Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Test Tube Meat

In their ongoing quest to protect animals by any means necessary, the animal rights organization PETA is offering a one million dollar prize to the first scientist who can produce lab-grown meat in bulk; a sort of Ansari X-prize for the biotechnology sector. Saving animal lives and preventing the suffering that they go through at the hands of the food production industry is their officially stated goal (one that has virtually divided the organization in half since many members find the injestion of flesh, animal or not, anathema) but the reduction of environmental pollution and the ability to produce cheaper sources of protein for the Third-World are the larger gains in the eyes of the scientific world.

I'm well versed in the sometimes extremely inhumane practices employed by factory farms and the like but my appetite for meat in practically all of it's forms has continued to make me a hypocrite on this issue. I've tried tofu burgers, veggie burgers, etc. and they just aren't the same; the current look, taste and texture of faux meat can't fool the millions of years of evolution that led to the formation of my taste buds. If and when lab-grown meat is widely available and suitably appetizing I won't hesitate to eat it, but until then I'll stick with deliciously greasy platefuls like the one pictured above. Bon appetit.


Anonymous said...

That burger looks awesome.

Your sister won't eat veal. I don't really blame her, I guess. It's not that good anyway. Let's be honest, though. Do we care how inhumanely they treat the cow if it's going to end up dead anyway? I think it's clear that if I was in charge I would treat these things with the utmost respect - I love animals - but when it's all said and done, I'm with you. I love meat. I am all for somebody else coming in and cleaning up the mess these guys may be making... just give me my chicken fried steak and don't tell me how he killed it.

As the years go on, though, I am slowly becoming more interested in things like what the cows were fed, what preservatives were used, etc. I can't tell you much about it all right now, but I am definitely going green at rapid pace.

JBW said...

Good for you, dude. I actually don't eat veal either. Again, I know it's just hypocrisy to still eat the adults but I'm trying. I think most Americans would be in favor of more humane treatment of farm animals if they knew what was going on at these places but the industry and whoever else have painted the people who do care (vegans, PETA members, etc.) as crazy loons and it has diminished their message.