It may look like a normal white coffee maker to you, but it is actually my new Meat Incubator! All I have to do is leave some “starter cells” in the pot before I go to bed, add some “growth medium” (aka the lifeblood of newborn calves), and in the morning I have a delicious sausage patty to eat with my eggs! And the best part is it’s low fat!
Okay, that isn’t really my life, but it could be all of ours in the future if the meat scientists have their way. Incubated, man-made meat products were first researched as part of an initiative to provide astrounauts with the delicious meat they miss so much while floating around in space.
Now it is gradually becoming a reality, with research backed by arguments in favor of reducing global animal consumption, engineering low-fat meats, and creating safer bird-flu- and salmonella-free meat products. Scientists have actually compared meat you grow on your kitchen counter to meat alternatives like soy and veggie burgers, much to the horror of pretty much everyone. The scientists think vegetarians might actually eat a formless meat globule that wasn’t chopped off a formerly-breathing animal. I think I disagree, and find, along with most people, the whole idea disturbing. But the meat scientists are nothing if not passionate:”It would look like a coffee maker — this is my dream,” [Dr. Vladimir Mironov, tissue researcher] said wistfully. “No one wants to fund it.”
I don’t find the idea of meat grown from cellular cultures frightening or disturbing in the least, but I recongnize that many people disagree with me.
I actually think it is the height of ethical treatment of animals, personally. The animals have cells harvested without killing them, and the meat is grown and cultured without causing harm to them. What is so wrong with that?
I think that it is a typical human fear of technology and science that is the sticking point in this issue.
We already grow skin for use on burn victims. Tissue growth for similar use is on the way and eventually organs will be grown for organ replacement. Why not grow meat to eat?