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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Ethical aspects of insect production for food and feed

Gjerris, M.; Gamborg, C.; Rocklinsberg, H.


Given a growing global human population and high pressures on resources, interest in insects as a source of protein for human food (entomophagy) and for animal feed is growing. So far, the main issues discussed have been the embedded technical challenges of scaling up the production. The use of insects as a major human food and feed source is thought to present two major challenges: (1) how to turn insects into safe, tasty socially acceptable feed and food; and (2) how to cheaply yet sustainably produce enough insects? Entomophagy, however, as any utilisation of animals and the rest of nature also entails ethical issues - both regarding the impact on human health, the environment and climate change and regarding production methods such as intensification and biotechnology. The aim of the paper is to give a systematic overview of ethical aspects embedded in the notion of utilising insects as protein providers in the Western food and feed production chains. We identify five areas where ethical questions are especially pertinent: environmental impact, human and animal health, human preferences and social acceptability, animal welfare and finally broader animal ethics issues. Especially the latter two are more scantly dealt with in the literature. This part of the review will therefore contain suggestions for ethical issues that should be examined closer.


entomophagy; integrity; invertebrates; mini-livestock; welfare

Published in

Journal of insects as food and feed
2016, Volume: 2, number: 2, pages: 101-110

    Associated SLU-program

    Centre of Excellence in Animal Welfare Science

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger

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