Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Artificial meat - the end to world hunger....or not?

An article shared by Yeovil and Somerset Vegetarians on my Facebook page, prompted me to write this post. It stated that the Japanese are developing a new meat-like food stuff made with protein from bacteria, extracted from human waste. After reading the article, I had to check the date, to see if it was written on April the 1st!

Then, last Sunday, I read a very interesting, but scary article in the Sunday Times newspaper about in vitro meat (an update from this previous article.)  Apparently scientists have managed to produce small quantities in the lab and think that mass-produced cultured meat could be a reality within the next 10 years.

I was slightly surprised to find PETA are promoting this research, despite their reasoning that in vitro meat could save the unnecessary slaughter of farm animals, reduce carbon emissions and could help tackle famine.

Famine is something that we would all surely like to end. As far as I understand, and I could be wrong, it's known that if the entire world's population turned vegetarian, we would, in theory, all have enough food to eat - Around 70% of the world's agricultural land is currently used to grow food to feed and raise livestock, instead of being used to grow plant-based food for humans. As a bonus, carbon emissions would be significantly reduced, as farmed animals produce approximately 20% of our global greenhouse-gas emissions.

Now, I'm not saying that the world going vegan or vegetarian is likely, or even possible (as this is a totally idealistic argument), but a diet more like that of our ancestors, containing just a little meat or fish along side plenty of plant-derived foods, would surely go along way to feeding the starving millions, and would help to improve the health of people globally.

We already have the option of eating non-meat alternatives such as soya, tofu and Quorn which are all low in fat, high in protein and cheaper to produce than meat - so why do we need a version which contains animal cells? I'll certainly be sticking to my veggie diet, whatever the scientists come up with!

What do you think...are you for or against cultured meats and do you think they could be the answer to world hunger?

Read more about in vitro meat here.
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  1. Just came across your blog and LOVE it! You are totally right - I've read that if we all stopped eating meat then, with the amount of grain, etc that is produced at the moment to feed the animals we eat, we could feed everyone until 2050!
    Not sure about test tube meat - don't we have enough meat substitutes made out of vegetable protein to satisfy us if we really want the taste? It sounds a bit ridiculous to me but I guess some people can't seem to fathom the idea of a meat-free world and we can't keep going the way we are going - our beautiful planet just doesn't seem to be able to take it anymore!
    It's funny that you are talking about this as I read some statistics this morning that said that 93% of Australians are against animal cruelty but less than 5% are vegetarians - we just don't seem to be able to get the connection. Not sure that this is the answer though - it sounds like it is literally grown from our own poo! Ewwwww

    Mandy x

  2. Oh, thanks Mandy, that's very kind of you.
    I'm glad I'm not the only who who thinks like that!

  3. What an interesting article! I too think people eat way too much meat, it's not healthy! I'm not sure about in vitro meats, I don't really like to eat food that sounds too processed or fake.. although I do! That Japanese idea is disgusting though!

  4. Thanks for your comment Rose :-)


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