Saturday, July 09, 2005

Brave New Big Mac

This is interesting -- meat grown in a lab, without the moral and environmental problems of raising and killing live animals, and with the benefits of better nutrition:

"There would be a lot of benefits from cultured meat," says Matheny, who studies agricultural economics and public health. "For one thing, you could control the nutrients. For example, most meats are high in the fatty acid Omega 6, which can cause high cholesterol and other health problems. With in vitro meat, you could replace that with Omega 3, which is a healthy fat.

"Cultured meat could also reduce the pollution that results from raising livestock, and you wouldn't need the drugs that are used on animals raised for meat."

Naturally, there's also a Wikipedia entry on "in-vitro meat." (If they want to market this stuff, they are going to need to change the name.)

Alex Tabarrok thinks that this will give new impetus to groups such as PETA. They will be able to make the argument that there's no longer any need for meat from traditional livestock production. But what about vegans, who blend nutritional concerns with the humanitarian? One tenet of the creed may disappear. And while this sounds like a good deal for cows, it's also kind of creepy, like we're one step closer to Soylent Green.