Why “clean meat” is good for the planet

Environmentally friendly, animal cruelty-free and possibly a solution to the world’s food shortage problem, lab-grown meat is being cultivated in countries around the world for their global benefits, with Israel and the US at the forefront of research and development.  

Proponents and advocates say lab-grown meat is tasty and better for the environment than conventional meat. They say it consumes less water, energy and land space, produces fewer greenhouse gases, as well as reduces animal suffering.

According to an article in the New York Post, agriculture is estimated to generate around 13 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, with livestock alone responsible for two-thirds of those emissions, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation. That’s a pretty big proportion just to fill our stomachs.

Clean meat sounds like a global panacea – tackling emissions, animal cruelty and global food shortages as a result of burgeoning populations – providing three intrinsic reasons that has gained the support of the Effective Altruism movement that believes in taking actions that help others as much as possible. In this case, animals.

But at the moment, research and testing aren’t coming cheaply and mass banquets of clean meat foods are still some time away from gracing our dinner tables.

But what actually is clean meat composed of and how is it made?

According to cleanmeat.org, creating clean meat involves ground breaking technology which does away with the need for environmentally destructive factory farms and slaughterhouses, instead being produced in labs by taking a small sample of animal cells and replicating them in a culture outside of the animal - a technology akin to stem cells.

The resulting product is 100 percent real meat, but without the antibiotics, E. coli, salmonella, or waste contamination – all of which come standard in conventional meat production, an article by Forbes revealed.

“Producing meat is very inefficient,” Yaakov Nahmias, a bioengineering professor at Hebrew University and founder of Future Meat Technologies, told the New York Post. Cultured meat, by comparison, consumes “10 times less water, less land, less energy than the current meat production.”

Seems like everyone's a winner if this technology delivers.

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