What's bugging me, you say? Insects on the dinner plate

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GUEST HOST: David Menzies


So, you might ask, what’s bugging me today? Well, the answer is in the question. Which is to say, bugs are bugging me today.

Oh sure, we have to share the planet with insects and arachnids — they so completely outnumber us. They are supreme nuisances, of course — and yeah, I’m looking at you mosquitos, wasps and bedbugs. Yet, coexistence is one thing; but do we have to put creepy-crawlies on the dinner plate?

Well, if you ask the likes of Klaus Schwab of the World Economic Forum, the answer is yes, we need to substitute steak and potatoes for crickets and mealworms. Oh, not that King Schwab will be chowing down on insects, mind you. Much like he tells us to surrender our cars as he buggers off in his chauffeur-driven limo. What a fun-burglar...

Now, you may have heard there is quite the Canadian angle to edible insects. Namely, a humungous cricket-breeding facility operated by the Aspire Food Group, recently opened in London, Ont. My initial calls and my emails went unreturned, so I hopped in the Menzoid Mobile and buggered down the 401 to try and get some answers.

In tonight's show, you'll see what transpired.

I should tell you that I found Mr. Ashour, Aspire's CEO, to be very likeable and I am indeed grateful that he invited us in for a sit-down interview.

And I’ll take Mr. Ashour at his word that the crickets are being utilized as pet food. But that’s in the here and now. Who’s to say that in the near future, crickets produced by this facility won’t be destined for human consumption.

In the final analysis, I’m a complete libertarian when it comes to a person’s food choices. You want to be carnivorous, there’s plenty of superb Keg Steakhouses to satiate your need for meat. You want to be vegetarian or hardcore vegan — hey your body, your choice, right? Except when it comes to getting vaccinated for COVID-19, of course. And if you want to go through life as an all-out “insectian”, well, lucky you: there are an estimated 10 quadrillion bugs on the planet. You will never go hungry. You want fries with that mealworm?

Yet, while so many politicians and mainstream media types are promoting the edible insect revolution, why-oh-why do they always look so miserable when they are caught on camera swallowing bugs? Check it out.

Yeah… so, not exactly finger lickin’ good, eh? And somewhere in the halls of Global News Ottawa, Rachel Crymore remains in the fetal position, weeping over the fact that yet another female journalist was attacked by an alt-right insect.

But getting back to the cricket factory.

My bugaboo, alas, is the sheer amount of taxpayer dollars propping up insect farms like Aspire. If there’s a business case to be made for edible insects, then why are taxpayer-funded subsidies needed? The same could be said for our “state broadcaster”, the CBC — if a majority of Canadians gave a rodent’s rectum about the CBC, then why does it need more than $1 billion in taxpayer welfare on an annual basis?

And the answer to that query is this: just check out the CBC’s abysmal ratings these days.

In the meantime, I remain completely unconvinced that insects are a viable protein source assuming one is given the choice between bugs or burgers or even broccoli. The mere sight of bugs is revolting to most members of Club Homo Sapiens.

Thus, sorry World Economic Forum, when it comes to my dinner plate, I will once again paraphrase the late great Charlton Heston: “I'll give you my hamburger — when you pry it from my cold, dead hands!”

GUEST: Laura Rosen Cohen (@LauraRosenCohen on Twitter)

FINALLY: Your letters!

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