Should Cultured Meat Become the Norm?

Group 38

Cultured meat used to be science fiction, but it is rapidly becoming reality: In 2013, the first lab-grown hamburger was produced, costing $250,000. By 2021, Mosa Meat hopes to commercialise cultured meat. Manufacturers claim cultured meat could slash agricultural emissions while meeting rising global food demand. But, is manipulating life this way a step too far?

It’s a sizzling topic online, even the subject of a Buzzfeed video.

It’s a meaty issue: should cultured meat become the norm? Let’s sink our teeth into this.

Making Ends Meat

To demonstrate the advantages, a utilitarian argument can be applied to slaughter-free meat. This is applicable in that slaughter-free or ‘cultured’ meat benefits the most people when compared to traditional farming methods, because the process of growing beef in a laboratory is much more efficient than raising animals. Therefore many more people can be fed using the same land and energy resources, and crops currently used as animal feed could be used for humans instead. Access to food is a basic human right, and adopting this approach to producing meat could help to reduce world hunger.

A major benefit of slaughter-free meat is that it removes many of the issues related to factory farming. From a deontological point of view, a system that harms animals and causes climate change, that can negatively impact our society, is not an ethically sound idea. Therefore, through Kantism, the fact that slaughter-free meat can alleviate these issues makes it a much more ethically viable option.

Another issue with current farming methods is the use of antibiotics in animals bred for slaughter which leads to antibiotic resistance and water pollution. As well as removing this health concern, cultured meat can also lower the risk of disease. Traditional meat sources have multiple food-borne micro-organisms that can cause severe harm to human health. Beef and chicken have been deemed the most high-risk offenders for food poisoning, and are also large contributors to global warming.

Numerous companies, including some of the biggest US meat providers, have made great strides in lab-grown beef. This method of producing meat could also be deemed more ethical through both a virtue ethics and consequentialist lens. As the intention behind pursuing this technology is to provide a more responsible alternative to meat farming, it can be deemed a virtuous pursuit. The consequences of cultured meat include; producing a healthy meat product, reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising cattle , increased health benefits and decreasing deforestation and water pollution. Animals raised for food produce 130 times more waste water than the entire human populationcombined.

It’s clear that with current farming methods the meat industry is not sustainable. A sustainable food source is particularly important with a growing population. The traditional opposition to this has been a plant based diet. However, cultured meat presents a far more feasible alternative as the vast majority of people do not identify as vegetarian. Therefore, integrating slaughter-free meat into our diets is much more viable than moving society to plant based diets. This slaughter-free approach removes many of the issues associated with the meat industry without changing the diets of the population and can therefore be seen as beneficial for society as a whole.

What’s the beef with cultured meat?

One in three workers worldwide are employed in agriculture. Cultured meat could supersede traditional meat and put agricultural jobs at risk. The utilitarian view says this is an acceptable side effect. Kant counters this: humanity should be treated as an end, not a mean so risking agricultural jobs is immoral, despite a positive intention.

Recent evidence links consumption of red meat to chronic diseases, including a 19% higher risk of advanced prostate cancer and a 15% increase in cardiovascular mortality. The development of synthetic meat could encourage greater consumption of meat, especially among people who reduce meat consumption for ethical or environmental reasons. Proliferation of products harmful to consumer health is a breach of the responsibility of food manufacturers to its consumers, suggested by care ethics.

By considering the virtue of cultured meat consumption, Dr Carlo Alvaro argues that the consumption of cultured meat is contrary to temperance. Plant based food is abundant, delicious, healthy and natural so why neglect this option? The desire to consume meat comes from an animalistic appetite for its taste, but a temperate individual would instead consider the health benefits of a plant-based diet and avoid indulging in meat.

In 2013, there were 500 million smallholder farmers who often farm for subsistence and only sell small amounts to their local communities. The technical resources required for cultured meat means it could not be produced self sufficiently and could make communities depend on large corporations for food. Will they always act benevolently? Even if they do, there will be reduced moral autonomy as the ethical decisions behind food production are transferred to corporations.
Many religious groups could oppose cultured meat because of their values. Islamic jurists have not decided whether meat grown from embryonic stem cells or samples from live specimens would be halal. In Hinduism, it is normal to abstain from consuming meat because they do not share the Western principle of the man’s dominion over animals. Even if the animal is not slaughtered, many Hindus believe that humans do not have the right to use cells that are not their own. Kantian ethics states that nothing should be done if it can’t be universalized. If cultured meat cannot be considered halal then it cannot be universalised. For many major world religions the issue is not just with the consumption of lab grown meat but with the development of the technology itself. These religions, including Islam, Hinduism and Christianity have a core principle that people should not intervene with nature or “play god”. Using stem cells or embryos is often a controversial subject within these cultures.

