Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

SELICK: If Canadians wanted to eat crickets, we wouldn’t be forced to subsidize the cricket farm

Posted by M. C. on July 14, 2022

As far as the environment is concerned, there are other, non-coercive ways of making agriculture more productive while improving the environment. Farmer Joel Salatin of the famous Polyface Farm has lectured and written about this for decades. His method of regenerative agriculture restores land fertility while producing five times as much per acre as the neighbouring farms in his county.

Karen Selick

I know a Canadian man who lives in Thailand. He teaches English as his primary occupation, but he and his wife also have a “hobby farm” raising crickets in large wooden bins in their home. When the insects are ready for harvesting, his wife—a Thai native—fries them up with popular Thai seasonings. The crickets are then sold as snacks on the local streets.

For Thais, eating insects isn’t novel. Take a look at some of the other mouth-watering delicacies they eat: bamboo worms, silkworms, grasshoppers and giant water bugs.

Thais aren’t the only people in the world who eat insects. “Consumers in Latin America are already familiar with eating insects as food or snacks,” according to this Mexican bureaucrat in charge of food safety.

Recently, however, it has been announced that Canada, of all places – where I’ve lived all my life and have never known anyone to eat crickets – will become home to the world’s largest cricket farm, newly built in London, Ontario by Aspire Food Group. The company’s CEO, Mohammed Ashour, predicts that North Americans will soon join two billion other people on the planet who, he claims, already eat insects.

Note, though, that the world’s insect-eaters are almost all in third-world countries. While they may be making the best of their impoverished situation by spicing up bugs to palatability, I’ll bet most of them wouldn’t turn down a good beef steak if it were offered to them. The Thai restaurants I’ve been to in North America offer beef, pork, shrimp and chicken on the menu, but I’ve never seen one offer worms, grasshoppers or crickets.

People eat bugs primarily when they can’t afford more appetizing forms of protein. I checked with a friend in the nearby but much wealthier country of Singapore. He loves to buy street food from the famous “hawker centers”, but he told me that, no, he has never seen anyone selling crickets. Singapore’s per capita GDP is seven times that of Thailand. Even Malaysians, who live right next door to Thailand but have a GDP per capita that’s 54% higher, don’t eat crickets, although there are apparently insect agriculture start-ups gearing up right now, just as in Canada. I wonder why.

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