Oh boy. The idea of meat being grown by a man wearing blue latex gloves in the Netherlands rather than some 50-year-old man in Nebraska named Jim who enjoys a good, daily animal bloodletting is kind of re-orchestrating my view of the world.
So here's a little background. Basically, our earthly population is growing at a very rapid pace, and our solution, as relatively dumb humans, is to mass produce. In order to bang out the amount of food we think we need (a number we usually grossly overestimate, surprise!), we harvest some of the most malnourished, environmentally unhealthy products we possibly can. Quantity over quality, as the old saying doesn't go. And our food resources can't keep up.
Industrial, conventional methods of producing livestock for consumption are probably some of the most damaging to the world around us. The amount of methane released by animals harvested through conventional methods makes up almost 20 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. In layman's terms, cows have some rank burps and farts -- so rank that they eat away at the atmosphere. Yum. In addition to the fact that we're, for the most part, going about this whole meat thing in the totally wrong way for our planet, we're also currently using 70 percent of our agricultural capacity. All these numbers are kind of depressing me. Moving on.
So meanwhile in the Netherlands, artificial meat is happening.
Some Dutchie with a butt load of money cares about us having food in 40 years (thanks, person!) and is funding the production of lab-grown meat. It works something like this: scientists extract stem cells from a cow's muscle and then use them to grow a replica of that cow muscle in a laboratory. The pieces of muscle grow between slabs of Velcro (......oh.) and are shocked with an electric current to increase protein production (.....ok.). The hope is that is comes out tasting, feeling, and for all intents and purposes, being, meat. The head honcho of all this, Dr. Mark Post, is working on having a burger for taste test completed by October. A $300,000 burger, mind you.
As a vegetarian who made the decision based on these same environmental principles, I'm inclined to say that maybe this is a good idea, and it's much better than that whole making meat out of poop idea that was floating around. But still, I'm wary of saying I'm on board, what with the price tag, the time element (this meat probably won't be ready for mass production for another 10 to 20 years), and the velcro/electrocution combo.
AND to top it all off, Dr. Post says this, "We could make Panda meat, I'm sure we could."
TOO FAR, DR. POST. TOO. FAR. (via The Guardian)
Would you eat artificial meat?