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Lab Meat: Tastes Like a Million Bucks

Written by PETA | April 21, 2008

In_Vitro_Meat.jpgI’m just going to come out and say this: PETA is offering 1 million dollars (say it in your best Dr. Evil voice) to the first team of scientists that can develop a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro (lab-grown) chicken meat.

The figure was reached by a team of math nerds working in PETA’s basements who have determined that 1 million is actually very close to the number of chickens killed every hour in the United States—so there’s a nice element of symbolism to the offer as well. But symbolism aside—we’re deadly serious about helping to fund developments in this new science, which has the potential to end the suffering of literally billions of animals if a commercially viable lab meat is made available. As PETA President Ingrid Newkirk puts it:

“People are surprised to learn that PETA is interested in lab-grown meat, but we have overcome our own revulsion at flesh-eating to champion a breakthrough that will mean a far kinder world for animals. One million dollars is a lot of money, but it’s a small price to pay for something that has the potential to save about 1 million lives every hour.”

To qualify for the prize, scientists in the field must be able to produce a quantity of meat that is sufficient to market in at least 10 U.S. states at a price that is competitive with prevailing chicken prices.

There’s plenty more information on our contest page. Once you’ve had a look at it, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from both vegetarians and meat-eaters—would you eat lab meat?

Commenting is closed.
  • Niyes Eye says:

    Until science finds a totally SYNTHETIC MEAT SUBSTITUTE [ not from SOY ] we will continue as a race of unqualified butchers. Hidden even to ourselves, that a diet of daily meat consumption is toxic in the long run to the nature of humans. I want to thank you for allowing those comments that expose the drawbacks of this concept as well as the obvious pro’s.. Wow this whole issue is up for debate but I think until the human race becomes more humane overall, we will never achieve the height of ethical dignity needed to sustain the world’s growing population..It is amazing though that there is a push to either find more humane treatments of food animals and possible alternatives to a meatless society. When Comparing mass corporate factory style farming of animals and the environment hazards of this strategy is totally unsustainable.. The Bio-Hazards alone are screaming STOP! but corporate companies and Governments keep right on going.? Some hope is forthcoming, when you find small sections of the grocery store meat counters providing more ethical meat products, you did not find that even 10yrs ago. So it is some progress.. I often wonder about the high rate of degenerative diseases and Cancer,that could be linked to much of our so-called modern diet, of heavy meat consumption. Chemically when an animal is killed at the exact time that it is in a state of terrified stress, is that stress converted into toxic chemicals in it’s body which is then transferred to US, as kind of TOXIC soup! Anybody have any science on this idea~! It was only in the new abundance of the 1950’s that heavy meat consumption began to flourish, with commercials from the Beef Industry to buy, buy, and eat, eat, MEAT..but this whole concept is backfiring for oh so many reasons, Your right we need a radical new philosophy to life sustaining nutrition, who knows with the withdrawal from a world society of meateaters, there may come a calm that is so much more life sustaining, with less propensity to AGGRESSION AND WAR!! We are Exactly what we EAT!

  • so there..... I´ve said it ;) says:

    It would be a good start to see realistic discussion on this issue and cut all the emotionally driven reactive garbage that has been ´thrown up here´ If you want to state any ´so called facts´, please back them up with truly reliable and checkable references. I personally am mostly vegetarian, when I eat out I eat some fish or seafood, mainly because of the severe lack of vegatarian choices. However its comments like the two I have quoted below that give the average person the perception that all vegetarians are living on the lunatic fringe. amber Falobas Well…it may not be made from animals…but it still has the word meat in it so i still wouldnt eat it. Judith, Freedom Fighter for Animals At this time I can’t go with this idea. The idea of eating even a Veggie Burger makes me ill. It’s round just like a meat burger and just looking at it makes me ill. Anything shaped like meat is just sending the wrong message. And Ingrid you are causing alot of infighting in PETA’S organization. You yourself in an article this has come close to a civil war in our office. You also said that PETA will be losing many members over this. Be very careful you are coming close to losing some of your finest people that have worked for PETA for many years. Please rethink this. Amber Its just a word, get over it. It doesn´t matter what its called. Tell me would you refuse to eat something that was labeled meatless or meat-free just because you could see the word meat? Judith, what has the shape of something got to do with its composition? good grief, does that mean you cant eat, say, animal crackers? If you scratch the surface you would find any number of cultures that have vegetarian base foods that are round or patty shaped. for example crumbed fried slices of Eggplant, (Aubergine). AS I said, its ridiculous statements like these that leave the average person withteh perception that most if not all of us vegetarians are on day leave from the local mental asylum. Oh, and just in case anyones is interested, the reason I even know about this issue is because it was mentioned on the ´New South Whales Country hour´ program that airs from midday weekdays on our ABC Local radio. I only wish we could poach Libby Price from the Viccy country hour, she has the sort of voice that just seems to make me feel better about the world. Any way, enough of the shameless plugs

