Rescued from a puppy mill, A French dog named Lola is eagerly queuing up for her fourth sample of Wild Earth kibble. Lola is one of the several ‘taste-testers’ for a new pet food brand that aims to transform the $30 billion pet food industry in the US with the introduction of cultured protein products for companion animals. The conventional pet foods are mostly tested on caged cats and dogs in laboratories. But the French dog is testing the goods in the comfort of their own homes with its fellow testers, as part of a humane protocol approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials and animal welfare group PETA.
Wild Earth Co-founder & CEO, Ryan Bethencourt is on a mission to provide cruelty-free solutions to everyday living. During his 3 years’ period at IndieBio, the vegan biohacker has invested in several companies that use biotechnology to create legal and sustainable products.
“I think we can do a lot better than the current industrial animal agriculture system,” says Bethencourt. “It is damaging the environment and our pets’ health. It’s a horrible system that creates suffering in billions of animals every year. I’m unapologetic in saying that I want to end the use of animals in the food system but I think the only rational way to do that is to give everyone a better option.”
Hand-crafted by Wild Earth, the animal-free pet food is engineered with fungal strains at the molecular level and brewed with plant-derived sugars, which makes it a high protein rich food suitable for dogs. According to the company’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Ernie Ward, this new cultured dog food has got a nutritional profile that meets the requirements as meat-based dog foods. The product comes in a dry kibble format and will cost similar to other pet foods and will be available in three to four months’ time.