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Animals Now Trending Opinion

Eating These Meats May Sound Weird, But It Could Help Save The Planet

As we know it right now, data suggests that factory farming will become unsustainable within the next few decades. Of course, we’re all gonna still want to eat some meat, so that means we may have to begin turning to alternative sources to do so. There’s plenty of vegan substitutes out there, sure, but for the staunch carnivores, all of these sustainable meat sources are a good place to start.

Each of the below has a low environmental footprint or is an invasive species of some kind that eating would help prevent overpopulating and potentially damaging local ecosystems. If you’re looking to be a meat-eater that helps save the planet, maybe try cooking some of these the next time you’re craving protein.

Mussels

Mussels are pretty trendy in restaurants and gastropubs as of late, but they’re also a great sustainable meat option as well. The carbon footprint of mussels is 20 times less than that of chickens and 50 times less than that of beef. They also don’t take much energy to raise, and can even trap carbon within their shells as well. The upswing of mussel consumption could have a stronger environmental impact that one may initially realize.

Wild Boar

Wild boar is already becoming more common here in the United States, as you can find cuts of it at high-end restaurants. It’s known for being an invasive a troublesome species, but also makes for a great stew or barbecue. Hunting wild boar is probably the greatest challenge in obtaining this meat, but the risk is well worth the tasty reward.

Squirrel

Squirrel is getting a lot more attention in the UK as a sustainable meat as of late. This is mainly due to a chef near the famous Borough Market that started serving up a grey squirrel lasagna that folks have been talking about. In the UK, grey squirrels are invasive and reproduce rapidly, making converting them into meat a sustainable way to fight back. As for the US, squirrel consumption happens here as well, and there’s even an annual squirrel festival, complete with a cookoff.

Lionfish

The venomous lionfish has been spreading rapidly across the Florida Gulf area, and the invasive species has become a problem for local fishermen. As such, many are beginning to harvest the fish for consumption, as there is a way to remove the toxic spines before you cook them up. Whole fried lionfish, lionfish tacos, and even pan-fried lionfish are popping up in Florida restaurants as a result.

Insects

Eating insects as a sustainable protein source has been a trending topic of discussion for years now, and companies have already popped up in the US that produce crickets, mealworms, and more for protein purposes. Chocolate-covered bugs are still one of the most approachable ways to try it, but utilizing cricket flour to make cookies is also a common approach.

Asian Carp

Asian carp are an absolute nuisance in the U.S.  A female can lay 1 million eggs at a time, and each member of the invasive species can grow up to 50 pounds, stealing plankton resources from the local populations while doing so. The federal government has actually tried to electrocute and poison these fish to no avail, but they do make for good cooking. It is a bit tough to clean, but is especially delectable when blackened Cajun-style.

Bullfrog

While bullfrogs are native to the United States, they are starting to become more invasive here and are already so in other parts of the world. They’re pretty sizable frogs, meaning they’ll have a good amount of sustainable meat that’s easy to catch, clean, and cook. Fried frog legs will probably be the first dish that comes to mind, but sauteed or grilled frog legs are also tasty options.

Nutria

These semiaquatic rats run rampant all over America, devouring vegetation wherever they go. They were first introduced for their fur in the 19th century, but that has since fallen out of fashion, allowing the rodents to multiply and destroy with ease. Catching and eating them is an optimal solution since nutria meat is actually pretty healthy, and there’s plenty of them to go around.

Lab-Grown Meat

Lab-grown meat has also made waves recently as an alternative that doesn’t require any killing and has a low environmental footprint. It’s not commercially feasible (or approved) in the US yet, but Hampton Creek successor JUST has already begun cranking out lab-grown chicken nuggets in other parts of the world. This is one of the more high-tech solutions for sustainable meat out there, but it would allow us to consume more of the standard meats in a world where factory farming isn’t an option anymore.

Featured Image: Quarax // Wikimedia Commons, CC 4.0
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Animals News Now Trending

Colorado Is Paying People To Catch This Illegal Predatory Fish

Colorado has a massive problem with a predatory fish species, and is looking to pay fishermen to come in and help alleviate the issue.

Several years ago, a large quantity of Northern Pike fish were illegally dumped into Colorado’s Green Mountain Reservoir. As a voracious predator, the pike were able to grow swiftly by consuming many of the native fish in this crucial body of water that connects to major rivers like the Blue and Colorado River. As their population continues to swell, a growing concern amongst the Colorado Water Conservation Board and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is that Northern pike could enter these rivers and continue to spread like wildfire, eventually eliminating the native fish like pikeminnow and bony tail, all of which have already become endangered.

