I am a pig nutritionist, but I do dab into the nutrition of other species, and as I love food, I have a personal interest in human nutrition, too. What I have to say takes no great deal of education to understand: sometimes, we humans try so hard to go against nature only to end up facing a bigger problem than the one we hoped to solve. Comedy mode on, please!
I remember my brother-in-law bottle-feeding his newborn son a milk formula he bought inexpensively from a grocery store. There was nothing wrong with the ingredients, but there was not much milk in there; just lots of soy and wheat protein (apparently a formula for an older child). The poor baby was not complaining, as the milk apparently tasted good. The father was happy having discovered liquid gold at bargain price, and despite all my efforts to explain that soymilk was not exactly the same as normal milk, I think my unsolicited nutritional advice was not really appreciated. Nevertheless, you cannot cheat nature; as it happened, my brother-in-law was saving on milk formula, but he was spending a lot on diapers!
The next morning, we had to decide whether to find a larger house, catch pneumonia or find a kitten food without soybeans.
The next funny story is with cats. Before that, let me explain: We can cheat a dog and feed it lots of cereals and soybeans, and it will be somewhat alright, especially if you fancy hobbling around with an enormous poopy bag; things really get out of hand when we start pushing wheat bran in the formula (that’s good only for “free-range” dogs who produce free-range “eggs” — do not try it with your Labrador at home!). But, let’s get back to cats. Cats are strictly carnivores — something boring about their protein metabolism. Once, we "rescued" a kitten from a pig farm. Before we got back home, I pulled over at the closest grocery store and bought a strong shampoo (oh, she was stinky!) and the first fancy kitten food I found (it came in a milk carton, so I thought it was OK). She was all bones and skin and ate hungrily. She did not exactly appreciate the long bath afterwards, so she paid us back by declaring World War III using yet-to-be-discovered extremely, yet all organic, poisonous gasses. And it was the middle of winter in Kansas. The next morning, we had to decide whether to find a larger house, catch pneumonia or find a kitten food without soybeans. We did the latter, and “Little-Phartie" accepted our peace terms.
The last comment, and this is the whole reason for writing this blog, comes from a news story I read yesterday on WATTAgNet. It appears that in 10 years fishmeal will not have much protein left in it as it will be based not on whole fish but on fish waste. Someone needs to tell the carnivorous farm-raised fish that they need to adapt quickly into digesting vegetable proteins, because I don’t think they have a WiFi connection down there to read this. Such fish simply do not care much about terrestrial ingredients; after all, they are not exactly equipped to get out there and graze! I know some yeast suppliers have an interesting set of data to present, but really, fish need at least some fish protein in their feed. We cannot fool them like we do with human babies and kittens. Fish, which we believe are notoriously less smart than us, will simply eat vegetable feeds just enough to make the aquaculture business unprofitable. Survival instinct?