Vox: The Biggest Problem With Eating Insects Isn’t The “Ew” Factor

Repeat after me.

You’re an evil racist.

You should eat the bugs.

You shouldn’t own your own home.


“When I was in college, a girl who lived in my dorm was an evangelist for an unlikely cause: the potential of insects as food. She was really, really passionate about bugs as an ethical, environmentally friendly source of protein, in the way that driven undergrads can be really, really passionate about quixotic causes.

At the time I laughed it off. They’re bugs! No one will want to eat bugs, right? The joke was on me: A few years later, she and her business partner went on Shark Tank and received a $100,000 investment from Mark Cuban, and now her company, Chirps Chips, sells cricket-based chips around the world.

My classmate was ahead of the curve. As humans gradually realize we need to cut back on traditional meat consumption for the sake of the planet, eating bugs — primarily crickets and mealworms — has become a buzzy, green alternative. …

In May, a European Union panel voted to approve the sale of an insect-based food for humans for the first time in the union’s history. …

But setting aside people’s personal tastes, I’m still wary of the push to eat bugs, largely because of one unanswered question: Do we really know all we need to know about the lives of insects — and whether they’re worthy of moral consideration? …”

The case for eating bugs is straightforward: They’re healthy, and doing so is good for the environment. A study published in May from researchers at Harvard and the University of Wisconsin-Madison summarizes both arguments well. …

Then there’s the environmental side. Factory farms are an environmental disaster. Beef farming specifically produces a huge share of the world’s methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than ordinary carbon dioxide, and drives deforestation in the Amazon as beef companies seek more open land for grazing. But factory farms of all kinds have environmental costs, not least from manure runoff that can poison streams, hurt local ecosystems, and endanger the health of local residents.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has promoted insect-based food in part because insects, which are cold-blooded, are more efficient than other animals at converting their food into meat. “On average, insects can convert 2 kg of feed into 1 kg of insect mass, whereas cattle require 8 kg of feed to produce 1 kg of body weight gain,” the FAO has noted.

Insects also require less water and land than traditional livestock, and produce 10 to 100 times fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food than pigs, per the FAO. Their climate impact looks even better next to cows, which emit more than pigs. …”

Vox has been a evangelist of this stuff.

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Author: Hunter Wallace

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