  • Vegan says:

    “Eating Flesh is Eating Flesh! I can’t believe you would think this is an answer to the vegetarian persons dietary needs. We don’t have to eat flesh and have proved it for many many years so this kind of thinking makes you look like you endorse eating animals as long as it doesn’t suffer. So does mean that you can eat an animal if you give it a lethal injection and it doesn’t suffer. NO! We don’t need to eat our animals in any shape or form you want to call it. Whether it is grown in a lab or not it is still flesh. Yuck!” Wow. Unfounded knee-jerk emotional response, much? The truth is that some people enjoy eating flesh, and if they can do without causing an animal harm, as with in vitro meat, why does it matter? Your comparison of in-vitro meat to an animal killed by lethal injection suggests that you don’t have a good grasp of the issues at hand. In-virto meat does not come from a live animal, nor was it ever a part of a live animal, nor is the death of an animal involved in its production! Given these facts I find it very starnge that so many of my fellow animal rightists would oppose this. I thought the argument against meat was “We shouldn’t eat meat because animals are sentient beings with inherent rights and the ability to suffer”. But alot of what I’m hearing is more along the lines of “We shouldn’t eat meat because it all yucky and even if meat could be produced without harming an animal, animal rightists should still be against it because it’s TEH YUCKEH!!!!1!!!!!!”

  • ED says:

    PETA needs to give them money because Monsanto is gonna kill off our food supply with GMOs. With mass famine, we’ll need to eat something or starve to death.

  • Ecordy75 says:

    Governments should have funded this PETA Xmeat prize to the same degree that they have lavished upon banks and quasimilitarysecurity industries for over a century. All these industries get coddled by politicians and do nothing to improve the quality of life yet they soak up corporatewelfare by trillions of dollars each year. Taxpayerfunded laboratories that torture animals instead of finding ways to minimize the amount of life killing and eating other life also freeload off society and its taxpayers. If you are not vegan and not a prisoner or poor like me but I AM a vegan you have absolutely no moral right to condemn anyone else for anything. Eating meat is worse than molesting children and should be treated as such. I have zero respect for anyone who demands that I support THEIR cause legal war ethical etc if they refuse to support MY causes. I fully support war for justified reasons such as for animal rights to release the billions of innocent vegetarian cows pigs chickens and turkeys from factory farms. Antivegetarians are freedomhating unpatriotic cowards who don’t know the true meaning of the loss of freedom confined in a box one’s entire life.

  • Yes says:

    And yes this would appeal to the “manly redblooded meat eater” type since with vatgrown meat they can eat any animal in the world not just the ones that can be farmed. You don’t think lionburgers and great white shark steaks would be popular with the football crowd? Giant squid gila monsters whales elephants gorillas alligators…. “long pigs”. Anything you can get a tissue sample from you can make a burger out of with no suffering. The “real men” would love to show off what they can eat.

  • Sigh says:

    I don’t understand why PETA protests against human consumption of meat while letting the cats dogs sharks and tigers get away with it. However I do feel somewhat bad for the way animals are treated and the way they suffer so that I can eat them and I worry about the hormones and antibiotics used in factory farms. I currently continue to eat them anyway but if safe invitro meat were an option I would gladly switch to it so that I can have my meat with a clear conscience. If you devoted your entire organization to this cause it might actually happen but the $1 million dollar prize doesn’t seem sufficient.

  • Sarah says:

    I have several issues with PETA’s support of “in vitro” meat. Firstly culturing of this meat aka muscles cells in a dish requires growth factors from fetal bovine serum also known as FBS. FBS is literally serum taken from the blood of prenatal cows. This hardly reduces animal suffering in my opinion. Secondly muscle cells grown in culture are not necessarily safe to eat. Cells grown in culture often aquire mutations which in a living organism would lead to things like cancer. Would you eat a tumor off of a cow? I think not. PETA should use its 1 million dollars to help fund farmers’ markets and on educating people about becoming vegetarian or vegan. In vitro meat will not end animal suffering or the environmental issues associated with the farming of beef. Please PETA educate yourselves and the public before throwing money at something like this.