Food for thought

Despite the concerns we believe that lab grown meat is an ethical solution to growing problems in the meat industry.

63 thoughts on “Should Cultured Meat Become the Norm?

  1. Whilst lab grown meat is preferable to raising animals for slaughter; it still consumes more energy than a plant based diet (due to the lab conditions required) and doesn’t address the route cause of the problem, human over consumption.

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts,
      I would be inclined to agree with you however I think the issue occurs with you can’t easily change human behaviour and so little of the population have a plant based diet and it seems unlikely that there will be a mass change. Could this be an inbetween?

    2. Interesting read – society has to ask itsself why waste millions of dollars and wonderful minds in curating cultured meat there is really nothing ‘cultural’ about it. These resources we have should be used to promote vegetarianism and moving society to a healthier relationship with food. Today we eat such large quantities of meat because it’s cheap, thus by creating a ‘fake’ meat we would be compounding the problem. Further to this we must consider the medical side affects of such a process. Remenber prior to the 1940’s smoking was good for you. We should let animals grow in their skin and not a lab, and just eat the small amount of proteins we need and avoid greed. Use science to save lives not kill them.

  2. If cultured meat does become the norm, and as you say will put agricultural jobs at risk. This could cause massive upset and outrage, as the agricultural industry is built up on many family farms that have been in families for generations and therefore it is giving up a part of their history especially in more developing countries.

    1. This is an interesting point, thank you. I guess it invites the question; would it reduce the jobs or displace them? Could the people previously working in agriculture move to a working in the slaughter-free industry?

  3. With the current political climate surrounding global warming, I feel addressing any issue that could alleviate stress on the planet would be in most people’s best interest. If priced accordingly, I feel people would not lean towards red meat over other white meats and vegetables, but as stated that is personal choice and up to the individual to decide what is best.

    Regarding the ethics of creating meat from stem cells, I do not find this to be unethical as it could have parallels drawn to creating a life in a lab for parents that could not have children on their own, something I feel almost all would support.

    Finally, regarding loss of the farming industry, I believe many people had the same concerns when moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, and many of those proved to be unfounded. I believe that any pressure we can remove from the planet would long term be in all of our favour.

  4. I wonder about the unintended consequences. If cultured meat is scaled to the highest degree to help the most people, what would be the effect on the population of animals. If it decreases substantially, does that have a ripple effect on the ecosystem? Often times we don’t appreciate the effect of an organism on the ecosystem until it is taken out.

    1. Thank you for sharing this idea. This is an interesting, thought-provoking observation I had not considered. The unintended impacts on the ecosystem are obviously an important variable that I would be interested to look further into.
      In terms of animal population I beleive that many farm animarls are bred specifically for slaughter so where less would be needed they would not be bred for this purpose. I would imagine this would lead to a natural decline in their population however I’m not sure this is a bad thing considereing the amount that are kept in captivity and factory farms.

  5. Very good read.
    I think it’ll be interesting to see the journey to commercialisation. As mentioned in the article, lab grown meat started out as very expensive but will supposedly become the ‘norm’ one day. I think in that case, the initial support once it enters the market will be very important. I doubt it will retail at a lower price that ‘real’ meats initially, making it’s target market much smaller. No doubts the environmental benefits will be pushed in the marketing, so hopefully it will encourage more people to buy and help bring the costs down. I can’t help but think that until the prices are cheaper or at least comparable to ‘real’ meat, buying lab grown meats will become nothing but a novelty or the next ‘trend’ that will die down soon after.

  6. An interesting article, but although cultured meat may help reduce emissions and benefit the environment, what about the potential unintended consequences in terms of impact on the agricultural industry, jobs and also any potential impact of eating cultured meat and possible side effects.

