Lab Meat Elaborated
Last week I posted on Bruce Friedrich’s USA Today piece on lab meat. As it happens, I was working on my own article on the same topic when Bruce’s piece ran. It posted this morning on Pacific Standard’ site:
“Cultured meat”—edible animal flesh that’s grown through “tissue engineering techniques”—may not be the most appetizing prospect on the culinary horizon. But it has entered the heady lexicon of sustainability for good reason. As a recent Oxford University/University of Amsterdam study revealed, lab-grown meat could slake our inveterate craving for burgers while consuming 82-96 percent less water, producing 78-96 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and occupying 99 percent less land. “We are catering to beef eaters who want to eat beef in a sustainable way,” Mark Post, the Maastricht University physiologist who spent years developing lab meat with the financial support of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, told Bloomberg.
Equally relevant for many consumers is the fact that lab meat appears to be more humane than current methods of production. While it’s true that production now requires stem cells to be extracted from living cattle and marinated in the blood of cow fetuses, Post is hopeful that fetal bovine serum (as the extraction is called) might someday be replaced with blue algae, thus obviating this phase of exploitation. Whatever method is eventually used, if lab meat catches on there’s much evidence to suggest that we might substantially reduce the assembly line of cattle pouring into the abattoir from the feedlot. With the vast majority of consumers concerned with how animals are raised for food, lab meat has the potential to allow us to have our beef and eat it, too.
On the Bill front, it is no longer possible to post on GMC’s FB page, so no use barking up that tree. Also, a petition asking the college for clarification will be circulated soon, in addition to the email addresses of farm managers.