Precision Fermentation Will Save Cows From Factory Farms—but What About Animals in Labs?

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3 min read

Cow-free milk is nothing new, but science is revolutionizing the way it’s made. There’s a new approach to dairy in town, and it doesn’t involve the use of soybeans or nuts—instead, the products are brewed like beer. Cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and other items made through the process of precision fermentation taste like their animal-based counterparts, but they lack the main ingredient in dairy milk: cruelty to cows.

Cow’s milk is a product made by an abusive dairy industry that tears mother cows away from their young and turns them into “milking machines”—whereas precision fermentation can be thought of as brewing dairy from yeast.

Majestic white cow in field

How Does Precision Fermentation Work?

Precision fermentation is the process of using genetically engineered yeast to “brew” all the components that make up milk. These brewed ingredients are identical to those found in cow’s milk, so the end product has the same taste and texture.

Will the Precision Fermentation Industry Become the New Big Dairy?

The burgeoning precision fermentation industry represents the future of dairy—and not just because it will spare millions of gentle cows. Unlike milk stolen from mother cows, brewing dairy with precision fermentation can be made lactose- and cholesterol-free to improve its nutritional profile. Additionally, it doesn’t contain residues of growth hormones or antibiotics, which many dairy farms dose cows with.

What’s good for animals is good for the planet! Brewing dairy with precision fermentation also has a vastly smaller environmental footprint than its animal-­­secreted counterpart, as it generates less greenhouse gases and requires less land and water to produce. Animal agriculture consumes more than half of all water used in the U.S., and the United Nations says it’s “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”

Cute companion rat on table with front paws folded

It’s Not Vegan Unless It’s Kind to All Animals

While precision fermentation can prevent cows from being used in the abusive dairy industry, it’s up to manufacturers to make sure that all animals are kept safe from harm when bringing new products to market. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require animal tests to bring food products to market, but some companies insist on conducting them anyway because—get this—they think it makes consumers feel safer. PETA works with food companies around the world to make sure they understand how to use science—not animal experiments—to ensure that new foods are safe for humans.

Here’s How YOU Can Help Cows

Brewing dairy with precision fermentation may be the future, but you can take action against the cruel dairy industry today. Click the button below to speak up for cows who are suffering for milk and cheese:

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