Manure Manager

Features Applications Beef Environment Environment Protection Global
Editorial: March-April 2011

Medium well-done grasshopper?



I love meat. Give me a medium well-done rib steak with a bit of barbecue sauce and a splash of salt, pair it with a baked potato, sour cream and French-cut green beans, and I am in heaven. I’m also fond of ribs, bacon, fried chicken, sausage, juicy hamburgers and the list goes on.

So, I was a bit dismayed when I read about the latest research coming out of the Netherlands. According to a report from Wageningen University and Research Centre, scientists, industry and government officials have “joined forces to investigate whether the rearing of insects could contribute to more sustainable protein production” compared to the raising of beef and pork. As a result, the obviously deranged group has discovered that insects produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases per kilogram of meat than cattle and hogs. Therefore “the study indicates that proteins originating from insects, in principle, form an environmentally friendly alternative to proteins from meat originating from conventional livestock.”

What will scientists think up next?

Do they actually think they can convince people to stop eating pork chops with applesauce, foot-long hotdogs and filet mignon in favor of cricket crunchies, spider sauce and cockroach canapés because of the resulting reduction in greenhouse gas emissions? Have they lost their minds? Or just their taste buds?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for helping the planet. We plant trees on our small acreage, recycle when we can, pick up litter, use phosphate-free shampoo when camping, compost our manure. But it will be a cold day in Fiji when I can be convinced to chew on a grasshopper leg rather than a T-bone. I mean, I’ve heard of cricket ranches for raising feed for lizards and snakes, but this is ridiculous.

I think the icing on the cake – or the cupcake, in this case – was the photo that accompanied the research report. It was a photograph of a lovely chocolate cupcake, perched in gold foil, and topped by a greenish glazed grasshopper. I actually gasped in disgust when I saw it. This was the food alternative they were promoting? Blahh!

Yes, greenhouse gas emissions are a serious issue. Yes, there is more we can do to help reduce them. But no way should that involve eating insects. You can keep your mealworm meatball – I’d rather become a vegetarian.