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Lab-Grown Meat Could Cut Environmental Impact Of Livestock Production

Fictional lab-grown meat

When I think of the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten, it probably involves pork. Now don’t get me wrong, I used to love eating bacon as much as the next guy, but there’s something about the crunchy strips that makes me feel too much like a cannibal for my own taste; perhaps it’s the fact that it literally feels like I’m munching on human flesh.

If that makes you uncomfortable, then at least it’s (possibly) causing you to think about what exactly it is you’re putting in your mouth. Pig flesh, YUM. Not only does the thought of it repulse me, but the environmental and ethical impacts of meat consumption really seal the deal for me that meat is terrible for my body and the environment.

As a way to combat the negative effects of global meat consumption, scientists have paired them with the fact that some consumers will just never be able to give up meat and are attempting to develop artificial meat products as a result.

No, not tofurkey or Boca Burgers. This is in-vitro meat, which is grown in a lab with animal cells. Sound gross? Not only is it pretty much the same as eating a burger derived from a factory farm, but it creates only a tiny fraction of the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the conventional production of livestock. On the environmental impact, The Guardian has noted,

“According to the analysis by scientists from Oxford University and Amsterdam University, lab-grown tissue would reduce greenhouse gases by up to 96% in comparison to raising animals. The process would require between 7% and 45% less energy than the same volume of conventionally produced meat such as pork, beef, or lamb, and could be engineered to use only 1% of the land and 4% of the water associated with conventional meat.”

Obviously it will be a while before you’re getting a New York Strip steak out of a petri dish, but it sounds like a step in the right direction as far as improving the health and environmental aspects of meat consumption.

Fewer greenhouse gas emissions, fewer animals raised and tortured on farms and a more humane approach to a carnivorous diet sounds like something I’m on board with. As long as there are people out there who can’t picture themselves ever giving up meat, there is good reason to develop products like this.

Would you try an in-vitro meat burger?

Image CC licensed by Fabrice de Nola: Fresh Lab, Fictional lab meat packed for sale.

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