On Tuesday, Wild Earth, Inc. released Good Protein Dog Snacks — the first retail ‘biotech’ pet product ever.

The vegan treats are created from a renewably sourced and environmentally friendly fungus called koji (Aspergillus oryzae). Koji has been used by humans for centuries, including by some of the world’s most famed culinary chefs.

According to Wild Earth Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Ernie Ward, Good Protein Dog Snacks meet the same nutritional requirements as meat-based pet foods.

“Pet lovers want healthy, humane, and environmentally friendly choices, and Wild Earth formulas will deliver nutrition without affecting the planet,” said Ward.

Indeed, the environment would benefit immensely from eco-conscious decisions by pet guardians. Recent research has shown that the American pet food industry accounts for 25-30 percent of the environmental impact of meat, creating the equivalent of 64 million tons of carbon dioxide each year. This amounts roughly to one year’s worth of driving for 13.6 million cars, according to professor Gregory Okin of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Meat-based pet foods contribute to massive deforestation as well as greenhouse gases released by farm animals. Not to mention the torture and slaughter of billions of animals bred in factory conditions.

According to Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt, the development of alternative proteins is necessary for minimizing the environmental impact of feeding a growing global pet population. Laboratory-created and plant-based proteins are essential for a sustainable future. They’re also often safer for pets, avoiding the risks associated with traces of growth hormones, antibiotics, and other contaminants common in meat.

Koji has proven an ideal ingredient for Earth-friendly pet foods, with a high nutritional value and umami-like flavor that dogs love.

Wild Earth also plans to use cultured meat derived humanely from animal cells in some of its future products.

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