PETA’s Prize for Artificial Meat

Not sure how I missed this one, back in April.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has offered a $1 million prize to the “first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices.” Why? PETA suggests that artificial meat would not only help avoid animal cruelty, but would also avoid much of the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with traditional animal agriculture.

It’s an interesting strategy, for an activist group to offer not just sticks, but carrots. That is, if PETA’s goal really is to stimulate food science, rather than just to gain publicity (best guess: it’s likely both.)

One problem: The world’s biggest producer of meats, Tyson Foods would be an obvious place to look to for developments in food science. But Tyson has annual profits of about $1.4 billion. So, that $1 million PETA is offering represents about 6 hours’ profits for Tyson.

That doesn’t mean PETA’s strategy is a bad one. Of course, convincing the meat industry to develop synthetic meat may not be as hard as convincing consumers to consume it. (But one final thought on that note: though the idea of artificial, lab-grown meat may score high on some people’s gross-out scales, consider the possibilities that synthetic meat provides for fine-tuning the taste and nutrition of foods. Imagine a veal cutlet was not just produced cruelty-free, but that tastes better than real veal, and is healthier for you.)

1 comment so far

  1. OlafCalderon on

    It is obvious that in the last decade or so, we’ve come to an awakening about our destructive ways of survival. It’s been rather quite the opposite. We’ve been killing ourselves little by little everytime we allow such industries as the meat industry, oil, farming, so on and son, to evolve into such powerful entities where profits override lives, health and sustainability. But the days are numbered because OUR own days are running out to try something else.

    artificial, lab-grown meat – yes, it may score high on people’s gross-out scales. However, this is true ONLY if the breeding and slaughtering of animals is not on that scale.

    Personally, I cannot go without a good steak, ground beef and chicken. EVENTHOUGH I know of all that goes on. I realize I cannot change the world myself by avoiding these foods. In fact, the only “solution” would be for everyone to turn vegetarian in which case we would push the continuing destruction of land for farming. We’re screwed either way and there’s only one way to go. We can live off of pills to give us our balanced nutrition, so why not make it look like steak or chicken?

    Imagine never having to worry about whether meat is bad, or not tasting as good as another or ACTUALLY KNOWING that the meat you ate did not come from a suffering animal?

    I think if we can drive people to buy Hybrids – we can definitely get them to eat synthetic meat.

    My thoughts –

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