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Shot Caller: A Podcast by Shannon Sagawe

Dec 17, 2021

What happens when you cross a cat rescuing microbiologist with another cat rescuing MBA student?  You get a passionate and purposeful team who has set out remove animals from factory farming and the pet food supply chain by creating cultivated mouse meat!  BOOM, we have Because Animals! That is what we call SHOT CALLERS!

Shannon Falconer and co-founder Josh Errett bonded at a Toronto cat rescue organization and realized they had the skills and passion to help take animals out of the pet food industry supply chain.  

Shannon, having completed her post-doctoral fellow in microbiology and immunology at Stanford, realized she had the scientific knowledge to create cultivated meat for the pet food industry.  It would be the first step in removing animals from our pet food supply chain.  

Because Animals has already launched their first non-cell based pet products; probiotics and treats for cats and dogs. In 2021, they also successfully raised over $3 million in venture capital from big name firms Draper Associates, Orkla, SOSVC and many more.

Their first limited edition cultivated "Mouse Meat Cat Cookie" is set to launch in 2022.  In early 2022 they will launch their A round of venture capital fundraising to expand their test facility for larger production capability.  From a health perspective, it makes a ton of sense to give cats a "native" diet, instead of the left-overs from an awful chemical process from animals they would NEVER normally eat in the wild. 

So many of you listening to this podcast will have a precious pet at home.  You will want the very best for your fur baby.  But how many of you know the origin of the pet food you are feeding Snoopy and Garfield?  

The answer is that most of us, including me, are oblivious.  Not only does Shannon Falconer explain to us what "fallen animals" are in the entire food supply chain, but also how awful the condition of meat is in these "rendering" facilities.

Shannon enlightens us some of the challenges behind "feeding" the cells they are growing. The common ingredient used is called "fetal bovine serum."  This was obviously NOT a solution for them.  These protein "media" are also very expensive.  This was one of the first hurdles they needed to overcome.  As a chemical biologist, she relied on her training to find a better, more ethical solution. They have made great progress, but it is a process that will continuously be refined and improved.  

As a business, Because Animals intends to be very price competitive with the premium and ultra-premium segment of the pet food industry.  She tells us, by the way, that these two segments are the only current "growth" markets in the pet food industry.  This is a comforting statistic as consumers, ie. pet parents, are becoming more discerning about what they feed their dogs and cats. 

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