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.