The idea of producing large quantities of meat via petri dishes has been spoken of off and on lately. PETA has also issued a prize offer of $1 million for the first to come up with consumer available in vitro meat by 2012. So the question needs to be asked, would you eat petri dish meat?
NASA has actually been working on growing petri dish meat for some time now as part of their experimentations in space. Their experiments have shown that you can in fact grow meat in a petri dish, but very small amounts. Apparently, anyone trying to grow ”life-like” meat would have a tedious process ahead of them. The process begins by taking cells from different tissues (aka fat and muscle) and to isolate these cells, then have them divide in thousands of more cells. Companies interested in pursuing in vitro meat think that the best way to produce the meat would be to grow it in single layers on large trays. Once this single layer grows, they would then stretch these cells (apparently no stretching=mushy meat). Once all that is done, the scientists would have to begin stacking layers to produce large pieces of meat (unless they were going for single cell layers of meat, which I doubt!).
According to numerous sources, the meat would be engineered to fit dietary standards. Scientists could lower Omega-6 levels, pre-determine fat and most likely add nutrients. So technically this would be right up there with genetic modification. How safe would this meat be exactly?
Scientists claim that they could, sometime in the future, easily produce Spam-like meat for a hefty price. Petri dish meat that tastes like regular meat seems to be much farther off. But some scientists go as far to say that “meat machines” will be commonplace in a home, right next to a toaster, years in the future. Seriously??
Between PETA’s plea and scientists using environmental and animal issues as reasons for growing petri dish meat, it seems as though petri dish is somewhat being geared towards vegetarians. Sure companies growing this meat would want everyone eating it since vegetarians account for a small percentage of people. Scientists also point to the fact that China’s meat consumption doubles every 10 years (perhaps faster at this point) and India’s poultry consumption is doubling every 5 years. Needless to say, meat eaters are concerned there won’t be enough meat (I feel so bad for them!).
So my question is this: Would you consume petri dish meat?
Personally I would not. I do not care for the idea of consuming meat, no matter where it came from. This will not stop people from seeing animals as commodities and instead as individual beings. Going from previous knowledge of us humans, I doubt that animal lives will stop being taken. There will always be those who think it is foolish to eat it from a petri dish when they could get it from the animal (aka hunters, one of my least favorite groups….don’t get me started!). Plus, where is the guarantee that animals still won’t be caged and experiments done on them to produce the best CELLS for human consumption? I mean come on! We all know scientists would do this. They would claim they can adjust cells best by feeding the animals this or that and injecting them with a plethora of things. I don’t trust this petri dish excursion in the least. Sure, the potential to decrease the number of animals killed on factory farms etc. is possible. But I prefer the idyllic image of no animals slaughtered, no animal cells eaten (from a petri dish or from the deceased being) and no animals in cages for the supposed “advancement” of man. (Anyone wishing to argue that animals in labs do advance human science/medicine etc, please read up. There are many tests available that use human tissue cells that give much more valid data than any animal could. Plus, scientists constantly use animals that have no connection or validation towards humans whatsoever. Take for instance March of Dimes, they frequently do studies on animals that have completely different reproductive systems than humans. You tell me how that is supposed to help combat problems with HUMAN infants and fetuses!) Sorry, went off on a little tangent there! Also, I don’t trust scientists to just stick with the “main meats” either. Who is to say they won’t venture into other meats to mass produce? Will they be going around zoos collecting cells from those animals too?!?! (Well we all know they just wouldn’t go to zoos, they’d lock the animal up somewhere else, but you get my point.)
So, in short, I would not consume petri dish meat. Period. I’ll stick to my seitan, tofu and tempeh thanks!
I have decided to have a poll for this particular topic. Please take part in the poll and let me know why you chose that particular answer in a comment! Thanks! The poll can be found on the side of my blog, below everything. It can also be found here. This is my first poll on the blog so we’ll see how it works out!