Who won the New York Times’ “ethical meat” essay contest? »
You guys, check it out: The in-vitro-meat vegetarian won the essay contest in the New York Times! I voted for this essay, because of ethics and also aesthetics—it’s totally weird to think about eating meat that isn’t dead.
The last paragraph is particularly powerful; allow me to quote:
In vitro meat is real meat, grown from real cow, chicken, pig and fish cells, all grown in culture without the mess and misery, without pigs frozen to the sides of metal transport trucks in winter and without intensive water use, massive manure lagoons that leach into streams or antibiotics that are sprayed onto and ingested by live animals and which can no longer fight ever-stronger, drug-resistant bacteria. It comes without E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella or other health problems that are unavoidable when meat comes from animals who defecate. It comes without the need for excuses. It is ethical meat. Aside from accidental roadkill or the fish washed up dead on the shore, it is perhaps the only ethical meat.
So once the test tube meat comes, will you eat it? I am … undecided. It’s just so strange, I can’t wrap my head around it!
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!