On August 5, 2013, Dutch scientist Mark Post presented the world’s first laboratory-grown hamburger at a press conference. Gourmets didn’t like the taste of the meat, but Post stated that the purpose of this burger is to show that it’s possible to grow meat in a laboratory, and the taste can be improved later. Since then, companies have begun to grow “clean” meat that is not vegan, but some believe that it has the potential to significantly reduce animal husbandry in the future.
Lab-grown meat contains animal products
Although the number of animals used will be reduced, laboratory meat still requires animal cages. When scientists created the first lab-grown meat, they started with pig muscle cells, but cells and tissues can’t reproduce all the time. Mass production of “clean meat” in any case requires a supply of live pigs, cows, chickens and other animals from which cells can be taken.
In addition, early experiments involved growing cells “in the broth of other animal products,” meaning that animals were used and possibly killed specifically to create the broth. Accordingly, the product could not be called vegan.
The Telegraph later reported that porcine stem cells were grown using serum taken from horses, although it is not clear if this serum is the same as the animal product broth used in early experiments.
Scientists hope lab meat will cut greenhouse gas emissions, but growing animal cells in labs anytime soon will still be a waste of resources, even if the cells are grown in a vegan environment.
Will the meat be vegan?
Assuming that immortal cells from cows, pigs, and chickens can be developed, and no animals will be killed for the production of certain types of meat, as long as the use of animals for the development of laboratory meat continues. Even today, after thousands of years of traditional animal husbandry, scientists are still trying to develop new varieties of animals that will grow bigger and faster, whose flesh will have certain advantages and be resistant to disease. In the future, if laboratory meat becomes a commercially viable product, scientists will continue to breed new varieties of animals. That is, they will continue to experiment with cells of different types and species of animals.
In the future, lab-grown meat is likely to reduce animal suffering. But it is important to remember that it will not be vegetarian, much less vegan, although it is not a product of the cruelty that prevails in the animal husbandry industry. One way or another, the animals will suffer.
“When I talk about ‘clean meat’, a lot of people tell me it’s disgusting and unnatural.” Some people just can’t understand how anyone can eat it? What many don’t realize is that 95% of all meat consumed in the Western world comes from factory farms, and nothing comes naturally from factory farms. Nothing.
These are places where thousands of sentient animals are herded into tiny spaces for months and stand in their feces and urine. They can be overflowing with drugs and antibiotics, a nightmare you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy either. Some do not see the light or breathe fresh air all their lives until the day they are taken to the slaughterhouse and killed.
So, looking at the systematic horror of the agricultural industrial complex, should vegans support clean meat, even if it’s not vegan because it’s made from animal cells?
Clean Meat author Paul Shapiro told me, “Clean meat is not meant for vegans—it’s real meat. But vegans should support clean meat innovation as it can help animals, the planet and public health – the top three reasons people choose to go vegan.”
Creating clean meat uses a fraction of the natural resources needed to produce meat.
So which is more natural? Abusing and torturing animals for their flesh while simultaneously destroying our planet? Or growing tissues in clean and hygienic laboratories without slaughtering a billion living beings at a lower cost to the environment?
Speaking about the safety of clean meat, Shapiro says: “Clean meat is likely to be safer and more sustainable than conventional meat today. It is imperative that trusted third parties (not just the producers themselves) such as food safety, animal welfare and environmental groups help educate consumers about the benefits offered by clean meat innovations. At scale, clean meat will not be produced in laboratories, but in factories that today resemble breweries.”
This is the future. And just like many other technologies that were before, people were afraid, but then they began to be widely used. This technology could help end animal husbandry forever.”
We all understand that if a product uses an animal, then it is not suitable for vegans. But if the world population continues and will continue to eat meat, maybe “clean meat” will still help save animals and the environment?