To reduce the environmental impact of livestock farming, scientists are developing a futuristic anti-dote — lab-grown burgers. It is widely known that the commercial meat industry is very wasteful, using mass amounts of water, land, and resources, while emitting huge quantities of foul gases. Perhaps most importantly, large-scale factory farming is often cruel and inhumane. With the population of the world rapidly increasing, we need to find a more sustainable way to feed the masses. Is lab-grown meat the answer?
This cultured meat is simply a muscle grown in a petri dish. No animals are killed or harmed in the process. Scientists take a small muscle biopsy (which doesn’t harm the animal), and multiply the cells in the lab until a full muscle forms. They even exercise and flex the muscle to promote health and texture. Theoretically, it will be more efficient, take up less land, and use less resources than modern meat farms. But, still in its early stages, the cultured meat doesn’t taste nearly as good as a fresh, grass-fed hamburger (according to the two tasters so far). The company responsible, New Harvest, is still continuing their research to make these burgers more desirable and ensure their equivalent nutritional value. Check out these videos from TED to hear Dr. Mark Post, the creator of this synthetic meat, talk about the world’s meat crisis and his work.
If you are sitting wide-eyed and shocked right now, don’t worry! One burger patty currently costs $330,000 and the means for commercial production won’t be available for another 10 to 20 years — once it has been thoroughly tested and tasted that is. But if they do succeed in replicating a perfect beef patty in the lab, the question remains — would YOU eat it?