What if you didn’t have to kill the cow to get the meat? No, we’re not talking about cutting the cow’s leg off and eating it and then letting it sadly hobble around. That’s just cruel. We’re talking about “test tube meat.” There’s a new initiative to grow real animal protein in a lab, which has a lot of benefits, and not only for cows. Even though it sounds ultra creepy.
The meat and dairy industries account for a bigger chunk of greenhouse gasses than the entire global transportation industry. This is because cows burp methane when they eat, which is about 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Essentially, this means that going vegan reduces your carbon footprint much more drastically than buying a fuel efficient car.
But what if you don’t have to go vegan? This is why, on a PETA initiative offering one million bucks to the first guys to offer lab-grown meat, we’re starting to really work on the idea. Supposedly, it could start being mass produced in as little as 10 years. Want to hear some crazy quotes? OK.
“Cultured meat would have a lot of advantages,” said Jason Matheny of research group New Harvest. “We could precisely control the amount of fat in meat. We could make ground beef with an ideal fatty acid ratio — a hamburger that prevents heart attacks instead of causing them.” Not only that, but reducing animal-farming-originated diseases like…Swine Flu! Or Mad Cow disease.
Thermodynamically speaking, whenever you go up a trophic level, you lose about 90% of the energy that goes into the process. Meaning, the transfer of energy from cow feed to cow is about 10% efficient. Grow meat in a lab, and you can increase that ratio by a heck of a lot, drastically reducing the cost of meat.
A study by at the University of Oxford even suggested that cultured meat would reduce the carbon emissions of meat production by more than 80%.
Now the trick is to get the public to buy the stuff and eat it. The world is certainly getting stranger by the day…