  • Sam says:

    there is a reason why this has not been done before by other veganvegetarian scientists and the reason is pretty obvious if you actually read any science papers involved in tissue generation the process requires that nutrients be given the growing muscle cells and those nutrients come you got it from Fetal Calf Serum. Maybe you want to give million dollars to someone who produces an alternative to Fetal Calf Serum otherwise you’re going to be saving chickens by sacrificing baby cows. It amazes me that you haven’t figured this out yet.

  • jen says:

    Have you not seen I AM LEGEND? You don’t mess with Jehovahs ideas.

  • Jon says:

    An orangutang fishing with sharpened stick…..

  • Maya, CVT says:

    Hi Jon thank you for educating me. I did not know that fact about GMOS. I’m curious which journal article did you use for your research? I’d like to read it so I can learn more. Please enlighten me about your question why would a redwood tree have to be killed to save one chicken? Please clarify. Thanks

  • jon says:

    Maya… do your research 95 of the food in america comes from industrialized agriculture which use GMO’s to increase their output its a fact. I can’t even try to talk reason with you peta people so I have a simple question which should prove whether your entirely insane or just mostly insane. PIck one Kill a 3 month old chicken thats so stupid it would drown during a rain storm because it looked up. or. cut down a 3000 year old california red wood tree. you can’t straddle the fence you have to pick a side. and if anyone even considers that a little worthless .60 cents a pound chicken is more worthwhile than the tree then there is just no hope for you

  • Holly says:

    It would be cheaper and better for us all to eat a totally natural diet. With all the problems we are now seeing with world starvation it seems to me it would be better to use the time and money to figure out a better way to feed the world period. Its sad to think that some people in our world are eating mud cakes to sustain hunger. What people would be able to afford to buy new lab made meat. Surly not the starving who are eating the mud cakes this very day.

  • John says:

    I’m personally in favor of research that can lead to safe edible labproduced food products and not only because I love petting and artistically rendering living animals! In fact I have had dreams about the future where lab food in great numerical quatities was produced and sold and competitively relieving world markets and overloaded meat production butcheries facilities in favor of mass consumption of easily proceessed artificial and labcloned nonliving meat parts meats and assorted food products approved by the FDA in effect. Thank you for your article and I enjoyed reading it! John USA

  • Maya says:

    Andi sorry but that’s untrue. Most fruits vegetables etc are not gmos or lab grown. Both things are expensive and most farmers just grow food naturally. Of course they may be sprayed with pesticides but to say that almost all food is gmo is completely untrue.

  • Lotus says:

    The fact that PETA will embrace and pursue the goal of labmade meat proves their unswervingly dedicated goal to saving the animals. I will support this method and convince all my peers and family to the same.

  • kelly says:

    i’m personally not saying its a bad idea because it can potentially reduce animal suffering but it kind of makes peta look like hypocrites. where will they get the stem cells to make the meat? from animals. who will they test it on before it can be sold to humans? animals. i thought using animals for anything was something peta was against. it just kind of makes them look even stupider to the public. im a vegan and i think they should focus on other things.

  • Andi says:

    This is a fantastic idea! Some people are so addicted to eating meat that you cannot get them to become vegetarian no matter what you tell them. So let them eat meat!…as long as no animal suffering is involved I couldn’t care less what they eat. The $1 million will save billions of animals’ lives. And for those concerned about labgrown meat where do you think 90 of the food in grocery stores comes from nowadays? If it’s not marked “organic” or “nonGMO” there’s a good chance it’s made from genetically modified substances grown in a lab or from Monsanto’s genetically engineered seeds.

  • Holly says:

    Oh Yah Culling is the ‘selection’ removing or killing of surplus animals from an animal population. Go Vegan

  • Holly says:

    rbST is a very bad!!! Its Growth Hormone!!!! Mastitis is caused by Staphylococcus aureus S. aureus This bacteria is extremely difficult treat. Milking cows who dont recover from from mastitis are sent to their death. Even if they are young and first time mothers and milked. Its awful to be a miking cow. Go Vegan Holly meaning below… bST is an abbreviation for bovine somatotropin or what is also called bovine growth hormone. The term rbST has been used to refer to bST that is produced using fermentation technology and injected into dairy cows to increase efficiency of milk production.

