In 2013, the world’s first lab-grown burger was unveiled to the world. It carried a $330,000 price tag, and apparently, it wasn’t all that tasty. But the scientists behind the idea have been hard at work, and artificial meat that’s both cost-effective and palatable may arrive sooner than we think.
It’s not just cow-free beef burgers on the future menu — several groups around the world are attempting to clone chicken breasts and fish fillets, as well. Why do scientists want to grow meat in vats instead of on animals, and how close are we to actually accomplishing it?
The Big Resource Hog
The arguments for growing so-called ‘cultured’ meat are as wide-ranging as the reasons people decide to become vegetarian or vegan. If you’re not vegetarian or vegan, you’ve probably received a mouthful on this subject from a friend or family member before, so I’m going to keep it brief and focus on the argument cultured meat proponents seem to embrace the most: Sustainability.
The meat industry is a huge contributor to humanity’s environmental footprint, accounting for some 18% of our total greenhouse gas emissions. And that number’s deceptively low, because it includes roughly 40% of methane and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions, which are respectively 23 and nearly 300 times more potent climate warming agents than carbon dioxide. What’s more, the environmental footprint of livestock production is growing fast. By 2050, global meat production is projected to double from its 1999 levels, according to the FAO. At that time, the FAO writes, “The environmental impact per unit livestock must be cut by half, just to avoid increasing the level of damage beyond its present level.”…
[continues at Gizmodo]