If your first reaction is, “gross, absolutely not,” then you wouldn’t be alone, but would you reconsider if you knew that lab-grown meat would be free of hormones, pesticides, antibiotics, disease and would eliminate the ethical issue of animal cruelty and could effectively change the widespread harm to our environmentimposed by factory farming in this country? Do I hear anyone thinking, “hmm, then again, let me think about that”?
These are not rhetorical questions requiring a wild and vivid science-fictional journey to a futuristic land. We won’t all be wearing silver unitards and living in apartment pods when the choice between real and “cultured” meat and leather is available to us. Cloning meat and leather is successfully being done right now and may be available commercially as soon as 5 to 10 years!
If producing meat and leather in a lab would help reduce factory farming and its destruction of the environment, would you be willing to get on board? Recently, a cultured hamburger, several years in the making by Dr. Mark Post, a Dutch researcher at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, was cooked, eaten and critiqued in London. At a cost of $325,000, this burger was said to be “dry and a bit lacking in flavor,” ”feels like a conventional hamburger but tasted like an animal-protein cake,” despite which, it’s “a very good start.”
The burger consists of tens of thousands of strands of protein grown in petri dishes from cattle stem cells. Stem cells are the basic cells that can turn into tissue-specific cells. These particular cells were derived from cow shoulder muscle and were multiplied to form tiny strips of muscle fiber, of which 20,000 were used to create the burger. Added to the burger were also breadcrumbs, salt and natural beet juice for coloring. Cooked in butter, served on a bun and topped with lettuce and tomato slices, the burger looked like a “real hamburger” but was described as lacking in fat. “We’re working on that,” stated Dr. Post.
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