We have to face the fact that our increasing reliance on factory-farmed meat is killing the planet.
Growing grain and then feeding it to animals so we can eat them is unbelievably inefficient. Between the carbon dioxide emitted as a result of growing grain and the methane burps emitted by cows as they digest their food, it's estimated that raising livestock generates about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
The demand for protein and the lack of new farmland to raise more livestock means insects could be an attractive alternative. Insects use less land, water and feed than other sources of livestock and they can reproduce quickly. The high protein level, low carbon footprint and production cost are frequent arguments used by those lobbying for them to be eaten as part of the Western diet. Burgers spring to mind to replace one meat product. Insect burger with hot sauce, lettuce and onion. Who'd notice the difference once the product was ground into a paste?
The seven billion people on the planet could rise to nine billion in 2050. And they all need protein to survive
What we choose to eat is a cultural thing. Some races eat dog and horse meat, others won't eat pig meat. And people in four out of five countries around the world eat insects. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that two billion of the world’s population eat insects as part of their normal diet, and have done for centuries.
Due to the pressing problems of global warming and animal welfare, eating insects makes sense, and offers a practical way of adding low-fat protein to your diet. The UN has advocated eating insects for these very legitimate reasons.
Studies have found that raising insects like mealworms and crickets for food is environmentally benign, because farmers don't need to clear much land to raise them, and people can consume insects' entire bodies, wasting little. I can't see how breeding insects on open land makes sense. Maybe the area would be covered with nets. The plan wouldn't work here in the cold of England's winter. Of course, overseas farmers trap roaming insects at night under lights. Free food, and free range food, is always better.
Picture the future. If a country could organize backing in time, a plague of locusts could signal their good fortune. Think exports on a massive scale.
But the question is: would you replace your chosen protein with insects?