Friday, June 23, 2006

Meat without murder

Wired has an interesting piece on efforts to grow meat in vitro, ridding us of the need (or alternatively, the excuse) to kill animals to eat. While they're not quite there yet, the research is very promising, and it looks like they'll have some form of vat-grown product on the market within five years. It won't do steaks - that requires a lot more work - but you might be able to have a more moral cheeseburger in the not too distant future.


Well call me a luddite but that is the most vile thing I have ever seen this week!

Posted by Anonymous : 6/23/2006 09:31:00 AM

I don't eat dead meat (I wouldn't call myself a vegetarian because oysters and mussels are not safe from me, I'm a Belgian after all) so this news does interest me. If it can provide protein to the masses at a sustainable, ecological and economical way I'd be all for it and probably eat it too. I bet this development would cause huge resistance from the meat industry unless they'd be willing to embrace it.
Regards vileness, hamburger chains are the vilest thing on earth.

Posted by Hans Versluys : 6/23/2006 10:57:00 AM

Hmmm, the "ecological" bit would depend on how you fed your vat of goo. Cows can eat grass (and do, in this part of the world) but if you need to feed highly processed protein and carbohydrates into the vat then you're back to square one. Apart from appeasing people who don't think about where shoe-leather comes from, anyway.

Posted by Chris : 6/23/2006 11:19:00 AM

Anyone else forsee the scandal that'll turn up about five years after this tech goes commercial - when some shoddy vat-meat company fails its hygeine mix, or bulks out the synth-burgers with real meat products and gets their vats infected with mad cow BSE prions?

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 6/23/2006 11:35:00 AM

I'll have my meat the way God intended - off the hoof, grazed on grass and then slaughtered thanks.

Who know what else grows along with the "meat" goo - shudder. I'd rather go vege than eat vat-mince.

Posted by Muerk : 6/23/2006 03:17:00 PM

WV: That's my primary concern. Which I guess means that you just shouldn't buy American...

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/23/2006 03:45:00 PM

The problem is that the only reason the mad-cow thing happened is that large parts of the animal feed industry got industrialised - and at some point someone fucked up and didn't sterilise a load or two of bone meal properly - either through stupidity or trying to lower costs. Otherwise, the risk of prion diseases is low, because the background mutation rate that causes the disease is low. The same will happen (maybe not with the same vector) with industrialised vat-meats at some point when it becomes common place, and someone looks to lower costs or a Homer Simpson pushes the wrong button.

I am, however, fairly keen for the advent of vat-grown meats, because although I am an avid slaughterer of animals, I don't think it's a very nice thing to do to them on an industrial scale. (I do my slaughering one at a time, up close and personal with bullet or knife)

Posted by Weekend_Viking : 6/23/2006 04:16:00 PM