Our approach to insect welfare

January 5, 2022

We know that insect feed is great for the animals and for the environment (you can read more about it here), but what about the insects themselves?

At Better Origin, we take the welfare of our black soldier flies seriously throughout their whole lifecycle.

We ensure that our insects have good welfare by:

  1. Keeping them healthy.
  2. Meeting their species-specific needs.
  3. Ensuring a humane death.

Keeping insects healthy

We have the highest possible levels of hygiene in our black soldier fly (BSF) breeding facilities and X1 containers. This prevents any outbreaks of illness via viral, bacterial or fungal infections that could harm our insects at any stage of their lifecycle.

As well as our stringent hygiene standards, we keep our insects healthy by meeting all of their dietary, density, and environmental needs.

Meeting species-specific needs

We understand the things that BSF need to survive and to thrive, according to the way they have evolved. We are able to meet these needs in our breeding facilities and X1 containers. These include:

  • Appropriate lighting for a diurnal fly (active during daytime) but a photophobic larva (preferring to avoid light) 
  • Just the right temperature and humidity for a species that originally evolved in warm climates 
  • The right amount of space: adult flies need space to breed without competition, but larvae have evolved to live together in high densities
  • Plenty of appropriate food with a suitable water content for the larvae, and plenty of fluid for the adult flies (which no longer need to eat solids) 
  • Resources needed to exhibit natural behaviour: places for males to perform their mating behaviour known as ‘lekking’; suitable places for a female fly to lay her eggs that mimic the crevices she would choose in the wild; dry sheltered places for larvae to pupate. 

Ensuring a humane death.

When black soldier fly larvae are fed to hens, they meet a natural death that forms part of the natural cycle of life.

In the future, Better Origin will also process larvae to be used as food and feed. If we can’t give the larvae a natural death, then we must make sure we are giving them a death that is free from pain and suffering. This can be achieved by killing the larvae instantly – we are currently working at the forefront of scientific investigation into ensuring instantaneous death in BSFL.

We are ensuring that we meet all five ‘Animal Welfare Needs’.

These were developed with vertebrate animals in mind (animals with a backbone), but we think they are just as important for our insects:

  • The need for a suitable environment 
  • The need for a suitable diet 
  • The need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns 
  • The need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals as appropriate 
  • The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury, and disease. 

Get in touch for more information on Better Origin’s welfare standards.

Reach out to media@betterorigin.co.uk.