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Taking On the $100 Billion Pet Food Industry with Because Animals' Shannon Falconer
Episode 3310th February 2022 • Before It Happened • Donna Loughlin
00:00:00 00:43:56

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Shannon Falconer is the Co-Founder and CEO of Because Animals, a startup that produces cultured meat products for pets. Their goal is to reduce the pet food industry's reliance on animal agriculture. In this episode, Sharon shares how her love for animals at a young age led to a disruptive career in the biochemistry field. She explains how the process to create cultured meat works and why the commercial pet food industry needs to start paying attention to this alternative. Join in and find out how Because Animals is challenging a hundred-billion dollar industry with the help of some mighty mice!

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life. 


(02:52) - Why Shannon Falconer wants to take animals out of the supply chain - “My decision to become vegetarian was really not so much about health. My best friends were animals.”

(09:48) - On the wrong side of the line: Shannon's experience doing a postdoc at Stanford - “The sad reality of being a biomedical researcher is that even if you don't do animal work yourself, the work that you do will often touch an animal.”

(13:38) - What exactly is cultured meat and how mice factor in - “Chicken and beef are the main ingredients in commercial pet food, but those are also the main allergens for cats and dogs.”

(19:28) - The counterculture of cultured meat - “NARA says it's a sustainable practice, but it's a sustainable practice in the sense that it is sustaining the most unsustainable practice on the earth, which is animal agriculture.”

(28:02) - The challenge of challenging a hundred-billion dollar industry - “Just before we needed to raise more money, we found out—actually just through the media—not even from them, that our investors had also invested in a competitor of ours.”

(33:06) -  Visionaries with a new ingredient  - “We are a food biotechnology company, but we are also a consumer facing brand. Classically in venture capital, those two are very distinct styles of company.”

(38:51) - Is the pet food industry becoming more open minded towards cultured meat products? - “Humans can be omnivores, vegetarians and vegans without a problem. It's a different story to feed your cat a plant-based diet.”


Follow Because Animals on Twitter and Instagram

Order your own Noochies and Probiotic Sprinkles at Because Animals' website

Read Fast Company’s There are now lab-grown mouse-meat cookies for cats

Read Forbe’s Our Environmental Disaster Begins With Our Words

Watch Ted Talk: How we could eat real meat without harming animals

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Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.