I was reading an article the other day written by a student at a major US university. The article had been included in an exhibit of “scholarly” student writings. The content of the article was about raising Black Soldier Flies, which hatch larvae that are a good source of protein when used as feed for carnivorous livestock.
The author wrote that commercial fisheries, hatcheries, and farms could purportedly benefit from the fact that Black Soldier Fly larvae have a voracious appetite for animal waste, such as cow and other manures. And the larvae improve their protein level from eating manure by 1% if they are fed fish guts. Black Soldier Flies are touted as a solution to the huge problem of waste on commercial fish farms.
While eating farmed fish is certainly better than chowing down on Twinkies, Little Debbie Cakes, or Big Macs, it is actually not the best source of essential fatty acids. The truth about wild-caught fish is that they have traveled so far and wide that they have gathered a diversity of nutrients that are far better for us than farmed fish, raised on a diet of superfood fish pellets.
If all the folks who run the fish farms would go back to their own homesteads and produce good food for themselves and the community, we could all be healthier. We wouldn’t have to worry about compromising our immune systems and leaving ourselves vulnerable to disease. We wouldn’t have to worry about the huge problem of waste on commercial fish farms, on beef foodlots, and in chicken factories. On homesteads, everything gets repurposed and used, there is no waste. Manure is “black gold”, the best fertilizer you can use. Funny, when we go back to nature, it’s a non-issue.
This assignment is a good example of the “smoke and mirrors” environment that is pervasive in higher ed. Stepping back, we can see that the real problem is not getting rid of the animal waste, but rather doing away with the commercial fish farm. However, that’s critical thinking, and in academia identifying the real issue is to be avoided.
Realistically, the student was probably more concerned about a grade than about manure from fish or Black Soldier Fly larvae. (Those little worms are something only a mother could love.) And those bins they crawl around in are not something to look at right after lunch. But, let’s look on the bright side…the student probably got an ‘’A”.