The Monkey Buddha Archives:
One of the most important developments in food technology is one that I haven't posted about yet, but think about a lot. This is the technique of producing muscle cells & tissue without a living animal, known as cultured or lab-grown meat.
This is an approach that has the potential to solve a number of our current ethical, environmental, and logistical problems with eating the meat from the flesh of a living creature. It could be more efficient, more sanitary, and environmentally-friendly than current methods of raising animals for meat. Of the utmost ethical & spiritual importance is the fact that the process does not inflict suffering on a sentient creature.
"When a man has pity
on all living creatures,
only then is he noble"
Despite my personal recognition of the moral concerns with the consumption of meat, I still love it and don't plan to give it up. I eat fish & chicken regularly, enjoy beef, and even have ground bear meat in my freezer from a hunt my brother-in-law went on, that I'm going to use to make chili. However, if there were were more widespread availability of in vitro meat, I would definitely prefer that option.
Although it is currently prohibitively expensive for large-scale production of lab meat ($18,000 per pound!), this cost will drop sharply as the industry advances & expands.
The last major announcement in this area was the announcement of the first lab-made burger in 2013.
Here are a couple articles I've seen recently on the topic. They were spurred by the announcement of the first lab-cultured meatball, by startup company Memphis Meats.
I like this quote by one of the founders that expresses the desire for progress that accompanies any invention, especially one with potentially world-changing consequences:
“We plan to do to the meat industry
what the car did to the horse and buggy.
Cultured meat will completely replace the status quo
and make raising animals to eat them simply unthinkable.”
-Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats