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Is Test Tube Meat in Our Near Futures?

Is Test Tube Meat in Our Near Futures?

Whether you are a carnivore or not, we all can agree that the bulk of our meat production industry is unsustainable, inhumane and unhealthy. Factory farms are bad for the environment, the animals, and even the consumer. But, they prevail because they bring the cost of meat unsuitably low, thereby allowing us to eat more of it. But, at our current rate of consumption, the supply will be unable to keep up with the demand. This leaves us 2 options: greatly reduce our dependence on meat… or create it synthetically.

Thatʼs right — test tube meat may be more realistic than you thought. Two scientists, Corvan der Weele and Johannes Tramper, have an idyllic vision of the future: locally cultured meat sold at the village market or butcher shop while healthy, happy farm animals roam open fields without fear of slaughter. They recently released a paper dictating the plausibility of such a scenario, covering everything from expected societal response to viable manufacturing techniques. But it’s not just this pair; scientists all over the world are working to create palatable, cost-effective meats from animal stem cells. The idea is to have machines manufacture our meat so we can leave the animals alone. In the Netherlands, scientists have actually created a hamburger from a petri-dish. But donʼt expected to see it on your market shelf anytime soon. With no fat, the meat is hardly palatable and needs to be further adjusted. Not into synthetic meat? How about plant-based meat without a 10 inch list of extraneous ingredients… that actually tastes good? The company Beyond Meat is working to create soy and amaranth chicken strips that actually fooled the palate of one Mark Bittman. While they aren’t yet for sale, these strips are promising for pre-made meals like burritos and pastas. Check out his reaction on his New York Times Op-Ed.

While plant-based substitutes bear great promise, they cannot replace all meat products, like strip steaks. However, many, including myself, believe that the answer is not test-tube meat, but rather more sustainable farming and consumption practices. Instead of farming animals in large factories, embrace small, local farms, where animals are highly cared for and treated humanely. It supports the local economy, animal welfare, and your health. Also, because animals raised under high standards are often pricier (for good reason), theoretically the meat youʼll consume will be less in quantity (unless you get a pay raise and decide to spend it all on fresh meat), but of a far superior and healthful quality. Until then, I have my own personal philosophy that could drive down our meat over-consumption. If you couldnʼt bear to hunt for and kill the animal for yourself, then you should not eat its meat. How’s that for a Paleo diet?

How do you feel about the concept of test tube meat? Is it a good idea or could it have potential consequences?

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Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

115 comments

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6:24PM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

John S, this might be the link that you were looking for:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/finally-fake-chicken-worth-eating.html?pagewanted=all&module=Search&mabReward=relbias%3Ar

judith s, we are not talking about petri grown blood vessels, etc., for organ transplantation, this is about food. Whatever it is, I prefer something that has been outside, not fabricated in some lab.

Why should meat be taxed, or any food for that matter?

Loredana V said: "Nobody needs meat, neither from slaughtered animals nor artificial. "scientists" should educate people to eat properly."

Some should educate some of the more militant vegans on the fact that everyone's bodies are different and the diet that you eat is not necessarily beneficial for some others. Eat what you wish, but don't assume that a vegan diet is the only food source for others. Many people, including Inuit who rely on meat to survive in their Arctic climate (and who won't be moving south to mollify vegans) happen to eat meat. Just because some people don't require meat, doesn't make that a truth for everyone.

6:06PM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

Test tube meat or even test tube veggies and fruit, no thanks, I prefer organically grown or raised foods, not something out of a test tube. I imagine that one day scientists could come up with one tiny supplement that we could swallow in lieu of food, thus putting all methods of farming out of business. Forget it, I will stick with organically grown foods, thank you. There are already enough GMO/artifically produced foods as there is.

"Whether you are a carnivore or not..."

Unless one is traditional Inuit, who have a diet that is comprised mainly meat, then none of us who are eating meat happen to be either obligate carnivores (aka big cats and domestic cats) or true carnivores. Those eating meat, for the most part, happen to be omnivore. Some of us eat very small amounts of pastured raised meat, but not everyone eating meat eats mainly or only meat, so we are not 'carnivores' if we happen to eat some meat.


6:06PM PDT on Aug 8, 2014

The author states:

"Until then, I have my own personal philosophy that could drive down our meat over-consumption. If you couldnʼt bear to hunt for and kill the animal for yourself, then you should not eat its meat. How’s that for a Paleo diet?"

I don't eat a Paleo diet, no grain, no dairy, no legumes (!) forget that, nor do I over consume meat as there is a proper serving portion when eating it and one need not eat meat daily either. A lot of people eating organic veggies don't grow their own either, so why should anyone eating meat go and either hunt or kill the animal for themselves? That is bordering on ridiculous, especially in urban areas. People have eaten meat for thousands of years and are not going to stop because some who don't eat meat want us to justify ourselves to them or to go hunt for our own meat.

There are various plant-based foods such as palm oil and various other mono-cultures that are not environmentally sustainable either. Everything organic as is possible and in moderation.

6:12AM PDT on Jun 22, 2014

not gonna be on my table!

6:06AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

God I hope not!!!

6:05AM PDT on Jun 14, 2014

God I hope not!!!

9:03PM PDT on Jun 10, 2014

Yikes. This sounds scary.

3:20AM PDT on Jun 8, 2014

Thanks for the link (We’re sorry, we seem to have lost this page, but we don’t want to lose you.). I don't know what I was expecting from something that started with "Whether you are a carnivore or not, we all can agree that the bulk of our meat production industry is unsustainable, inhumane and unhealthy." because it's evident that most people think you're a bit wacky. Then again, you think Mark Bittman is neutral in the debate, he probably argue that tofu is delicious.

4:44PM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

Thanks

8:26AM PDT on Jun 7, 2014

I think I'll stick to being a vegetarian! :)

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