Forget pink slime.Here at Via Meadia we’ve been following another meat story: the underfunded effort of scientists around the world to save the planet and feed the world by generating tasty cuts of meat from stem cells in labs. Governments aren’t helping — probably because the ag lobby doesn’t want cows made obsolete and in any case Solyndra and the ethanol pirates have better Washington connections — but this research would potentially do more for the environment than the entire environmental movement to date has managed to accomplish.The energy savings from shifting to field raise to lab grown meat for at least some of the world’s food supply are huge; the health benefits are substantial. The rain forests would flourish unharmed, methane from vast herds of meat cows would no longer be emitted into the atmosphere by flatulent bovines, and, no small consideration in our view, the cruelty of industrialized agriculture and slaughterhouses would become largely a thing of the past.PETA gets it, and is funding experiments to produce lab grown, cruelty-free meat. One hopes a smart government without a strong ag lobby (are you reading me Singapore? UAE?) will step into the picture and help build a biological industry that could change the world and bring both food security and lots of patent rights to the jurisdiction that makes the right investments on the right scale.The FT has an update on the slow but continuing progress and the obstacles that remain. The world’s first shamburger, made entirely of vat-grown meat, is going to be costly: something like €250,000 — if the euro is still with us when that first, delectable shamburger comes out of the lab.We hope you get a side of fries with that, but seriously, this is exactly the kind of innovation that ensures that the 21st century provides more innovation and change than any time period since human life began. The synthesis of the farm, factory and the lab into new systems of production is going to play a growing role in economic and social life growing forward. Hacking the genetic code could well turn out to be the most consequential development since the domestication of fire; brace yourselves for big changes, and get ready for tasty, nutritious and cruelty-free faux fowl, fakon and shamburgers to appear on menus and grocery shelves all over the world.
From Mystery Meat To Faux Fowl