Nine-time Grammy-nominated musical artist Sia is the latest investor in Bond Pet Foods, a Colorado-based company working to improve the pet food industry by reducing its reliance on animal agriculture . A lifelong vegetarian, Sia has used her fame to advocate for animals in a number of ways, including co-narrating an animal rights documentary Domination alongside Joaquin Phoenix.
“We are honored to welcome Sia and her deep passion for animals to the Bond family,” said Rich Kelleman, co-founder and CEO of Bond Pet Foods, in a statement. “We believe his voice and creativity will help us further educate and excite the world about a new, better and more sustainable way to feed our pets.”
Founded in 2017, Bond Pet Foods uses precision fermentation to brew cultured proteins for pet food. Inspired by the proliferation of cultured meat companies for humans, in 2020 the biotech company used its process to develop a prototype chicken protein using a unique blood sample from Inga, a hen heritage who lives in Lindsborg, KS. The company combined Inga’s genetic code with food-grade yeast and allowed it to ferment, creating meat protein without any of the drawbacks of factory farming.
In addition to investing in the company, Sia is joining Bond Pet Foods as an advisor and will be involved in various initiatives to bring the company’s mission to a wider audience. “As a passionate animal and environmental advocate, I am inspired by the mission of Bond Pet Foods and believe their company is the future of sustainable protein in pet food,” Sia said in a statement. “If America’s dogs and cats were their own country, their consumption of meat products alone would rank fifth in the world. I can’t wait to lend my voice and support a brand reimagining a cruelty-free future for all animals.
In addition to Sia, Bond Pet Foods’ other investors include Saudi vegan prince Khaled Alwaleed bin Talal, managing director of asset management firm KBW Ventures, who participated in its $1.2 million seed funding round. dollars in 2019.
Getting animals out of pet food
Dogs (which are omnivores) and cats (which are obligate carnivores) consume a large amount of animal products, usually in the form of cheap pet food made from low quality meat, which which poses health risks due to bacterial contaminants, the presence of antibiotics, and potential for the spread of zoonotic diseases. According to a peer-reviewed study, dogs and cats in the United States consume as much food energy as about 62 million Americans, or one-fifth of the American population. However, their consumption is often excluded from calculations of overall environmental impact.
Bond Pet Foods is one of many startups looking to innovate the pet food industry by decoupling it from animal agriculture. California-based company Wild Earth is working on a similar solution. In 2019, the startup launched a dog treat made with cultured koji, a type of mushroom it grows in the lab using a proprietary process that contains more protein than steak. Wild Earth also develops cultured meat for use in pet food. Last year, the startup secured a $23 million investment led by an all-star team that included shark tank Mark Cuban, vegan actor Paul Wesley, and a handful of investment firms.
Another startup, Because, Animals, unveiled its first cell-based product: a mouse meat biscuit treat for cats at the SuperZoo show in Las Vegas last year. The startup has been working to perfect the cell-based product since 2016 and was able to eliminate fetal bovine serum (harvested from pregnant cows) as the growth medium for its mouse meat to create a suitable source of protein for cats. Pending regulatory approval for its cultured meat products, Because, Animals offers plant-based products such as nutritional yeast dog treats.
Currently, the only place in the world that has granted regulatory approval for the sale of cultured meat is Singapore. However, other countries, including the United States, are expected to follow soon, ushering in a new era where farmed animals no longer need to be exploited en masse to feed pets.
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