When I found a photo of this discovery on Instagram, I immediately knew that I had to look more into it: meat…..without killing the animals? Was that even possible? I was shocked. Baffled. Mystified. And so right when I got home, I searched up “meat without killing animals” and clicked on the first link I saw.
So it turns out, that this Indian-American scientist-led group uses animal cells to actually create their own meat in a laboratory, supposedly in a “cruelty-free” way according to Uma Valenti of Memphis Meats. On top of that, this meat-growing mechanism is actually said to be more sustainable, healthier, and void of the high saturated fat, bacterial contamination and carbon footprint impacts that general meat production would possess (Valenti). Currently, the team is working mainly on beef, chicken and pork products, since these animals have the largest carbon footprint in the meat industry.
Here’s how it works: cells are extracted from the designated animal–cow, chicken, goat, pig, etc.–and then taken into a lab where these cells are given oxygen and the necessary nutrients while being harvested in bio-reactor tanks. Within nine to twenty-one days, these cells become skeletal animal muscle that can be sold and cooked as conventional meat that would require slaughter and complicated techniques that are pretty unsanitary and environmentally burdensome.
However, Valenti is not the only one taking action to remedy the increasing demands for meat. According to The Guardian and The Telegraph, China’s beef demand has risen so high that the meat industry has to resort to cloning more than a million cows in their cloning factories based in Tianjin. However, being the largest cloning factory in the world, this has been widely criticized for its lack of ethics, environmental and technological consequences, but the head biotechnology company continues to defend this practice as a deed of necessary “scientific rationale” (Xiaochun, chairman of BoyaLife). This cloning facility is also working on cloning racehorses, domesticated pets and sniffer dogs. While this is a sign of progressive technological development, it doesn’t outweigh the cons of the situation, which include massive gas emission, energy waste, and of course, the deaths of millions of cows that were solely bred for their flesh.
Before I go into detail as to what my thoughts are on this discovery, note that I’m not criticizing China as a country, but I am simply expressing my concern for the unsustainable cloning factory that its agribusiness industry defends. In comparison to the cloning factory, I’m not going to lie, I actually think that Valenti’s way of harvesting meat from stem cells in an extremely clean, sustainable and advanced environment is really neat! Do I think it’s going to be revolutionary? If more people know about this, then absolutely.
Now, is this going to hinder my plans on adapting a plant-based diet in the future? To be quite honest, I’m not sure at all. I have yet to do research on the ethics behind eating meat in general, whether or not animal products are as nutritious as they claim to be, or if many vegans are correct and meat is simply just an “artery-clogging high cholesterol” source of fat and protein. I’m sure that this may sway a lot of vegetarians and vegans towards trying this, with the exception of those just so disgusted with meat that they grimace at the thought of chewing a steak. For now, I’m just going to follow my intuition. My body likes having some more protein from egg whites or fish than none at all, mostly at night. On the other hand, I absolutely love plant-based proteins any day. Bring on the tofu and tempeh!
Anyways, I hope that you thought this discovery was just as interesting as I did! It always intrigues me whenever there is some sort of revolution in agriculture–both with animals and plants–because I’m all about improving sustainability. Don’t forget to check out the links below for the full lowdown on everything I touched upon regarding these discoveries, and comment below what recent scientific discoveries you’ve found in the news because I would love to learn about them!
What are your thoughts on meat without the murder? Would you eat it? Do you think this new revolution will change the way meat is produced around the globe?