backs off that 25-30 proportion within the dialogue by beginning to separate out the share of animal protein that might in actuality be out there for human consumption. When beginning to take these components into consideration, the numbers start to scale back dramatically. Nevertheless, these precise numbers will not be captured within the summary, analysis article or any of the information protection (I ponder why?).

What’s the influence if the components go to the landfill?

With that being stated, I do consider Okin has a sound argument for pet meals that use human-grade components. Nevertheless, for meals that don’t make the most of human-grade components, Okin shrugs off the environmental influence of tossing these components into landfills – doubtless due to his lack of information of the pet meals trade, which is clearly demonstrated within the assumptions he made for his calculations. I strongly consider Okin ought to have thought of working with folks within the trade or academia to find out or appropriate the issues of his assumptions for actual and extra correct calculations.

Pet meals is sustainable right this moment

For these of us within the pet meals trade, we acknowledge that the animal protein sources we make the most of are sometimes co-products of the human meals trade that aren’t used for human consumption (e.g., kidneys, livers and meat from clear elements of the animal). Through the use of these components, the pet meals trade has been practising sustainability with out impacting the human meals provide for many years.

This follow of sustainability in pet meals doesn’t finish with animal proteins. As an trade, we have now been utilizing co-products from different industries for many years, even these from plant-derived protein sources (e.g., soybean meal). Nonetheless, we are able to all the time take a look at new methods to repeatedly evolve, enhance sustainability and cut back our environmental influence.

What good got here from the examine?

Though the examine has many deadly flaws, it does enable our trade to have a look at ourselves and our firms and mirror on our influence on the environment. There are all the time methods to enhance, whether or not it’s in ingredient sourcing, manufacturing, company workplace practices or particular person practices.

I will surely be remiss if I didn’t point out a fantastic evaluate written by Kelly Swanson, PhD, of the College of Illinois, about sustainability of pet meals. This evaluate covers many facets of sustainability and could be start line for sustainability inside your organizations. It has open entry on-line and is listed under beneath references.

Subsequent matter: grain-free versus grains

Subsequent time we are going to talk about this matter: “Grain-free isn’t higher than grains.” If there are subjects you want to have mentioned, be happy to remark under or attain out by way of LinkedIn:



Okin GS. 2017. Environmental impacts of meals consumption by canine and cats. PLoS ONE 12(eight): e0181301. pone.0181301

Swanson KS. 2013. Dietary Sustainability of Pet Meals. Adv. Nutr. four: 141–150.

Graphic at prime of web page: Pet Meals Institute

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