Good news: test tube meat burgers will be available this fall! For a zillion dollars!   »

Picture from Maastricht University of test tube meat!

This weekend, Prof Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands spoke at the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Vancouver and broke the super news that a test tube hamburger is on the immediate horizon! Last year, Post was able to grow small strips of muscle tissue from a pig’s stem cells. He told the AAAS yesterday that he has successfully replicated the process using a cow’s stem cells. In light of this, Post thinks he can create the first lab-meat hamburger ready for consumption this fall!: "In October we are going to provide a proof of concept showing out of stem cells we can make a product that looks, feels and hopefully tastes like meat," Post said.

Of course, the process is so arduous that each burger will cost 250,000 euros (about $329,950.00), but researchers think soon they will be able to produce the stuff on a larger, cheaper scale. 

I think most of us at Vegansaurus are pro-lab meat, if it means less suffering for animals. But according to the Telegraph:

Although it is possible to extract a limited number of stem cells from cows without killing them, Prof Post said the most efficient way of taking the process forward would still involve slaughter.

He said: “Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells form there.”

So, that rains on my parade a bit. But I mean, who thought they were going to be able to make hamburgers from stem cells?! Fairly soon, scientist could be like, “dudes, we totes don’t need any cows at all.” Who can say?!

You may remember that last year, PETA said they’d pay a million dollars to the first scientist “to produce and bring to market in vitro meat.” BUT! PETA’s offer is actually for chicken, so Post’s burger doesn’t cut it. Plus, you have to sell a lot of it commercially before you can win anyway and at $329,950.00 a burger, Post has a ways to go. But maybe he doesn’t need PETA’s money because apparently he has some mysterious, extremely rich donor. The donor wishes to remain anonymous to the public but Post says he’s a household name known for "turning everything into gold." When the first hamburger is ready, Post wants British celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to cook it and this mysterious guy gets to try it with whomever* he invites to join him. 

This mysterious benefactor is my favorite part of the whole story because you know he’s one of those gagillionaires that hunts humans on his own private island. But, alas, even cannibalism has lost its novelty and so onto the lab meat!

*I don’t know if that should be whoever or whomever but I tried my best!


Ask a Vegansaur, vol. 02  »

Hello again, my dear vegan, vegetarian, and veg-curious readers! It’s time for another round of answers to your amazing questions. I’m answering in the order received, more or less, so if you emailed me a question, be patient. I promise I’ll get to it, unless it was jerky/annoying. LET’S DO DIS.

Jon asks: Do you have any animosity toward us megans/meatitarians? Because you can have my salad if I can get your steak.
I think our Megan would have some sort of clever retort re: your dietary classifications, but that’s irrelevant. Personally, I don’t have any animosity. Do I wish you’d pick healthier options that are better for the planet (ahem—vegan)? Of course. But that doesn’t mean I want you to die. I will, however, take your salad because I’m running low on Metamucil this week. GO FIBER!

Damian asks: Why are things with unsourced white sugar considered vegan by many vegans? Answer without the phrase “doing the best they can.”
Damian, you’re, like, Ask a Vegansaur MVP. That’s an excellent question, although I’m not a fan of the restriction on my answer because that would be my (simple) answer. However, playing along: As the use of bone char to filter sugar becomes less and less common, the chances of that unsourced sugar being strictly vegan rises. It’s clear that someone who identifies as a vegan will make every effort not to consume obvious animal byproducts (meat, dairy, eggs), but how far down the line is anyone willing to police the less-obvious ones? When we make veganism seem ever more daunting by pointing out that, for example, anything with refined cane sugar cannot be trusted, we lose our new friends to the “ex-vegetarian” crowd that seems to be all over the internet. They stop making vegan choices that have more of an impact than unsourced sugar. Would it not be a better use of time to relax when a vegan eats an Oreo so that fewer animals are used overall for the bigger byproducts? The goal of veganism, to me and many others, is a mindset that chooses compassion as often as practically possible. I’m not saying that we should pretend things are vegan when they are not or that we shouldn’t try to eliminate as many animal byproducts from our diets as possible. But when veganism stops being practical, it stops seeming fun or even possible, and that’s a major reason people quit.

Tim asks: What about sci-fi, vat-grown meat that doesn’t have a brain?
What about it? If you’re asking whether I would eat it, I say, “Hell to the NO, boyfriend,” and then I would z-snap. The main reason I started eating vegetarian a decade ago was because I hated the taste and texture of meat, so unless lab-cultured meat is reminiscent of tofu, that ain’t happenin’. But if you’re asking whether I think it’s a good idea, I respond in the affirmative. I’m pro-food science (that’s the reason we have Daiya, y’all!), so if people want meat, I’d prefer that it come from a lab where an entire animal didn’t have to die to bring the masses their cold cuts. Ideally, the agriculture industry will allow test-tube meat to catch on, and factory farms will cease to exist. Hey, it could happen, McWorld.

Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!


East Bay vegan drinks, Keep’s sample sale, foie gras vs. puppies, ‘anus-grade pork,’ SF vegan bakesale and more in this week’s link-o-rama!  »

Tonight, Friday Dec. 4 at 7 in Palo Alto: A screening of Food, Inc. at World Centric, 2121 Staunton Ct.  Following the film is a speaker, Stanford student and eco-documentary filmmaker Matt Harnack, who will also show his own 20-minute film, Fossil Fuel Free Film. This event is free, though donations are requested to cover the cost of film and speakers. Seating capacity is about 70 people; arrive early to ensure that you will get a seat. Please feel free to bring food/drinks to share and a cushion as there are a few metal chairs.

Tomorrow, Saturday Dec. 5: the SF Vegan Bakesale, take three! Get over to Ike’s (3506 16th St. at Sanchez Street) between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. with a lot of cash, there’ll be tons and tons of baked goods, AND bunnies! BUNNIES.

Hey LA vegans: Keep is having a sample sale this weekend! From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday Dec. 4 and 5 at Keep headquarters, 418a Bamboo Lane in Los Angeles. Up to 60 percent off select styles, I AM SO JEALOUS, Keep makes amazing shoes.

A ramen truck in Hayes Valley? Opening this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., on the corner of Laguna and Hayes Streets? That appears to offer a vegan option (unconfirmed at press time)? Get out of my dreams and into my mouth. That joke is not funny, but I remain entirely serious.

Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Fort Mason Center, Building C: an Animal People Party, consisting of a white elephant sale and vegan potluck, to benefit Animal Switchboard! Not a lot of details here, except that it runs from 1 to 4 p.m. in room 260. Probably contacting Animal Switchboard would be the best way to get further information.

Miss Vegan Drinks? Of course you do! Thank goodness for the East Bay, who’ve been doing their thing on Tuesdays and want to see you at their next meeting! Mix and mingle on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kona Club, at 4401 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley Avenue in Oakland! Details here.

Win a pound of Allison’s Gourmet vegan fudge! Enter before midnight on Tuesday, Dec. 8, on VegWeb (run by Vegansaurus’ Laura!)

According to Salon, the Humane Society of the United States has to make a choice: either it works to shut down foie gras farms, or it protects puppies from abuse. Can’t do both!

So tell us, Mr. Henry, “why can’t people live in harmony with animals without resorting to the barbarism of slaughter?” Answer: it takes too long to cook vegetables. No, really.

Adorable video: mad bunny attacks keys!

OMG RAGE: Fast food makes you fat so everyone should eat like Alice Waters, DUH! Lord save us from these simplistic dichotomies. The world is not black and white!

In Indiana and Minnesota, 24 slaughterhouse workers were sickened with “a variety of neurological and physical illnesses” from inhaling a mist of pig brains. Very, seriously sickened. Bacon is so awesome!!

Animal Place has new bunnies, a chance to win a Daisy Wares gift basket, tips on photographing pigs, and an ode to Arturo the chicken. Half the proceeds from the Worldwide Vegan Bakesale, San Francisco chapter went to Animal Place; they’re the greatest!

Not the greatest, at all: Brookestone’s Frog-o-Sphere’s. PETA2 is all over it.

Colleges are expanding their veg options! Humboldt State is currently sampling pumpkin ravioli and taquitos; the University of Houston offers falafel, pizza, and tacos.

King of the Greens Al Gore FINALLY acknowledges the impact factory farming has on the environment.

MORE RAGE: this program proposed by the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture called “Meat the Need,” which would give people extra food stamps specifically for purchasing meat and dairy products. Why? Because people are buying less meat and dairy. So obviously THERE IS A HUGE PROBLEM!! And the most logical solution is to FORCE POOR PEOPLE TO BUY MORE ANIMAL PRODUCTS!!!

And speaking of angry fucking vegans, PETA and the Animal Defense League are now “domestic special interest terrorists,” according to the USDA. No, really. Really for really for real.

Hey have you checked out the discussion going on in Laura’s post about Mission Street Food’s dead-pig-ful Food Not Bombs benefit?

SF Food Wars gets a little feature in the New York Times! And friends-of-Vegansaurus Fat Bottom Bakery’s award-winning! vegan mac-n-cheese gets a mention in the very second sentence. World domination is coming, I can taste it.

So Charles Phan “is in talks with San Francisco city officials about turning empty lots into street-food hubs similar to the popular Singapore hawker centers,” is he? Um YES PLEASE, I will never leave. Because I will have eaten all the vegan food available and become TOO FAT TO MOVE.

So that lab-grown pig meat that tastes “soggy”? Jon Stewart reminds us that it’s still five years away from being “anus-grade pork.” Ugh times a million, and also, groooossssssss.

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