Hey Vegans - How About Some Lab-Generated Meat?

test tube meat.jpg
Meat grown in petri dishes may be on your table soon.
It might be safe to say that many of us would turn vegan in a heartbeat except for one small thing....a lot of animals just taste good. You know the joke - what does PETA stand for? People Eating Tasty Animals.

Well, what if you could enjoy a beautiful pork chop or a sizzling ribeye (grill marks and all), knowing that no animals were killed in the making of your dinner? How about if that meat was grown in a test tube, cultured and formed to look and taste exactly like meat?

If that sounds too sci-fi for you - sorry - because since 1981, laboratories have been experimenting with growing animal and human cells, usually under the name stem cell research.

In a recent NPR story, Michael Spector talks about his findings about growing meat. He says "There is something inherently creepy about growing meat, but there's also something creepy about the way we deal with the animals we eat. Billions of animals are treated like factory widgets. They're shot with hormones, live a horrible life and die horribly."

Spector also notes the environmental implications of factory farms. For years, we've been warned that the methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide emitted by animals and animal waste in factory farms is seriously polluting our environment.

There's also the issue of possibly helping to feed a growing population of humans that are starving to death around the world. 

The recipe for engineered meat? Put a few stem cells, say from a pig (for pork), put them in a nutrient broth of amino acids and sugars and after they start to grow, add some muscle cells and put the mass onto some plastic scaffolding. This grows and will turn into basically what we eat - a mass of animal muscle.

Muscle needs to be stimulated (or it turns to fat) so it's stimulated with electricity for now, though scientists are looking for better alternatives to "exercising" the muscle meat.

Before anyone gets all creeped out - scientists are now cloning human skin cells for burn victims, have cloned animals (remember Dolly the Sheep), and are working on cloning organs for transplants.

Right now, this meat is still in the experimentation phase, but there's a real possibility that we'll see lab-grown meat in the near future. If that happens, I know I'll be the first to eat a synthetic "kow-burger" (kow? like krab?) How about you?

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18 comments
Hey fat ass
Hey fat ass

No I would not eat lab meat. Meat is not broken down properly by the human digestive system, clogs arteries, makes us fat and is not beneficial to our well being. I don't care where it comes from, I don't believe in eating meat. 

Sean
Sean

"The cost of food is rising each year so by creating another viable source of meat, we can drastically reduce this cost. "

Meat and animal products are the most expensive things on your plate. Take away the huge govt subsidies and the prices would skyrocket.  Not only is vegan food much healthier but it's the least expensive. Fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes are much cheaper and can easily feed the world.

bullitt
bullitt

 Most of the people here dont seem to realize how beneficial this is. Even though most of you vegans/ vegetarians have the luxury of having a wide array of vegetables to sufficiently meet your nutritional needs without meat, most of the world does not.The cost of food is rising each year so by creating another viable source of meat, we can drastically reduce this cost.  Lab engineered meat seems like a perfect way to provide meat for people who would otherwise not be able to afford/ acquire it. 

ameliawesome
ameliawesome

"And at some point it had to have come from a living animal."exactly what i was going to say. i have a hard enough time eating things like seitan just because they're textured to feel like meat; there is no way i will eat actual meat that has been grown in a lab. it would be really wonderful if people would realize that they do not need to ingest animal flesh to survive. a lot of the time, it even makes people sick. so why is the general population so obsessed with eating meat?

Claire
Claire

What about health concerns? Even fake meat that does not involve cruelty is far from ideal for a human digestive system.Eat what is good, healthy and NATURAL! 

Sean
Sean

It may be acceptable for new vegans -- those who stop eating animals out of concern for animal suffering.  But for people like me , who have been vegan for so many years, it's still disgusting to think of eating animal "cells" or animal dead flesh, even if it was concocted in a test tube.  And at some point it had to have come from a living animal. Besides, there are so many delicious actual vegan choices now, there's no need.

