The Flaming Vegan

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Laboratory Grown Meat: Great or Gross?
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Laboratory Grown Meat: Great or Gross?

Today in London, history was made when the first ever laboratory-grown hamburger was tasted.

Does that sound weird? Well, it kind of is. Muscle stem cells were taken from the shoulder of a cow in a biopsy, grown in a dish and then assembled into a burger. A few things were added of course – salt, egg, beet juice and saffron for colour. According to the taste testers, it was kind of meaty, but lacked flavour and was lean.

That isn’t really the point. The point is, although it would be at least ten years before this sort of “meat” could be mass-produced, it could actually have a huge impact on the agricultural and farming industries as we know them.

Is it a good idea? There’s no doubt that current meat production methods are unsustainable as the world’s population increases – is cultured meat the answer? In many ways it would greatly reduce carbon emissions, and improve the overall environmental impact of farming. It could also be healthier – at the moment pure muscle is being grown, providing a really lean, protein rich food.

However, many people are of the opinion that simply “not eating meat” is a better method of tackling the unsustainability and environmental impact that the meat industry notoriously brings with it, and that this type of meat shouldn’t be encouraged if it means people will eat more meat. In a world where obesity and heart disease run rampant, many believe that eating meat, in any form, simply should not be encouraged.

But are these people living in a dream world where they believe everybody will become vegetarian simply because it is better for their health? Is it time to realise that a great number of people will always want to eat meat? If so, maybe this is a promising step forwards in catering to those people. That seems to be the opinion of PETA, who have supported the process for a number of years now, and even offered a one million dollar reward for the first researchers to create test tube chicken.

Of course, those who are into organic, GM free foods would not go near this sort of meat in a million years. But they don’t have to – it is simply a potential alternative to factory farming for anyone that may be interested in trying it.

Obviously, many people (even seasoned meat eaters) may find the idea “un-natural” and “strange”, but those are exactly the same words I would use to describe a hotdog.

So, Flaming Vegans, what are your thoughts? Way forward or waste of money?

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  1. Veganara
    Great blog, voted. I saw this on our TV news this evening. It seems like misuse of science to me -what's the point? I bet it doesn't taste any better than a good meat-substitute veggie burger!
    1. Mental4Lentilz
      Thanks for the vote! I guess from a science point of view it's a very interesting breakthrough - these cells can actually contract and act like proper muscle cells, so that could have implications later on in terms of muscle regeneration in diseased patients. It could even potentially be useful as a model for some diseases where animal models are currently being used, and therefore reduce the amount of animal experimentation that goes on. But that's just me speculating. I'll definitely be sticking to veggie burgers too, but I do appreciate it when scientists recognise that there are huge problems with current farming practices and start thinking outside the box!
  2. MissDelight
    Voted! ;) I'm a tad cynical, but if this method of production ever becomes worth it from a financial perspective I can easily imagine that some big corporation will be very willing to use it - and not necessarily for the health of the people. It's a step into the direction of alienating us from the source of our food, and that's never a good thing imho. However, I'd rather people get fat on a artificial burger than one an animal died for...
  3. barblarsen
    I agree with you .... I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' response to the question of consuming lab-grown meat. People choose a vegan / nearly vegan / vegetarian lifestyle for a multitude of reasons and each person's beliefs about consuming animal products will determine their opinion on the topic. For me - personally ... ewwwwww, gross :-) The idea of eating this lab-grown animal product is repulsive ... but there is no expectation that others will share my views. Good article!
  4. dianabart
    Gross.. GMO enough said! :/ Good post though.. voted!


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