  • Annalena says:

    Jon As a human I enjoy what the world has to offer in it’s beautiful display’s. Factory farming and animal cruelty is as far removed from nature as anything. I feel that I have an obligation as a moral being to stop as much suffering as possible. Sharks and Hawks are specialized carnivores with no other choice kill or starve. We most of us have a choice. The meat you eat is also loaded with unhealthy chemicals. Our closest relatives are mainly vegetarian. They will sometimes eat insects and other small animals and of course Chimpanzees will occasionally eat other primates and mammals or small reptiles. Human teeth are not those of specialized carnivores they do not at all resemble those of a tigerswolves or shark. Humans have mostly placed themselves out of the natural order.We take endlessly from the earth without reciprocating and are virtually the only animal to do so. Because of this the world is in a nasty plight. The rest of nature does not farm their preytorture themwear themlock them up take photos of their prey’s carcasses or order some deep fried chicken breast in the car through a drive through window. Suffering is suffering and needless killing is murder period. We are not brainwashed. I have been a vegetarian since grade for of my own accord. And have recently veganized my diet. I answer to my own conscience. If you are so bent on natural living you should adopt the other behaviors of carnivores. Live in the wild with no technological benefits and hunt with your bare hands.

  • Unknown says:

    In response to the concern of genetically modified meat if this could be done it would be done in a safe way for people One thing i hate about most people is they arent properly educated in biotechnology to show concern for these topics. Example RBST in cows. RBST is human made BST which is naturally occurring in milk and in the cow! we just quantify the amount to effectively use the cow and also to reduce the amount of cows culledyear. rbst has shown to increase life span or usage on farms so less change of being culled at an early age BST does not attach to our receptors in the body and can not effect people in fact its easily digested in the body. In response to increased mastitis this is not proven and isnt caused because of RBST. Mastitis is caused from improper management and care! I know this isnt in complete response to the lab grown chicken but it has to do with biotech people would run scared of this if they werent educated! and peta fuels this by making wrong images of other biotech uses to scare people off for there own reasons.

  • lynda downie says:

    It’s not as though this is such a stretch from what’s already being done. We’re already tampering with the natures of animals used for food. The crucial difference is that sentient animals won’t have to suffer grim painful lives and deaths. It’s worth a try. I’m behind the idea.

  • Holly says:

    This was attached to a pop up add on MSN home page today… httpwww.slate.comid2189676138001 human nature Science technology and life. Tastes Like Chicken Growing meat without growing animals. By William Saletan Posted Tuesday April 22 2008 at 841 AM ET People are talking that sure… Holly

  • cora says:

    i love the idea i am a fellow veg head but god put these animals on the planet for a reason. i think people do need to eat meat just without the animals suffering. i will definitly eat this stuff but if three fourths of the planet start eating this stuff what’s gonna happen to all the animals that people are planning to slaughter??? they’ll over popullate. thats my only problem. keep up the good spirit peta!!! cora 11 colorado

  • Arizona thorson says:

    To the people who have said if they are not here for food what are they here for. Regardless of what they are here for they are not here to be tortured. I am not a meat eater thank heavens but if someone is going to eat meat shouldnt it be where they hunt it or where the animal has been able to enjoy their lives instead of in a tiny cage w no sunlight or happiness. Even if I did think animals were here for us.. which i do not why can’t we just enjoy them in their natural habitat why do we have to eat them? I have so much fun watching wild animals. I agree that even if this was produced this fake meat in vitro stuff I do not want chemicals in my body and what illnesses that can lead to. I’m good with the soy meats I am happy this is going to happen though because for the people who are strong enough to quick meat they can atleast stop hurting animals and continue to put chemicals inside their bodies instead!

  • Mamastacia3 says:

    This idea really intrigues me. Especially since the labcreated meat would be without all of the harmful additives hormones etc. that are usually in meat. My only real question is where would the stem cells come from and would animals need to die or suffer to contribute them? If the plan is to manufacture large quantities you’d need a lot of stem cells. As far as the “gross” factor of eating “lab meat” uh hello how gross is it to eat the ripped out muscle tissue of a dead animal?

  • Susan Davis says:

    bad idea the competition to find fake meat that tastes evermore like the real thing will mean MORE animal suffering not less because for every lab you can control there will be millions uncontrolled experimenting behind closed doors with animal dna tissues cloning etc. really bad idea and definitely NOT healthy!

  • Dove Bonet says:

    I don’t think that I would eat it mainly because I’m worried about what would be in it. Substituting would mean more chemicals put in it that you probably wouldn’t find in the most processed meat possible. I think I’ll just stick with the soy.