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Meet the Future of Meat

Written by PETA | February 1, 2011
mike licht, by 2.0

If the heartbreaking pictures of animals suffering on factory farms and in slaughterhouses bring you down (and if they don’t, you need to worry), you’ll be pleased to learn that scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina are developing a way to give die-hard carnivores an animal-friendly meat fix. With the help of a grant from PETA, the scientists are working on growing “cultured” meat in their laboratory, relying on techniques similar to those they are using in their research on growing human organs for transplant patients.

The list of benefits of bioengineered in vitro meat goes on and on. It is far less likely to be contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter, which are widespread on factory farms. Scientists can control how much fat is added to the meat, which could help people lower their risk for heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. The production of cultured meat wouldn’t generate the tons of animal waste that factory farms do or contribute to climate change and massive water and air pollution. And, of course, if cultured meat became widely available, millions of animals every year would be spared from being scalded, skinned, or hacked apart or having their throats cut open while they are still conscious and struggling.

Meat produced safely in a clean, controlled environment could someday make dead animal flesh look about as progressive as The Flintstones.  

Written by Michelle Sherrow

Commenting is closed.
  • Debbie Kosh says:

    What about vegetable protein “mok meat”?? I am a vegetarian who still enjoys sausages, spag bol, sausage rolls, lasagna and chiken nuggets..look in the freezer setion of coles and woolies..why cant this be the alternative???

  • Buy Meat says:

    Would they taste so good too? Kidding. But seriously, organic meat can have no alternative. Maybe more vegetarian-promotions may help them?!

  • Ilikemeat says:

    Yes slaughterhouses do have to remain “clean”. No I don’t mean clean as in your living room, i mean clean as free of harmful bacteria. For the amount of meat that passes through these places there is very little contamination. PETA takes rare instances and severely exaggerates them.

  • ... says:

    Omnivore =/= carnivore.

    Just sayin.

    Also, this stuff would be very hard to get going as the meat would be VERY expensive due to the cost of the machines, the “ingredients”, and paying the many employees that there would be. Also, this would be hard to mass produce due to the costs. But if this were to happen I’d be all for it.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    If it’s done right it may eliminate all of the factors that contribute to diseases in humans as well as eliminating animal cruelty, but in order to get people to buy it it would have to be as inexpensive as a pound of natural hamburger…

  • Lacey Matthews says:

    Oh, Jessica, how naive you are. You do realize that when animals are slaughtered, they bleed, right? And they are eviscerated? Ponder for a moment how “clean” and “controlled” that process might be.

  • Dana Bragg says:

    Obviously not, watch the video!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rachel J A says:

    Production conditions for animals are abysmal, as evidenced by the glut of resistant diseases drifting out of factory farms and manure plants. If we could leave it behind it would be a HUGE boon to the environment and human health. And all of that is without considering the immense burden farming places on animals, needlessly.

  • Shari says:

    Jessica : to answer tour question it’s NO! They are supposted to be but sadly the inspector are told to look the other way. The same way they look the other way when “down cattle” who are so sick with illness they can’t walk or being dragged into the slaughter house and killed only to be served on our dinner tables. How do I know this: I was a truck driver who picked up meat at these places along with the chicken slaughter house ( which I have been inside of ) and also egg farms were they have dead birds laying on eggs that are covered with their feces. This is why I became a veggie lover who eats mostly vegon. Hope this helps. It’s sad but true! You asked a very good question and I beleive you needed to know the truth.

  • Kristin says:

    No, actually, they don’t. Most of the meat industry is pretty filthy even if it says organic. And its also not as relevant that the slaughterhouses themselves are clean as it is that the factory farms are clean–in factory farms, which is 98-99% of the meat industry, animals grow up their entire short lives living in filth and very often getting disease and sickness. Take that animal to a clean slaughterhouse and its still not a clean or healthy animal.

  • Christine Patricia Colon says:

    Actually several videos and studies have shown that slaughterhouses are not clean at all…

  • Pepper says:

    Jessica, have you watched ANY undercover PETA videos? It’s a joke to think that the slaughter houses are clean, and all the animals are happy and healthy.

  • Mrs. Lois Koch says:

    WOW! I never thought I would see the day that meat from the lab would be a fact! NOW there is no earthly excuse for live animals not to be left alone and live out their lives!

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    Jessica, With all the blood, feces, and pus flying around, I would say that, no, slaughterhouses are not very clean places. I have read of numerous USDA meat inspectors who refuse to eat the stuff because of what they know. Look how careful a person has to be in the preparation of meat not to cross-contaminate other foods. And you would have to have suicidal tendencies to eat meat raw. One of the best things about a veg diet is easy, carefree preparation and an equally easy wash-up afterwards.

  • Joey says:

    I was on your site thinking to send the same story…and you are already giving him a grant. (Which I didn’t notice in the story…?)  

    Suggestion:  There are many meat eaters who I think might donate to this project specifically.  There is a group of people who are both concerned about animals and also not going to stop eating meat, right or wrong.  I am one of them, to be honest, though quitting has come under consideration.  Regardless, this technology could upset the entire industry of cattle, poultry and so on.  The sooner it is realized, the sooner the suffering of animals comes.

    I would consider approaching carnivorous entities, such as meat dependent restaurant chains,  to consider donating to the development of tissue engineered meat.  I think some of these entities might be willing to donate, as it does not conflict with their business model as sellers of meat.  If the funds help hasten the research by a year or two or three…then that many more animals will stop suffering.  

    The other issue to consider is that when this actually starts to become viable, it will be people like Peta who can best help overcome the strangeness factor it will elicit.  Many people will at first be kind of disgusted by this, as it is strange and science fiction-ish.  Of course the counterpoint is how horrible current animal husbandry is.  Peta can do a smashing job of drawing the comparison.  A bioreactor will end cruetly, be cleaner, safer, better…etc for those who want meat.  (I think it will ultimately be cheaper.)  

    Finally, some kind of plan to encourage the existing industry to move towards the newer, will also help animals. If current poultry and cattle companies see that the future is not theirs, and there is guidance, then they may move to the new “ranching” faster, rather than fighting it to  “save” their livelihoods.  A few years here or there will save a substantial amount of animals.  

    This is an example where parties that might ostensibly be in conflict might eventually overcome that by advancing technology.   Both sides can “win”, though the health aspects of meat consumption are discounted for this conversation.  

    Anyway.  I am glad to see you are funding this technology.  I think a separate donation option for this work, would be of interest to many people who are not normally Peta “types”.

    My two cents. Sorry this was so long



  • Jessica Smith says:

    You don’t think slaughterhouses have to remain clean and controlled in order to distribute the meat to retail markets?