Lab-Grown Burger to be Eaten Today

The first burger to be made entirely out of lab-grown meat is going to be eaten today in London.  There have been stories about petri dish meat  for a couple of years now, but it looks like it has finally been done.  Some think it is a good thing for animals and the environment, and others consider it a twisted science experiment that humans should not be doing.  In any case, it is sure to spark major debate on the future of food on earth, and the role animals and science will play in the years to come.

Maastricht University Lab Burger1

How a lab-grown burger is made:

  1. Take stem cells from a cow
  2. Nurture with chemicals and nutrients to promote rapid growth
  3. After three weeks, separate out the millions of cells into more petri dishes.
  4. Watch these cells grow into small muscle strips
  5. Collect these strips, add red coloring, and press into a burger shape
  6. Cook and eat

For vegetarians and vegans, this story stirs up a lot of questions, and has far-reaching consequences for the people on the planet.  Is this stuff a vegetarian or vegan-friendly food?  Is it actually meat even though it was raised on a plate in a lab?  We live in a world where so many humans are almost completely disconnected with the food they consume.  How easy will it be to substitute lab grown meats for ones that now come from a living animal?  These are questions that we are going to have to think about and discuss.

Pros

  • Less animal suffering
  • More land available for growing crops that humans can eat
  • Decreased consumption of water and other resources

Cons

  • The Chemical makeup of lab-grown meat is not well-known
  • May lead to increased meat consumption by humans
  • Growing “meat” in a lab and then eating it is a bit gross

According to this BBC News article, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) writes “[Lab-grown meat] will spell the end of lorries full of cows and chickens, abattoirs and factory farming. It will reduce carbon emissions, conserve water and make the food supply safer.”

Is this new “meat” vegan?

Also, some are already calling this “fake meat”, …will that eventually make it harder for vegans to order at non-veg restaurants (and more difficult to trust what they’re being served)?

What do you think?

 

Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HappyCow.

Reference:  http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Main/Research1/ResearchUM/FirsteverPublicTastingOfLabgrownCulturedBeefBurger.htm

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