The CEO of pet food start-up Because Animals, Shannon Falconer, doesn't eat meat and hasn't for years, but the former Stanford microbiologist and longtime animal rescue volunteer says she never denied her pets the meat they craved. After all, cats are carnivores and dogs are omnivores in the wild.
Falconer and Because Animals co-founder Joshua Errett (also an experienced animal rescuer) have been working to make pet foods that cater to cats' and dogs' "ancestral diet," but do not require slaughtering animals, or raising them in an industrial setting.
This week, the start-up is bringing its Harmless Hunt Cultured Mouse Cat Treats, their first clean meat product, to SuperZoo one of the biggest trade shows in the pet food industry.
The treats are made with mouse tissue grown from stem cells in a food-grade bioreactor on a vegan medium, Falconer explained. No mice were killed to make the treats, but scientists had to take cells from the ears of donor mice to get started. The process involved putting a mouse under a mild anesthetic while their ear was pierced.