Petfood Industry - October 2017 - 40
40 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
➥INVASIVE SPECIES GROW AS NOVEL PET TREAT INGREDIENTS
reduce biodiversity and create costly
problems for people.
Asian carp as novel pet food
For example, Asian carp species
eat plankton needed by other fish,
procreate prolifically and endanger
boaters by leaping from the water.
After escaping and being released
into American waterways in the 1960s
and '70s, Asian carp have reduced the
profitability of many freshwater fisheries in the US Midwest and South.
Now these unholy mackerel threaten
the billion-dollar fishery of the Great
Back home in China, chefs prize
the fish, yet Asian carp meat is largely
unused in the US. Meanwhile, this
wasted resource lays waste to aquatic
ecosystems. Pet food industry professionals decided that if you can't beat
them, eat them.
BareItAll will soon
offer dog treats
made from feral
"I eat the treats myself," Cindy
Dunston-Quirk, founder of Scout and
Zoe's, told Petfood Industry. "The fish
has omega-3 fatty acids, complete
protein and it's low fat. Another thing,
Asian carp doesn't have lots of mercury
or other toxins like some fish ... All
that has been backed up by research."
The most common Asian carp
species, silver and bighead, eat by
filtering tiny plants and animals from
the water, as whales do. Because they
eat low on the food chain, toxins don't
build up in their meat, or bioaccumulate,
as much as in predatory fish. Along with
food safety and nutrition, Asian carp
can address other health issues.
"For cats with allergies, Asian carp
can give them another option," said
Economics and Asian carp
Animal health and native ecosystems benefit from the use of Asian carp
in pet treats; at the same time it helps
struggling American fishermen make
a living. Federal regulations prevent
fishermen from throwing the invasive
carp back into rivers, although nets
bring in tons of the fish inadvertently.
Those mountains of fish are worth
little cash at processors, if the facility
will buy them at all.
"When 90 percent of what you
catch you can't sell and you can't throw
back, the numbers don't
work out so well," said
their Asian carp dog
treats in 2016 and added
varieties of cat treats
this year. Entering the
cat treat market opened
fresh opportunities for
BareItAll, Honeycutt said. Pet treat
retailers especially liked that it was an
alternative fish protein.
"Retailers that were hesitant on the
dog treats, with the cat treats they were
like [snaps fingers]," he said. "When
they heard that we had a healthy fish
protein that's not salmon, they were on
board with it instantly. We definitely
think we're on to something with the
cat side of things."
Feral hogs for the dogs
BareItAll also changed their packaging to match their ecological ethos.
The Asian carp pet treats now come
in packaging that doesn't contribute
to the vast plastic garbage patches
floating in the oceans.
"We use rice paper specifically to
get away from plastics as much as
possible, because our whole brand is
about protecting aquatic ecosystems,"
Inside those rice paper packages,
pet owners will soon find dog treats
made from feral hogs. Although
finding a supplier was difficult,
Honeycutt expects BareItAll's feral
hog dog treats to be on the market in
a few months. In the future, Burmese
pythons and lionfish may become
BareItAll treats too.
As novel pet food ingredients,
feral hogs have an advantage over
giant snakes and venomous fish, he
said. Namely, pork isn't novel. Federal
regulations already approve of pig
meat, so there is no need for additional
Ever since Spanish conquistadors lost
track of some domesticated pigs, feral
hogs have roamed the Western Hemisphere, according to the US Department
of Agriculture. The runaway pigs reproduced and eventually their descendants
were joined by escapees from colonists'
farms. Feral hogs now range over most
of the US. These pigs damage the
ecosystems they invade by trampling
and rooting up the soil, which destroys
the soil structure, damages roots and
allows erosion. Feral hogs also eat native
plants and animals, including groundnesting birds. The wild pigs also devour
farmers' crops and can transmit diseases
to livestock, among other problems.