Study: we should all be eating insects, not animals

I am not a fan of bugs. I am also not a fan of global warming. The day may be approaching where I have to choose between the lesser of two weevils, thanks to the results of a recently published study, which "clearly shows that mealworm should be considered as a more sustainable alternative to milk, chicken, pork and beef." Um, ew?

The pro-mealworm argument goes like this: farming bugs takes about the same amount of energy as farming chickens, and significantly less energy than farming cows. But the real problem is land: grazing cattle is incredibly wasteful and destructive to the environment (producing a whopping 15% of all the greenhouse gasses that our civilization generates), and the damage is compounded by the fact that forest are being chopped down and/or burned to create more grazing land. To get an equivalent amount of protein from (say) mealworm, however, you need just 10% of the land area that you do for cattle. Demand for animal protein is expected to nearly double by 2050, so we can either chop down the rest of our trees, or suck it up and start bug munching.

ickickickmealwrom.jpg

Eating bugs seems gross to us, we'll be the first to admit that, but there's a lot of other stuff that humans (Americans, even) eat that is arguably just as gross. Like, have you ever looked at a shrimp or a crab or a lobster? I mean really looked into its horror movie crustacean face before you ripped it to pieces and feasted on its flesh? If not, let me help you out:

lobster-face.jpg

We eat these all the time, and it's basically a gigantic prehistoric armored bug with huge freakin' claws. Heck, we boil them alive and eat them whole, which would be like burning an entire cow at the steak and then hacking it to bits with a chainsaw. Anyway, the point is that even we notoriously picky Americans have some bizarre habits when it comes to food, and in the greater scheme of things, mealworm are fairly innocuous creatures that could be good for us and good for the planet by all accounts taste rather like nuts.

PLoS ONE, via SciAm

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