petriburger“It’s not natural, normal or kind – the flesh you so fancifully fry is murder” . Morrissey’s words to The Smiths’ Meat Is Murder still speak for vegetarians the world over.

I am one of them, not having eaten meat or fish for the best part of 40 years, most of my adult life.

The arguments for a vegetarian diet are environmental as well as ethical:

  • Global meat demand is estimated to increase by 73% by 2050. But we already use 70% of farm land for livestock
  • Livestock farming for meat is responsible for ~18% of all greenhouse emissions, more than all global transport combined

This is why scientists have invented a meat product that is not natural and normal but is kind in that no animal is ‘murdered’.

Cultured beef takes the muscle cells from a living cow, grows them in a lab to produce muscle tissue, the main component of the meat carnivores consume.

The leader of the team behind these ‘petri-burgers’ is Mark Post, Professor of Physiology at Maastricht University.

In a promotional video to advertise it, Richard Wrangham, Professor of Biological Anthroplogy at Harvard talks bollocks about why he reckons we need meat, making reference to how hunters and gatherers were a fundamental part of human evolution.

He conveniently fails to mention that only hunting most people have to do these days is to find the butcher’s on the high street or the meat counter at the supermarket.

Rather than giving us bigger brains or greater strength, meat is more likely to block arteries and cause heart disease.

One of the big financiers of Cultured Beef is Sergy Brin, co-founder of Google. In the promo video he looks a dick with lens-free Google Glasses© but makes some good points about the way intensive farming is unacceptable in this day and age.

This Sci-Fi food grown in the lab makes sense in environmental terms but, while it will mean that not all meat is murder, meat is still meat and the health consequences of mass burger consumption remain unchanged.

I won’t be queueing up to taste it.