Technology is taking us to all kinds of new and unexpected places, and of those places might just be the most animal-friendly way to eat chicken possible. The Times of Israel has an interesting story about the potential pitfalls facing a startup called SuperMeat, which wants to grow actual meat from animal cells without harming or killing any animals themselves.
SuperMeat, which has a vegan co-founder, wants to create a real meat substitute — all the great taste, none of the ethical concerns. This is nothing like tofurkey, either — what SuperMeat wants to make is actual meat, indistinguishable from beef, chicken, or pork that came from a dead animal.
It’s not just interesting for vegans who want meat without the murder. The prospect of being able to grow genuine meat, with all the nutritional value that comes with it, could in theory be a huge weapon in the fight against hunger worldwide. If the technology becomes cheaper as time passes, getting much-needed calories to communities around the world in need could become much easier than it is now — although that’s no sure thing, as there’s a strong argument that world hunger is a distribution problem, not a supply problem.
Still, there are hurdles. The Times of Israel report focuses on the questions from two communities — vegans themselves and the Jewish faith. There are elements of the former who would argue that veganism says meat is not only murder, but unnecessary from a nutritional standpoint — promoting faux meat would undermine that tenet. Meanwhile, rabbis have not yet reached a consensus on whether or not SuperMeat would be kosher — basically, whether or not it should be considered actual meat under religious law. If the consensus is that is that meat grown from animal cells isn’t actually meat, that would make cultured pork kosher, which would be a very significant cultural shift.
That’s to say nothing of objections that would be raised from those suspicious of genetically modified foods and from those who don’t trust the startup community with something as important as food (and in fairness, a certain blood testing company hasn’t given people much reason to be trusting). There’s also the agricultural industry, including farmers who could feel threatened by this new technology, which even at the outset would be both a much cheaper way of producing meat and more environmentally friendly. We expect this to become quite the controversy in time, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the startup timeline. SuperMeat is only at the crowdfunding stage, currently looking for $100,000 on Indiegogo.
Via Times of Israel