Sunday, February 15, 2009

In Vitro Meat: Food of the Future?

Scientists have come a long way with things, such as in vitro fertilization, but are they going a little too far with in vitro meat? This article talks about how in vitro meat may be the next best thing for the world. In simplest terms, in vitro meat is meat produced by using "animal stem cells that would be placed in a medium to grow and reproduce. The result would mimic flesh and could be cooked and eaten." People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (a.k.a. PETA) is currently offering a $1 million dollar reward to the first scientist that is able to produce and bring in vitro meat to the market. For additional information on the contest, click here. According to PETA, in the United States alone, there are more than 40 billion animals, which include chicken, fish, cows, and pigs, that are killed every year in the most inhumane ways. Therefore, in vitro meat is being introduced as an alternative.

There are several advantages of in vitro meat. One is that it would prevent the cruel treatment to animals that are being held in "animal factories." In vitro meat is "victimless" meat. No animals are harmed during the production of it. Another advantage is that no parts of animals go to waste. Through in vitro, only the desired parts are grown; ergo, nothing is wasted. Cultured meat also has the potential of being healthier than regular meat. New Harvest, an organization that supports advances in meat substitutes, stresses that "food-borne diseases - most commonly caused by contaminated meats - are responsible for more than 76 million episodes of illness, 325,000 admissions to hospital and 5,000 deaths each year in America."

I think the government should provide funding to the advancement of in vitro meat production. I do not see why anyone would be opposed to this idea. Scientists' aim is to improve the health of people by providing a healthier alternative and to stop the inhumane treatment and the slaughtering of animals. Cultured meat will lead to a healthier society and less animals killed.

Could in vitro meat be the food of the future? If it will look, smell, feel, and taste just like meat taken from a live animal, it is very possible that it will replace slaughtered meat.

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