If you’re either a George Orwell or a Margaret Atwood fanatic, you might be well prepared for oddities of the future, namely the way that the world of tomorrow will handle the meat industry. In 2013, the first fake, synthetic meat produce was consumed, having been developed entirely by synthetic cell cultivation – or to put it simply, growing meat in laboratories.
Mind blowing, terrifying, unnatural: growing animal meat is complete lunacy, but get on board kids, it’s happening. Perhaps it’s not all doom and gloom though. Perhaps it’s also one of society’s most crucial breakthroughs. We tried to break down some of the foreseen positives and negatives of the mind boggling industry.
No more animal slaughter
Obvious perhaps, the future looks bright for our animal friends. If you grow animal flesh in test tubes, the ones with brains can avoid slaughter. Morally mindbending. More than 70 billion animals are currently slaughtered each year to feed the human obsession with meat and animal produce consumption. Remember that there are less than 8 billion humans in existence and those figures are kind of mad.
It could actually be healthy
With omega 3 as an ingrained part of the package, the freaky flesh will, so we’re told, eventually come with the choice to add the ‘right’ fats, derailing our fast train to a society plagued by obesity and other related health issues.
The flavour will improve
Research is continually pushing for taste improvements, with scientists working on optimizing the produce to suit our taste buds.
One of the most concerning issues related to the current meat production industry is the environmental concern at a pinnacle point in human history. Raising animals for consumption accounts for a greater impact on the worlds negative energy emissions than all vehicles combined. Worth some serious consideration.
Time & money
Artificial meat is yet to be commercially available, probably due to current costs and time weights. When the first artificial piece of meat was put out to be tasted, the low end price was US $300,000 and required three months production time.
Meat from the future has not yet managed to implement fat – our main flavour enhancer, so who’s interested, right? Where the consistency may be familiar, the taste isn’t yet at the level that we’ve become accustomed to. Ain’t got nothin’ on sunday morning bacon.
The rough cuts
The imitations aren’t able to replicate the best beef cuts such as beef tenderloin, which kind of deems the whole process unnecessary, especially if you consider the already existing ‘meat alternative’ produce such as quorn or soy. To produce tissue that holds together with density replicated a sirloin steak is going to require further research and time. First we’ll have to get used to the inexpensive minced meat replicas.
During day to day life, it’s fairly easy to ignore ‘the future’ and as it happens but with developments like the lab meat uprising, it becomes a little easier to realise how quickly we are becoming something from a far-fetched dystopian novel. Rather than let it sweep over us, surely we must consider the unusual ethical and moral concerns surrounding home grown animal flesh. Is this really the right direction for humanity?
So the question stands. Does the future play host to a majority vegan society, or will our minds and taste buds stay fixated on one of society’s oldest industries? The way things are going, we’ll find out before the decade is out.