The current issue of The New Yorker explores an idea whose time has come: test-tube meat. An international network of stem-cell biologists and tissue engineers, cheered on by animal-rights advocates and environmentalists, are working on growing muscle tissue in vitro just as it is now grown inside the bodies of animals, but without all the filth, environmental devastation, and cruelty associated with factory farms and slaughterhouses.
The author notes that one drawback to test-tube meat is its cost, but it’s important to bear in mind that meat production is currently heavily subsidized. It is estimated that, without subsidies, the average cost of hamburger would be around $35 a pound. And that doesn’t even take into account the huge medical costs associated with heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and other diseases linked with meat consumption.
Quick to see the tremendous lifesaving potential of lab-grown meat, PETA has sponsored biological engineer Nicholas Genovese’s research into it. Says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk, “If people are unwilling to stop eating animals by the billions, then what a joy to be able to give them animal flesh that comes without the horror of the slaughterhouse, the transport truck, and the mutilations, pain, and suffering of factory farming.”
While you wait for test-tube T-bones to show up in your local Winn-Dixie, you can get started saving lives (your own and animals’) today by ordering a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit.
Written by Michelle Sherrow