There are a lot of problems with the meat industry these days, no one can deny that. But what is the best way to a solution?

Around the World there are many animal factories where “farmers” grow their cows, pigs and chickens in a record time to adulthood. With medication, hormones and food that contains ingredients they would normally never eat. Sometimes these animals grow so fast, that they cannot even stand on their legs. So raising them in a healthy way is not really happening at most farms, because getting them to a slaughterhouse one day sooner, will have the farmers cash their “product” faster. In these days: time is money.

Most people do not see the animal anymore when they eat a piece of meat. They look at the price, and the cheaper the meat is, the better. Most people do not think about how these animals are raised and slaughtered, and in what conditions. Because if they would see it and think about it, a normal person would have difficulty eating the meat. Linda & Paul McCartney used to say: “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”.So most people leave their feelings and heart at the door of the Supermarket and buy products for their price and not much their quality. Because it can go only one way: price or quality. You can’t have it both ways. We can all agree that chickens that can barely stand on their own feet because of the weight they have to carry with them, are probably not as healthy as organically raised chicken that are given time, the proper care and the right nutrition. The same goes for every other animal that is raised in a factory-way for their meat.

So is in vitro meat the solution?

We have to realize with everything we do, that WE ARE THE SOLUTION. Every time we buy something, we give a signal to that particular producer to keep making that product. A consumer is the King. Whatever we want, companies will produce.

So if you keep buying cheap meat, they will continue to offer cheap meat with all the bad production methods that come with it. It is all about what the market is asking of producers to make, and this counts for every kind of product. So if you start buying organic meat, you are giving the signal to the farmer that you want that product. And more companies will see that and want to offer the same product. This way the product will eventually get cheaper too, because right now organic meat is still very expensive for most people. (Remember: quality costs money, so organic meat will always cost more than the inhumanly raised cattle meat) But to be honest: you don’t need to eat meat every day to get the right nutrition, so if you would stop eating meat daily, to only twice a week and making it organic, in the end you are spending the same amount of money, but in the right way! Organic just has better energy around it, and will be better for your karma!

A lot of people are also drastically changing their eating habits, and stop eating meat all together. Mostly because they don’t agree with what the World has become and how we treat our animals.Like any drastic change in diet is hard on the body, just stop eating meat from one day to another, is not so good either. You need time to adjust. But what if there are other ways besides organic meat, that are so animal friendly that no animal would be harmed, would they consume that?

One recent development is that a Dutch laboratory from the Maastricht University has managed to grow “in vitro meat’, or cultured beef as they call it,  by using stem cells/muscle cells from a cow, and growing it in the laboratory. Professor Mark Post was the one initiating and working on this project. This “Frankenburger”  was very expensive to make ( Pounds) took 5 years to develop, and has about 40 billion cells. It was said that Google entrepreneur Sergey Brin came up with the first investment for this cultured beef. It is very expensive now, but once this development continues, they will get the price down.

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Is that the solution? Growing in vitro meat in a laboratory? If the nutritional values are the same as regular meat, and no animals are hurt, will animal organizations be supportive? And what about the ethical aspects: Is it weird or o.k. to eat meat that was grown in a laboratory. Is it healthy for humans to consume this? Are any hormones or medications added? And foremost: how will it taste? Many questions need to be answered before this can be produced on a large scale, but it is definitely interesting. Besides the options: meat-eater, organic meat eater and no meat eater, there will be an option in vitro meateater.

And if this in vitro meat can be produced on a large scale, will this be a solution, and will it end all the many cattle farms around the World? Will it stop a large part of daily animal abuse we are all getting used to? Will that also be a positive influence on nature and the climate? Because the methane producing cattle is one of the biggest contributing factors in the recent climate change scientists claim.

cultured burgerThe überexpensive cultured beef burger today.

I watched  Professor Mark Post present this first in vitro meat burger made of “cultured beef” to the public  in London on August 5th. A chef grilled the burger, and a test panel of 3 people (including professor Mark Post) tried the burger. The result: the texture was quite similar to regular meat, and since it is only made of muscle cells, it was very lean. (this could be food that the fitness world will love for that reason!) After that there was a Q &A with Professor Mark Post. He mentioned it would take about 10 to 20 years before this cultured meat can get on to the market. But it could be a solution in his eyes to the arising problems of feeding the World that will become more problematic in the future.

One quote that stuck with me by Professor Mark Post: “being vegetarian is still better for the environment than eating meat, but cultured beef is a good alternative for the environment”.

Later on there will be a taste “battle” between their in vitro meat and the vegetarian hamburger of ” De Vegetarische Slager” from the Hague I read on their website. I tried hat MC2 hamburger from De Vegetarische Slager (Vegetarian Butcher) and it was really delicious I must say! I have been not eating meat for almost 8 years now, and I don’t miss the texture or flavor at all. I stopped eating meat mostly because it gave me a stomach ache a lot of times. But I have to say, the way we treat these animals was definitely also a deciding factor. So far this vegetarian burger was a good alternative to a burger for me, I am sure it can fool meat eaters too.

MC2 burgerPicture:  the MC2 burger, and lupin fake chicken satay I ate during my last visit to The Vegetarian Butcher in The Hague, the Netherlands.

I think everyone should decide for themselves what diet works best , but I think we can all agree that almost every person who eats meat would want to eat meat without animal abuse and torture. It is just common sense. So maybe this cultured beef/ in vitro meat is not that bad of a development. We will stay tuned to see if this in vitro meat/cultured beef/cultured burger will come on the market.

Love, Lonneke

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Read more:

Vegetarian Butcher | Maastricht University | The Guardian