Top Ten Reasons to Support Cultured MeatThe idea of growing meat in laboratory conditions has been around since 1931, but only in recent times have we actually gotten somewhere with it. Scientists have successfully grown animal muscles from animal stem cells, and food researchers have claimed that it is almost exactly like regular meat.
This is an important turning point; a revolution in meat production. If we were to continue this practice on an industrial scale, we would solve a number of political, economic, ethical and social problems.
And no, it's not "vegetarian meat", i.e. trying to pass off a cucumber as a sausage. It's real meat, because it comes directly from a real, live animal. The only difference is that an animal doesn't have to die for us to obtain the juicy, pink matter that we crave.
With this list, hopefully you can think about what this means. And hopefully, we can make mass production of cultured meat a reality.
The main argument in favour of cultured meat. The meat is grown from individual animal cells, which are extracted without harming the animal at all, and the muscle tissue which we sell as meat is then grown from these cells in a bioreactor, with similar conditions to natural growth, by diffusion of oxygen and natural chemicals through an array of artificial capillaries. The result is a naturally grown turkey breast, pork chop or lamb shank.
I emphasise, it is done WITHOUT the animal coming to harm. Instead of taking 7.5 billion innocent lives per day, or 87 thousand every second, we could move on and let them all be, while still enjoying the taste of their flesh. And this bypasses the ethical pressure to stop meat production; principles such as ethical vegetarianism and government actions such as fishing quotas have only restricted animal slaughter, instead of eliminating it. This is the first time we've been presented with an ethical solution which is compatible with agricultural and consumer demand.
We'd live in a much more humane world, with a much larger supply of that delicious substance to power it, and it'd be one where we can finally use the responsibility that we have as an intelligent species to treat the world sustainably.
With the hypothetical efficiency of cultured meat production, there would be a supply of meat so large that it could outweigh consumer demand in a small first-world country, such as the UK. So this could serve as a much-needed surge in foreign aid.
But there's more than that. With the amount of natural land that is given back to nature, people in starving countries will have much easier access to healthy food and clean water.
The new meat production process will also help their poor economies; as with many of these countries, a large proportion of their GDP already comes from farming, however, investing in the capital required for this scheme will have a long-term effect that will dramatically increase the rate of production of goods, as well as creating a broader range of relevant jobs.
In summary, the new meat production system will make many human lives better in the underdeveloped world, by giving them more and better food, as well as helping them to obtain other ...more
The current method of meat production consumes a lot of land and sea. How much exactly? 90% of what was the Amazon Rainforest is now used for agriculture, and this is only part of the 40% of the land on Earth that this takes up, covering 23 million square miles. As for crops, the amount which is used to feed humans is merely 6% of what is produced; the rest is used to fatten up the farm animals. As the human population rises, this will only get bigger if nothing is done. Our current method is clearly not environmentally sustainable.
With cultured meat, we can reduce the necessary amount of land and sea to a hundredth of what it is today. With all that land that is freed, we could let the Amazon grow back, which would save millions of different endangered species, and the animals whose meat we harvest could be given back their natural homes, which will rekindle the crucial roles which they would have on the ecosystem, had they remained in the wild. When Mother Nature has the ...more
With the current agricultural process, we spend ludicrous amounts of money on things that we won't need in a future with cultured meat: fencing, most of our crops, fertilisers, artificial bedding, battery cages, etc.
Stock fencing, as an example, costs around one British Pound for every 2 metres. Think about the cost of the total perimeter of the agricultural land on Earth, which, as I mentioned, covers 23 million square miles.
There will be some initial costs, such as the manufacture of the bioreactors, but once these are in place, we will be able to produce meat much more cheaply, on a larger scale. The amount of spending that is saved will be enormous. One day, the breasts at your local KFC, or the fancy steak in the expensive restaurant down the road will be much more affordable.
Even before the animals are slaughtered, we do not give them happy lives. When chicks are born in chicken egg farms, the male chicks are put in a bag and crushed the moment they hatch, and the females spend their entire lives in battery cages, where they catch diseases and are left to rot.
All of this cruelty would instantly stop once we adopt a cultured meat system. All we need from the animals is their DNA, and so we could simply let them be afterwards. We could let them into their natural habitat, which is what they deserve.
The bioreactors used to make this meat will be able to grow the tissue efficiently and quickly, and this would cause the production rate, as well as demand and supply, to skyrocket worldwide.
Once the bioreactors are in a large enough production, they may be installed in supermarket warehouses, and even in homes and schools. Not to mention, transport of the goods will be cheaper as well, as one can obviously fit more packets of pig cells in a delivery van than whole dead pigs, which won't have to travel as far on average.
What's more, these bioreactors could be given to countries with economic troubles, either those with a failing food industry, or those with a failing economy altogether. The result would be a huge increase in their productivity, and consequently, their disposable income, which can be spent on improving living conditions across the world.
In one year, the United States alone consumes 800 trillion Btu, or 844 quadrillion Joules, just on fossil fuels, fertilisers and electricity, to feed their farms. Cultured meat only requires powering the bioreactor, which in trials so far has consumed much less energy than is estimated to support a single cow under livestock regulations.
It may surprise some to know that the amount of materials that could be used to treat the sick and the dying is actually spent on enhancement of meat production. In the USA, 90% of antimicrobials are used in agriculture to treat synthetic animal feed and to purify the water, which wouldn't be used if we were to grow the meat from these animals instead.
The process of cultured meat growth stems (pun intended) from stem cells of these animals. As well as producing meat, research of the method could be crucial to understanding biochemistry and medicine, and growing human or animal tissues could be used to treat people or animals with certain medical conditions.
Agriculture is currently the fifth largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, which constitutes 18% of the total greenhouse emissions of today, and although this is only 9% of the total CO2, this is 37% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide, which, although less abundant in Earth's atmosphere, can be much more devastating. This factor would be reduced if we moved on.
Most people might argue that genetic modification of the meat is a bad thing. However, I do agree with PositronWildhawk that cultured meat can also have its fat reduced. In addition, since we're using muscle cells to produce the meat, that means we won't have to worry about food contamination, since animal health is a huge priority for raising livestock since we don't want meat containing infections such as salmonella or whatever.
By artificially growing the meat, we are monitoring its contents as it grows. This means that we can reduce the amount of fat in the tissue dramatically, but still retain the cells which we taste and digest. Thus, it will taste like meat, and it won't put so much strain on your body.
As a matter of fact, in the trials which scientists have conducted, this has indeed been reported to be the case, and there haven't been any side-effects.