Jon
Jon

Vegan food is actually more expensive than other foods, bro. You go ahead and try to feed an average Americn with vegies and fruit for one day. Here, let me give you an example. Bacon and eggs for breakfast: approx $4. A turkey and lettuce sandwhich for lunch: approx $3.75. A good old steak for supper. WITH vegetables: approx $6. a little less than $15 a day. IF you eat out for every meal. About $7 if you eat the same food at home. The amount of fruit and vegies it would take to satisfy the hunger of an average American would be significantly greater. Go to your local supercenter and price it out..

Sara
Sara

 er....dude....whos gonna pay for the shipping and farming costs that make produce so expencive? As someose who isnt very bad off but spent the last three years below the poverty line, my ex and i couldnt afford to buy produce for the week, but we could afford to get and deepfreeze meat. Meat is NOT the most expencive. It also sustains your body much longer, atleast i know it does for me. With the way the weather has been produce prices are only going to go up. This new 'manufactured meat' could if for nothing else be used to cover for crop shortages. It might even push research into ways of creating produce that didnt have to take into account the unpredictability of the earths weather and wildlife.

also....when g35 said it could reduce the cost, that isnt just for the en consumer. It is also for organizations who take food to poeple that have no way of getting food themselves.

RealFood
RealFood

Meat is a luxury actually. That's why in most countries, the richer population consumes more meat than the poorer population. Google "The China Study" for a reference.

We could easily feed the world if all the land used for growing animal feed was used to grow crops for humans.

Having said that, synthetic meat would be a huge benefit in a lot of ways as pointed out in this article (factory farm animal suffering, environment, etc.). The only problem is nutrition. Most people are nutritionally deprived in the US b/c they eat tons of meat and processed foods. This doesn't solve that problem whatsoever. Diet related disease is the biggest problem health-wise in this country. The goal should be to move away from meat and processed foods and towards whole, organic, plant based foods.

arum456
arum456

 "it would be really wonderful if people would realize that they do not need to ingest animal flesh to survive. a lot of the time, it even makes people sick. so why is the general population so obsessed with eating meat?"

First of all, you can get sick from all kinds of food. Spoilage isnt just specific to meats. secondly, people enjoy the taste of meat, its hard wired into us. People eat meat because it tastes great and contrary to what you think, its a healthy source of protein and fatty acids.   

g35
g35

What? If humans didnt have the appropriate digestive machinery for meats than we wouldnt be able to eat them at all. What do you know about whats appropriate for the human digestive system? please do your homework before posting this type of nonsense.

RealFood
RealFood

Sara, you needs to re-read Sean's comment. You completely ignored what he said; that is, the only reason meat is cheap in the grocery store is because you are paying to manufacturer it. That is what a government subsidy is. The government takes tax payer dollars and gives it to the meat industry so they can make meat. The meat industry then sells you a product you paid to manufacturer.

The reason produce has a bigger sticker price is because there aren't any government subsidies for them. But this is exactly what the meat and dairy industry wants. They want you to only be able to afford their product. What we need is a complete overhaul in the food industry. End government subsidies for meat and dairy, end factory farming, focus more heavily on local, organic produce farms, etc. Then you would see prices properly reflect the cost to manufacturer meat vs produce.

RealFood
RealFood

Meat even when unspoiled is bad for you. There are no diseases linked to eating too many veggies or fruits. Animal protein is bad for you, plain and simple. Plant based foods are much better sources of protein and fatty acids.

RealFood
RealFood

g35, you should probably do your research. Claire is right, meat is hardly ideal for our digestive system. A whole foods plant based organic diet is what is ideal and natural to humans. Veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, etc.

Jon
Jon

No, meat contains enzymes. Enzymes break down proteins. Proteins are what help human digestve systems function EASIER. You think all that Vegie junk that you are eating is any healthier than a good old American Burger? No. If you don't pick it yourself and eat it, it is bound to be filled with growth hormones, or anything for that matter. Whether the company says they don't use them or not.

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