    Maybe the answer is to educate people to reduce the amount of red meat they east and eat more sea food and sustainable sources of food. Has the long term effect of mass production of cultured meat been considered?

  7. Cultured meats – Is the world ready for this?

    Amazing how this may be thought of as abnormal or weird….. whilst battery farmed, mass reared animals fattened up on a diet of antibiotics- is taken as normal and no one bats an eye lid!

    However with world resources limited , populations ever increasing and pollution now threatening the future of mankind through uncontrolled green house gases … we’re going to have to come up with some real “blue sky thinking” and soon!

    Maybe the marketing is the key to acceptance and making cultured meats the successful “Netflix” of the food world!!

    1. Thank you for your comments.
      I think your point about marketing is particularly interesting. I definitely think that a lot of the concern arises from percetion and therefore would agree with you that successful marketing would be key to more acceptance.

  8. I agree with the premise that lab grown meat is a good path towards steering the meat industry in an undeniably more ethical direction, which is sorely needed.

    Whilst concerns over potential negative consequences are valid, you have to consider the cost benefit ratio in implementing this in the future, I suppose this varies per person as it comes down to how people view the meat industry and the lives of the animals that are taken to be used for food against those of humans who “need” that to eat. Some people don’t see, or perhaps refuse to accept, that the meat industry has any particularly large issues, be they from a moral perspective or an environmental one. Then they would need to decide whether the impact of making these changes, such as the loss of some of the current agriculture jobs, would be a justifiable cost.

    I believe that making a change like this would be an overall positive thing, from stopping the suffering of millions of animals’ lives and reducing the negative externalities of the meat industry, to even helping those who don’t like the idea of vegetarianism to reduce the negative impact they have on the world.

    I can imagine in places such as America, where large meat companies already have political sway through lobbying, that a movement like this would face drastic push back from the Government, as can already be seen with similar ideas. The fact that those providers are making strides into lab grown meat as stated in the article however is a good sign that change is probably inevitable, mirroring the shift of energy companies who are having to adapt to cleaner energy initiatives.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I had not considered the perspective of government pushback in countries such as America. A very interesting point!
      What do you think would be needed to drive the sway and to get past that pushback?

  9. Interesting article, didn’t know this idea was so close to being a reality.
    It is well summed up the huge benefits that society can gain from reducing meat consumption.
    I do however think that people need to take responsibility for their own carbon footprint and even if they don’t ‘identify’ as vegetarian they can easily cut down on their meat consumption without cutting it out completely.
    I will be interested to see how well the concept is accepted in society, after the negative media attention around GM crops and view of ‘non-natural’ food.

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      I really like your point regarding cutting down meat consumption. Theres definitely a lot of room for people to cut down meat consumption and incorporate more plant based meals without a complete shift to vegetarianism, which many people are against.

  10. Everyone should become vegetarian rather than eating meat grown in a lab because you don’t know the side effects of eating lab grown meat.
    By doing this we keep the land natural and keep agricultural farmers going for our children.
    Also, in third world countries the cow is used for many things such as plowing, milk, transport. Cow dung is used for fuel.

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      I think you have made some good points. However, I wonder how you think we could move society to vegetarian diets? Considering the small percentage that is currently vegetarian, and the many people who prefer a meat-based diet this seems to me like a difficult task.

  11. Great article, I particularly enjoyed the hyperlinks to the manufacturer’s website & the article about use of antibiotics / water pollution – they were really insightful.

    Once scaled up – hopefully the industry creates appropriate jobs that previous agri workers can transition to. Will there always be a place for smaller farms/ traditional animal rearing? Or as discussed would people be reliant/ forced towards large corporations? Would the transition induce dangerous cultural change – more so in lesser developed countries?
    A modern day example perhaps could be America & the cattle ranch development over time, with the impact it had on Native American culture / population… (perhaps without the war/ genocide)

    Whilst it is the whole world’s problem, would it be fair to say the owness falls more so on the western world who have had their boom & industrial revolution to now flex their technological advantage towards environmental change?

  12. I think with all the information we have about antibiotic resistance, climate change and food and water shortages, I think it is terrible that if viable alternatives are available, they are not being more actively pursued by food producers.

