Vegan Startup Is Looking for the Next Top Dog Model 

Vegan pet food startup Wild Earth is currently looking for its next “top dog model.” The company launched a contest to find one winning dog that will be featured in Wild Earth’s upcoming commercial and documentary series, along with promotional photos for vegan dog food the brand will launch this fall. The contest is open to dogs one year or older of any breed (mutts are encouraged), and entrants must know basic commands and be potty trained. To enter, human companions must follow Wild Earth on Instagram, post at least one photo of the dog on social media with a reason why he or she would best represent Wild Earth, accompanied by #WEDogModelSearch and a @WildEarthPets tag. The winning dog, his/her companion, and a friend will be flown to Los Angeles for a free, three-day hotel stay for the launch of Wild Earth’s dog food, along with a free supply of the new food for the dog’s lifetime. “Even though we are calling it a dog ‘model’ contest, we are looking for a dog with a great story and are not just judging by looks,” Florian Radke, Chief Marketing Officer at Wild Earth, told VegNews. “We are looking for dogs that have personality and dog parents that really believe in Wild Earth’s mission of healthy and clean dog food for happier puppies and a better planet.” In addition to its upcoming dog food, the company developed dog treats made from cultured koji (a type of fungus it grows in a lab-setting using a proprietary process) and is working on cell-based mouse meat for cats. “The pet food industry is a key driver of environmental degradation caused by animal agriculture. We need new and alternative proteins to feed the billion plus pets globally, and also to minimize the environmental impact of feeding that growing population,” Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt told VegNews. “Given the shocking amount of animal farming required for pet food, alternative proteins for dogs (and cats) represent an important component of a more sustainable and humane food system.” Wild Earth’s dog model contest is open until June 28 and winners—including 10 finalists who will be awarded a Whistle 3 GPS and activity tracker—will be chosen by a panel of judges by July 1.