To prevent this massive blow to Colorado’s ecosystem, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is calling on all anglers to come out to the Green Mountain Reservoir and catch as many of these Northern Pike fish as they possibly can. For each pike they reel in, fishermen will receive 20 bucks as a way to say thanks for preserving Colorado’s ecosystem.

To receive credit for each fish, all you have to do is show up with your fish, driver’s license, and fishing license at the Heeney Marina in Silverthorne. Parks and Wildlife will keep the head of each fish, but the bodies can either be returned to the catchers to use for a tasty meal or donated to the Marina for future distribution.

If you’re looking to make some extra cash and have a fun fishing road trip, maybe consider adding in some public service and going after some Northern Pike. The state of Colorado and the Green Mountain Reservoir community would certainly be happy you did.

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Tastemade/Snapchat

These Are 8 Of The Tastiest Invasive Species To Eat

It sounds crazy, but you have to do your part to save the world… by eating. Twist your arm, right? In all seriousness, you actually can help the environment by eating particular animals.

Invasive species are any kind of living organism (plant or animal) that rapidly multiply and threaten the ecosystem they live in. There are a few ways to stop them, best of which is eating them! Here are eight of the most delicious invasive species that you can eat while simultaneously saving the environment.

Prickly Pear

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Common in drier areas of the world, the prickly pear is one of the most invasive species of cactus. And one of the most delicious. A classic Southwestern U.S. and Mexican prickly pear dish is frying strips of the cactus with eggs and jalapenos for a proper breakfast treat. If you catch the pear while it’s young, the dangerous pines won’t have hardened yet, so you can enjoy it skinned or unskinned.

Garlic Mustard

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A plant by any other name would hardly smell as… sweet. Once you harvest this wild flower, you can wash off the leaves and enjoy them raw in salads. If given time to age, they become more bitter and taste great in soups, marinades, and meat rubs. Our favorite way to enjoy this invasive plant? Turning it into a garlic mustard pesto. Who says saving the environment is hard?

Green Crab


Like you need another excuse to enjoy crab. Native to the Atlantic, green crabs are unignorable along the Atlantic’s east coast. Literally. Flip over a rock in Maine or Massachusetts, and there is guaranteed to be a million green crabs. Italian cooks generally place the crab in egg mixture and then fry the meat. If fried crab isn’t your thing, they also taste amazing in risotto and minestrone dishes.

Wild Fennel


This invasive plant can grow up to seven feet tall, and the seeds easily get dispersed by water and wind, which means they’re everywhere. Do your part and use this fennel whenever you can in your cooking. Wild fennel is already a pretty popular herb, but it still persists to grow like…well, wild. Just do yourself a favor and don’t confuse it with hemlock, fennel’s very poisonous evil twin.

Nutria


This one seems a little gross, but you have to trust us. The nutria – also known as coypu – is a large beaver-sized rodent with a long rat tail that thrives in tropical South America and in some southern parts of the U.S. Still with us? Cool. Nutria tend to destroy most of the plant-life around them. This makes them a hazard to the ecosystem, but a blessing to our stomachs. If you can get past the fact that you’re eating a 20-pound swamp rat, you will really enjoy snapping into some nutria Slim Jims. Yeah, we’re not jerking you around.

Snakeheads

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These fish are terrifying… ly delicious! The snakehead is a fish that originated in Asia that doesn’t look or play nice. Snakeheads eat everything in sight, and can even breathe air and walk on land. IT’S A NIGHTMARE. These snakeheads, however, taste fantastic in classic Asian stew. One restaurant in Maryland makes a great snakehead ceviche with citrus and cilantro, which sounds much better than imagining these fish walking out of the ocean and taking over the world.

Wild Boar


This one is pretty self-explanatory. Wild boar is served up pretty commonly at higher end restaurants and for good reason. Wild boars (and their distant cousins, feral pigs) tend to interbreed in the woods of North America and Europe and run amuck. But they’re also, quite literally, the pork that we all know and love. World-saving pork chops anyone?

Giant Cannibal Shrimp


They’re cannibal shrimp. Save the other shrimp of the world and eat the giant shrimp. Also known as Asian Tiger Shrimp, these guys can grow as big as thirteen inches long, which is about the size of a lobster. Lobster-sized shrimp cocktail? YES, PLEASE.