    I think in order to make real changes, consumers need to be more educated, as their buying power can encourage food manufacturers to find more economic and efficient ways of producing meat alternatives.

    I have also heard about insect protein being used as a more environmentally friendly (and more “natural”) alternative to animal meat. I think the general public may just take time to change their spending and eating habits.

    1. That’s a good point Sammi, care would definitely need to be taken in the way this product is introduced to consumers to ensure peace of mind over the safety of lab-grown meat products. I agree insect protein is a great way to enrich peoples diet, especially in areas where farmland is scarce, although I think it would be harder to intergrate into peoples usual diet compared to lab grown meat substitutes!

  13. A very well written article! I think another interesting concept to consider is whether lab grown meat can be truly ethical if it’s origins were harvested from a living animal in order to get to ball rolling. Whether it came from a meat sample or simply a feather or some saliva, it could be debated whether such meat is cruelty free. For example, the original sample required to produce such meat in the future could have caused stress, harm or death to the animal it care from. Does that mean all the following samples are not cruelty free?

    1. An interesting argument. I think that while it may not be 100% free of animal harm, the amount of harm is massively reduced as the number of animals needed is much less.

  14. This is a very interesting article, I particularly liked how you considered both sides of the argument. I was wondering how far away are we actually from producing cultured meat on a commercial scale? I know that labs have already started looking into the process but it takes a long time to grow even just a single hamburger patty. It is also very expensive and needs a lot of optimisation before it becomes a viable option. Do you really think it will become a viable option by 2021 like Mosa Meat is aiming for?

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Honestly, I am not completely sure how far we are from commercial scale production.
      I do think that a shift in opinion supporting the technology and publicising the benefits are going to be key in whether its viable in the next few years.
      What do you think would be the main issues with commerical viability, mostly the const you mention or something else? Equally, what do you think would help to acheive commercial viability?

  15. I agree with this and think that cultured meat should be the way forward to help save the Earth whilst dealing with various ethical concerns surrounding the meat industry. However, if it cost $250,000 to make just one burger, then once commercialised, how can prices for this new cultured meat be afforded by the general public? My concern is that it would costs a significant amount more than meat already does, meaning that t won’t be able to become the new norm for consuming meat.

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      The cost is a valid concern and an important factor in both public acceptance and private investment. I would be inclined to think that as the interest grows and more is produced, more investment would be made and costs would come down.
      research and development often has huge costs attached. Another point it that generally bulk production rudes cost per indiviual product so while cuurently a single burger may cost that much I would wonder if we were to manufacture 100, 000 what would be the cost per burger.

  16. I couldn’t be more excited about clean meat. Converting people to veganism is a monumentally difficult task, even when people are totally aware of how much meat destroys our environment and the suffering animals endure in factory farms. Unless we have a world wide culture shift, clean meat is absolutely essential in improving our agricultural efficiency, reducing animal suffering, and hopefully allowing more of our planet’s land mass to be rewilded so that we can reduce the enormous rate of extinction of our current wild animal populations.

    Plant based meat is also very exciting, such as the Beyond Burger, however due to the psychological bias meat eaters give animal meat, I’m not convinced it’ll solve the problems we’re hoping it will. Given that the Beyond Burger is already in shops in the UK and it hasn’t really taken off, it’s clearly not had the result we would have hoped.

    The next ten years are going to be vital for clean meat advocates to convince the populace that once the technology makes clean meat cheap enough, that they should switch from animal meat to clean meat. I hope it’ll be easier than converting everyone to veganism, and I hope the governments of the world will see sense and push for it too. We’ll need to work with farmers to make it work, finding ways of allowing them to contribute to the production of clean meat, or reemploying them to maintain the lands they own as future nature reserves etc. There will probably be a bunch of people arguing it’s not natural etc. so we’ll need to be well prepared with counter arguments, emphasizing that the clean meat production process is very open and transparent, while factory farms, especially chicken and pig farms, are incredibly closed off and secretive as to their daily practices.

    1. Hold up everyone, I think I’ve found a vegan!

      Good luck ‘converting’ me to veganism. I love sausages, eggs, bacon, steak, chicken. If a meal doesn’t have meat in it, I’m not interested.

      I’ll take my opposable thumbs and my apetite for meat that has got humanity to this point in development, at the top of the food chain.

