Lab-Grown Meat – the Future of Farming?

4 thoughts on “Lab-Grown Meat – the Future of Farming?”

  1. Hmm I haven’t eaten meat for more than 3 years now (only fish occasionally but less and less) and I’m not sure I’d particularly want to try this, especially because I now find it so easy to live without meat. Would you try it?

    1. I dunno… Out of interest maybe? I feel the same way as you though, I barely miss any meat dishes and rather veer on the side of being grossed out by them. But if I got my dad to make his signature meatballs (one of those nostalgia things) with in-vitro meat I think I’d go for it if only to convince him to try it too 😉

  2. I find that these various “synthetic meats” and “synthetic foods” are oversold. They have been promoted, a lot like fusion energy, since I was a child (very long ago). They certainly have no relevance for “solving hunger” and alike which the researchers wanting more money mostly claim – the poor is certainly not the target group here. They always need a feed stock in the same way as animal rearing. This is the same regardless if they are vegetarian like Quourn, or meaty like those hamburgers. The efficiency in this conversion is doubtful. There are so many wonderful plants and animals to eat out there, so why grow them in labs.

    1. I understand where you are coming from, and certainly agree that ‘synthetic meats’ can’t and shouldn’t be the solution to world hunger. There are definitely better strategies to move poor countries toward more food security, including sustainable pastoralism. On the other hand, I do think there are interesting long-run research prospects in this field, especially considering the fact that it seems nearly impossible to fulfill the growing demand for meat in transition countries like China and India without seriously endangering animal welfare as well as forest ecosystems that are converted into agricultural land to grow feed stock. From what I can tell (and despite the fact that this sounds pretty futuristic), the researchers contend that their method could eventually produce meat with less water and “feed” input (since this particular type of lab-grown meat pretty much grows ‘fed’ by the serum it is submerged in). This sounds more efficient at least in principle, if resource efficiency is all one is after. Similarly, the simple fact that other ‘synthetic’ protein sources like Quorn also require feed stocks does not necessarily mean that their calorie conversion rate – of calories put in to calories produced – is the same as for meat products.
      Furthermore, as an ethical vegetarian I think there is a significant difference in these kinds of products purely because one does not have to take a sentient life and does not have to put a living being through an often significant period of suffering as often happens in our conventional livestock production system.
      I don’t want to advocate for the fact that ‘lab-grown’ meats or proteins are the be-and-end-all, I am pretty skeptical towards fake meats as well (especially things like “veggie hamburgers” or “veggie hotdogs” are often heavily processed and loaded with sodium and other additives), but I do think that there is a certain amount of potential in R&D here – even if a push towards more moderate meat consumption patterns and a simultaneous serious effort in animal welfare and sustainability might be the easier option. What do you think?

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