For days before the office roof fell in, we’d been wondering about the stink. The news editor reckoned it was the senior reporter’s Christmas sprout-fest; personally, I was afraid the editor had forgotten to close the door to the Pit of Hell behind him again.
Unfortunately, as we eventually discovered, it was our massive population of flatulent woodlice which was to blame. But as we swept up the sawdust which was all that remained of our precious thirteenth-century woodcarvings, we were at least able to console ourselves that things would have been so much worse had we been infested with cattle instead.
Yes, scientists at Wageningen University have discovered that insects are much less windy than cattle and pigs, producing far smaller quantities of greenhouse gases per kilogram.
For example, a pig produces between ten and a hundred times as much methane and nitrous oxide per kilo as a mealworm. Emissions of ammonia – which causes the acidification and eutrophication of groundwater – also appear to be significantly lower, with a pig producing between
eight and twelve times as much ammonia per kilo as a cricket, and up to fifty times as much as a locust.
The obvious conclusion, says the team, is to take a leaf out of Jonathan Swift’s book and eat the damn things.
“The study indicates that proteins originating from insects in principle form an environmentally-friendly alternative to proteins from meat originating from conventional livestock,” they say.
“Insects produce much smaller quantities of greenhouse gases than conventional livestock such as cattle and pigs. An additional advantage of insects over mammals is that they convert their food into meat quicker.”
At TechEye, we like to be able to validate scientific conclusions for ourselves before we publish them – we refer to this as ‘superior-review’ to distinguish it from the standard peer-review process carried out by your sweet little human scientists.
In this case, however, we were one step ahead, as our mishap with the roof meant we had to spend Christmas in the office. As we’d decided to save the reviews editor for New Year’s Eve – we figured all the whisky would have added flavour, and we were right – that left nothing for Christmas dinner but good old anobium punctatum.
It tastes like chicken.