      Enjoy your lentils, safe in the knowledge that you’ve done your daily work in preaching veganism to the uninterested.

      1. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
        Do you disagree that lab-grown meat could provide a middle ground where you don’t have to turn to veganism and can still consume meat but more sustainably?

  17. Really interesting article.
    The part of this argument I hadn’t previously considered was the need for lab based meats to be mass produced and there being no equivalent to the small holder farm.
    Despite this I think the main message to be remembered is the need to reduce the planet’s overall consumption of meat whether be moving towards a lab based product or a plant based diet.

  18. Really interesting article.
    The main point I hadn’t previously considered was the mass produced aspect of lab grown meat and there not being an equvalent to the small holder farmer.
    Despite this the main message, that the planet need to reduce its overall consumption of ‘real’ meat, is clear either be moving to lab grown meat or a plant based diet.

  19. Very interesting article.
    I’d be interested to know what you think about any possible power dynamics between nations that may arise due to cultured meat becoming more widespread. If we consider the hypothetical situation in the future that cultured meat has now become ‘the norm’ around the world, would that put certain nations economies at risk?

    As you mentioned, there are a vast amount of jobs in agriculture that would be lost, but there would be a lot (but not as many as were lost) of jobs created in the cultured meat industry. However I think considering where the lost and created jobs come from geographically, we would find a very strong power imbalance created. Predominantly the majority of agriculture jobs come from less developed ‘third-world’ countries, whereas I assume the first instances of mass-produced cultured meat will be coming from the most-developed countries. Moreover the demand would be changed, people will want cultured-not-slaughtered meat, and so any ‘traditional’ meat agriculture will be much less valuable.

    If we have this shift of food production from the ‘third-world’ to the ‘first-world’, will this lead to collapses of economies and the introduction of new global dynamics which skew the market towards the already heavily-favoured global superpowers such as the US?

    While I wholeheartedly agree that cultured meat IS an ethical and viable solution to the agriculture problem that we should pursue, do you think that there is a way to introduce it such that we do not put the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable members of our global society at stake?

  20. There are some very interesting points in this article. Personally I think we should be doing whatever we can to live more sustainably and contribute less to climate change, and cultured meat would have a huge effect on the amount of water and land needed, which must be a step in the right direction to meeting demand from a growing population. The big question is will the public be keen to try it? As well as opposition due to religion or loss of livelihoods, it may seem ‘unnatural’ to consumers, although I don’t see it as worse than the unnatural way animals are treated in factory farms.
    Also it must be more expensive than normal meat at first, so it won’t be accessible to all consumers for a long time. This could lead to it gaining a similar reputation as veganism as being aimed at the middle class, and ultimately seen as a waste of money where cheaper alternatives are available.
    It also doesn’t contribute to solving the growing problem of obesity in many countries, where high meat consumption is often a factor. In order to benefit individual people in terms of their health, I think cultured meat would need to be combined with a drive in society to eat less meat in general, especially processed meat. Do you think this will ever be encouraged by the cultured meat industry, since they will profit directly from the consumption of these products?

    1. Thank you for your comment!
      I think your question about public perseption and whether it would be seen as unatural are definitely valid.
      I also think that the pushback from the meat industry is an interesting point. As some large companies in the US are moving inot the lab grown meat industry maybe this will prevent mass pushback from the industry.
      What do you think?

  21. What an interesting article. I didn’t know this way of meat production existed.

    Eggs, are battery farmed to cope with the nations demands. I choose to buy organic and free range. But I have a choice for my budget and concious . If this form of meat production allows a person to choose . I am in favour of it.
    Employment, The argument of losing jobs comes with any innovative idea.But people do find and develop new skills and carry on been employed. We cannot let this top progress.
    GM food is controversial, but once again the public have become more excepting of it. As it helps demand ;and it is not pushed on to the buying public.
    I believe anything that aids in reducing the impact on our environment is worth considering.
    However after reading your article I am seriously considering a vegetarian lifestyle.asi do not want to eat meat that has been injected , processed and ruining our beautiful planet.
    We the the evidence so we should live a more greener life .
    Do more than merely recycling a carrier bag.

