Losing any a part of the rabbits raised on Keri Grey’s household farm in Ontario, Canada went towards the rules of her Algonquin heritage. She began Shades of Grey Indigenous Pet Treats to make use of the entire animal and go away nothing to waste as her rabbit enterprise multiplied. That kind of ecological effectivity has turn into a part of sustainability efforts in current a long time. On the identical time, sustainability has risen in significance with consumers of canine, cat and different pet merchandise. Nonetheless, the worth of utilizing all of an animal has historical roots far deeper than pet meals advertising traits.
“Sustainability is extremely vital to us, and we imagine that different pet meals corporations can be taught from conventional Anishinaabe values relating to useful resource use,” Grey advised Petfood Business in an e-mail. “In Indigenous cultures, there’s a deep respect for the land and all dwelling issues, which interprets into sustainable practices that may profit the setting and communities. We attempt to include these values into our enterprise practices and hope to encourage others to do the identical.”
The rabbit-based canine and cat treats embody components of the rabbit people don’t eat, such because the ears or toes. Shades of Grey additionally buys again rabbit meat the corporate has bought to native retailers and eating places. If the meat doesn’t promote, the places freeze the rabbit meat for return to Shades of Grey. The corporate then makes use of this meat in pet treats. Shades of Grey additionally makes treats from wild sport, similar to beaver and elk. Different treats are constituted of bison, together with the livers.
Grey attracts on her Algonquin ancestry to encourage her firm’s philosophy. The Algonquins are a part of the Anishinaabe group of Indigenous peoples whose homelands stretch from Jap Canada and the Nice Lakes to the Rocky Mountains and Oklahoma. Algonquin folks hail from what is now japanese Canada.
“I’m proud to specific my Algonquin heritage within the operation of our enterprise. We supply our rabbit substances from my very own Indigenous farm enterprise (Shades of Grey Rabbitry), and work to incorporate conventional data and practices into all of our enterprise practices,” she mentioned. “Our firm brand additionally displays our Indigenous heritage, representing the 4 legged that we hunt and lure in our communities. ‘Shades of Grey’ refers to my final identify and the 4 shades of fur coloring within the rabbits we first began our farm with.”
Grey began with solely sufficient rabbits for her circle of relatives, however regularly expanded the enterprise over a couple of years. As the rabbit meat enterprise grew, the quantity of co-products grew too. Shades of Grey Indigenous Pet Treats launched through the pandemic and has continued to increase.
Indigenous folks within the pet meals business
Shades of Grey occupies a uncommon place within the pet meals business as each an Indigenous- and a woman-owned enterprise.
“I’m not conscious of some other Indigenous-woman-owned pet meals or deal with corporations, however I’d love to attach with any which will exist,” Grey mentioned. “It will be significant for Indigenous folks, particularly ladies, to assist one another within the business and create a community of solidarity and power.”
Grey works to assist member of her area people as effectively. Shades of Grey Indigenous Pet Treats brings jobs and different financial inputs to the Algonquin neighborhood with a selected deal with using ladies.
“As an Indigenous lady, I’m proud to be part of a rising motion of Indigenous ladies entrepreneurs who are breaking down obstacles and creating change,” she mentioned. “I imagine that by supporting one another and sharing our tales, we are able to create a extra inclusive and equitable pet meals business.”