Lab grown meat pros and cons
Lab grown meat, also known as cultured meat, cell-based meat, clean meat, and dare I say “Franken-meat” has certain pros and cons.
It is more sustainable
There is no doubt that lab grown meat is a more sustainable solution. From an environmental standpoint this means less water is used to produce meat, less methane gas is put into the atmosphere, and it’s overall a much cleaner solution than factory farming.
The animals suffer less (or not at all)
It is true that you can create cultured meat from an animal that does not end up going to slaughter. However, the reality is that many of the animals that will be used for research and development purposes are probably animals that are on the slaughter lines anyways. With that being said, we can have a future where we are eating meat and no new animals will be killed for each bite we take.
It has less bacteria
I’ll wrap this one into the “there are no antibiotics” discussion. Since cultured meat, or for this purpose we will call it clean meat, has is grown in a sterile environment, there is little bacteria that is produced when producing the meat. This means that the meat that we eat will be free of many potential diseases. A lot of the antibiotics and drugs that are used to treat sick livestock animals will no longer be necessary.
We are many years from producing large quantities
Many of the companies that are pioneering the field, such as Mosa Meats, claim that we are still quite a few years out from creating cultured meat. Some of the companies are mentioning that 2020 or 2021 will be the year that they start producing cultured meat for the public. However, this is a vague statement and even by 2021 we are not sure what types of quantities will be released. Surely not even a fraction of the amount of meat such as beef or poultry produced from current animal agriculture.
It is very expensive to produce
Right now, there are many companies in the research and development phases of creating cultured meat. This means that many dollars need to be spent before major advancements in the field occur. With that being said, consider that by the time the iPhone was released, about $1 Billion of research and development had been put in. As of Summer 2018 we have less than $100 Million invested into clean meat companies and about $700 Million invested in Cellular Agriculture companies in general.
We don’t know how to regulate it
Another issue that we are currently facing is that we are note sure how to regulate it. In the United States, there are several organizations that are fighting over what it should be called, who tests for safety, and which governing body can regulate it. This could push development even farther back, especially if the meat and dairy industry want to push against it or if the animal welfare organizations don’t make a strong enough case for the entire nation. Some organizations within the animal welfare movement don’t even believe in the technology.
Overall, there are pros and cons to each new technology that come about. The best thing to consider with new technologies is that a realistic approach will be the most sensible and pragmatic. What do you think about cultured meat? Let us know on twitter @cmsymp.
Interested in learning more about Cultured Meat? The Cultured Meat Symposium is taking place in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th. Learn more and RSVP at www.cms19.com.