  22. If it solves this issue regarding world hunger then it’s a great idea. However, many issues arise from ‘manufacturing’ a living organism and introducing it to the food chain. It’s impossible to know the short and long term effect on the human body, just think ‘Mad Cow disease’. Cultured Meat would need regulation, who would be the arbitrates of what is considered safe.
    The long term solution to food shortage must lay in the adoption of vegetarianism or cultured meat, unfortunately, the world revolves around money and no government is going to jeopardize votes by scaling down meat production.

  23. Fantastic read!
    Thought brought up regarding industry jobs involved in raising livestock for consumption versus potential jobs that might arise with commercialisation of cultured meat. Ethics change and adapt as time goes on.

  24. Cultured meat would be a fantastic idea if it were truly likely to be ready for mass production in the next couple of years, but the slow progress, expensive process and huge energy consumption required makes it far-from-green and as yet it isn’t really a viable alternative at all. The speed with which change needs to be made to our diets and lifestyles simply cannot be matched by the lab processes to get cultured meat ready for mass production. As a result I would argue that it is unethical to focus on cultured meat, as it is a false good – it fails to provide the outcomes it promises, whilst simultaneously taking resources and time from potentially more impactful research.
    What’s more the argument that cultured meat helps to solve world hunger is a red herring. Globally sufficient food is produced to feed the population of the world, the problem is trade, greed and waste. Producing more (expensive and meat based) food would not solve these issues, even if it does free up agricultural land. The likelihood is that this free land would be used for the growing of fuel crops, as these are considerably more economical viable.
    Cultured meat is fascinating, and I would suggest it would be a good way to re-introduce meat into diets in the future, but it is far more important that we focus our time, energy and resources into the significant reduction of meat consumption in every Western diet.

  25. I liked the article, I work in a lab myself and I can’t see this becoming a popular replacement for meat anytime soon mainly due to what I expect will be high costs associated with making high enough volumes of meat to feed people. So that counters my initial reaction (which you addressed in the article) regarding the impact on agriculture jobs. I feel that even if this becomes a cheap enough option, it is going to be difficult to persuade traditional meat eaters and vegetarians alike to eat something grown in the lab; one only needs to look at GMOs to understand that the public doesn’t take too kindly to scientifically ‘altered’ products. If this is able to replicate the taste and texture of ‘real’ meat well enough though, then that may help persuade the masses. From an ethical standpoint however I can see how this is a much better alternative to traditional meats, so if the issues above can be addressed then I’d be all for it!

  26. Assuming at least 40% of the world will not eat cultured meats for religious and other reasons (probably more than this), I think this money would be better invested in producing plant based meat substitutes with many companies making big strides in this recently too. I completely agree with the arguments regarding animal cruelty and the need to find a enviromentally friendly, sustainable way to feed the planet but in my opinion this is not the best way of doing it as plant based meat substitutes would negate many of the negatives of cultured meats given here and still provide all of the advantages.

  27. Very well researched and thought through article. I think cultured meat is a good bridge between cruelty raised animal meat as a cheap source of protein and what it should be- expensive legacy nutrition for a special occasion.

  28. Interesting read. I think the major barrier to cultured meat becoming widely available at a reasonable price will be winning over people’s attitudes. The word ‘cultured’ isn’t exactly appetising. The way this is marketed will be crucial in determining its success.

  29. Should cultured meat become the norm? No. I think that there may be a market for this in developed countries however it should not be the norm. I would be concerned about the negative economic impact in developing countries. The cultured meat industry will be led by the technologically advanced, wealthy countries, increasing dominance over the developing countries, for example in the same way that some sections of the meat and coffee industries already take advantage of those in developing countries. I think that the most sustainable way in which to deal with the increasing problem of the over consumption of meat is to educate society to eat less meat. In fact, those in developed countries should be educated to consume less food generally, recycle more, use less energy and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

  30. This is an interesting, well presented article that raises some interesting issues. I think there a lot of focus has been around meat vs vegetarian diet, but that is only one aspect of the argument. I prefer to think of this as a technological development as opposed to a lifestyle choice, as there will always be people who will eat meat, whether cultured or agriculturally grown. As with all technological breakthroughs, it is important to consider the short and long term implications and to open ethical and legislative discussions early so that developments can be made and even coerced into the most appropriate path.

