Saturday, February 5, 2011

Meat your maker

There are many reasons your conscience may be telling you not to eat meat, while your body tells you otherwise: it's a massive tax on the environment; it's just not right to eat another sentient being; the factory farms where most of our meat comes from are just downright inhumane; the karma's a bitch, etc.

But what if you could eat meat that didn't actually come from an animal? That presents a few issues in itself, it's true - such as, there's just something fundamentally wrong with that. But it's still a great idea.

Medical University of South Carolina Assistant Professor, Vladimir Mironov (pictured), certainly thinks it's worth a try. He's been working on 'in vitro' - or cultured - meat, for the past decade, and is itching to find the funds to get it out to the public. Unfortunately, like a festering, green, slimy drumstick that's been sitting in the fridge for the past three months, nobody wants to touch it: not the FDA, not the National Institutes of Health, not even NASA (well, not anymore - they did donate a few dollars to the cause, until they realized they won't be sending anyone to Mars in the foreseeable future).

Surely someone would buy it? Heck, they buy this:

1 comment:

Greg Bryson said...

PETA is supporting that research. I heard years ago PETA was offering money to anyone who could grow meat in a lab. I have to say that cultured meat is creepier to me than eating a critter. From what I've read the researchers are trying to grow muscle tissue from extracted cells. That's the least nutritious part of an animal. Some primitive cultures fed it to their dogs. They should grow some liver and leaf lard.

I'm in agreement that factory farming is a disaster, but I'm not convinced that synthetic meat solves any problems. That meat will still require some sort of nutrition, which will most likely be sourced through sketchy chemical processes applied to byproducts from conventional industrial crops and food industry waste. I've often wondered what would happen if everyone stopped eating meat, which is what PETA would prefer, of course. Someone will have to start an adopt-a-cow program. We can't just ignore them and stop feeding them. Will they all get spayed/neutered? I digress... Doesn't matter, as that's unlikely to happen. At any rate, we're still plowing down entire eco-systems to support grain production, and that will not change if factory farming of animals ceases. Population will continue to rise and exceed the capability of industrial crop production.

I blame both modern animal and plant agriculture for the mess we're in. I doubt human population would have exploded the way it did without them. We keeping thinking the solution is to grow more and more food, but that just results in more and more people, a viscious cycle. It seems to be a dead end street. I'm no farmer, but to me the most sustainable approach appears to be smaller, local farms... with about 6 billion less people. A gr8 idea: Soylent green, mmmm. Just kidding, of course.