Rodents are often seen as pests on farms because they tend to munch on crops and other vulnerable objects in the field and stocks. However, there are already some farmers in Australia raising rodents as livestock.
While rodent farming is not entirely new for some farmers in Australia, it is still perceived as unusual and the market is not established. A farmer shared that the invisibility of rodents in the livestock market changed when the pandemic struck last 2020. During the height of the lockdowns, the demand for reptiles as pets increased drastically. Many people devoted their time to taking care of reptiles, such as snakes and lizards, while they were stuck at home. The increase in the pet reptile population also meant an increase in the need for pet food, such as rodents. During the pandemic lockdowns, rodent farmers were busy keeping up with the demand for small and medium-sized rodents as food for pet reptiles.
A farmer shared that raising rodents is much easier than raising chickens, cows, or sheep. The small size of rodents is both space and resource-saving. Their meat, though still generally used for animal consumption, can also be reconsidered as potential sustainable meat for humans in the coming years. The farmer also shared that rodents taste just like chicken, and it is a must-try.
In a world with a continuously growing population but fast-depleting resources, rodent farming could potentially help in attaining food security not just for pets, but also for humans.
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