    A few issues that should be raised are:
    What about eggs, milk, wool and other animal by-products that can only be acquired through the agricultural farming of meat?
    When overpopulation/ malnutrition is a critical problem both now and will be even more so in the future; so should we really hinder what could be a vital source of food in 50-100 years time when the population reaches the project 9.4 billion in 2070? As with GM crops, artificially grown meat could be grown to include added nutrients that could combat malnutrition.

    There are ethical concerns over religious, legislative and health applicability to cultured meat, but as with many technological and societal developments over the last century, these discussions need to be had and the rules updated accordingly. ‘Playing God’ and genetic modification is a key concern in these matter for religious and non-religious people alike, and as with pharmaceuticals, extensive research and experimentation needs to be conducted to ensure the safe development of the artificial meat product, but shutting down artificial meat completely in favour of restricting the populations diet to plant-based diets is, in my opinion, unsustainable in the long run.

  31. At its root, your article tests our ability and willingness to change the way we perceive food we grew up eating. Like any established market and where there is a need for change, Companies will look to be disruptive. Fast paced bio/technology companies will challenge traditional methods and therefore face major government lobbying from meat farmers to stop or slow down any disruption to their market!

    As our concerns over health and climate change grow, new food methodologies and processes should be challenging entrenched suppliers and their products, setting new trends and giving people more choices in their supermarkets.

    How these debates play out will shape the future of meat and determine how quickly those new products can get in front of us and potentially help in the fight against health and climate change.

  32. Excellent article – whilst I am vegan, I appreciate even a small shift in improving the environment and the incidental broader moral benefits, as those minded like me see them, would be an advantage, using technology and innovation we had not previously considered possibly.

  33. Great article. Well written and structured soundly. Would like to understand the effect of creating healthier cultured meat to reduce the consequential risks inherent in a heavy meat diet.

  34. Interesting read thank you for sharing your thoughts, opinion and research on this matter.
    In my opinion I believe its not only morally unethical to produce animal in such kind of environment.But the whole concept can also be cruel. The aim of preserving Nature to do its course, the Environment, the Ecosystem to survive will be something of a dream or rather should we say non-existent.
    As a Healthcare professional as well as a chef myself, part of my job and cooking passion is also sharing my knowledge, teaching people of all ages to include young people. I believe in authenticity, natural product and healthy food. Therefore to use meat or any kind of food produced in confined environments (laboratory) is quite daunting.
    As part we are all responsible to protect our Natural Environment, mass production of any food can never be the same, no matter how much science is becoming advance.
    Food is not just a commodity it’s a Necessity..
    Despite the fact, with attention taken to reduce diseases with lab produced meat, I still believe the main drastic disease will be destruction of Nature.
    Destruction of Agriculture, farmers will suffer, workmanship will be affected.
    The future generations will end up living in a confined space!
    To avoid such things we can only promote traditional ways of producing our most important commodities.

  35. On the fence:
    I have been increasingly aware of the environmental issues of beef farming and watched a number of discussions/reports but this is the first time I have heard of cultured meat.
    The arguments for and against have me leaning towards the ‘for’ from the point of view of slashing emissions, reduced antibiotic use, reduce deforestation. However I have to wonder about our own personal responsibility – should it always be that there is a ‘pill for every ill’. Should we not be looking to modify our behaviour to safeguard ourselves and our planet?
    Whilst I acknowledge the seemingly impossible task of turning everyone to plant based diets I do think that we have a duty to at least try.
    I also fear the unknown – the long term effects of eating cultured meat – we are not going to know if there are any for many years and by then it could be too late

  36. This is a very interesting article, i believe eating meat in general is very bad as animals have many uses and benefits to the world, however if people are going to continue eating meat i think this is a better, healthier way to go forward.

  37. Interesting read especially as I turned vegetarian two years ago after researching about the meat industry and not agreeing with the treatment of animals in the slaughter houses. It would be interesting to know if there are any downsides to cultured meat e.g. taste, texture, protein levels.

  38. Well done, this was a well written argument and one that made me think.

    I do agree this may be an ethical solution to solving the rising global food demand as well as those associated the agricultural aspect of producing meat. There is plenty of good evidence suggesting the planet would be in a better position if we gave meat up. In addition to this, it also solves the ethical dilemmas about killing animals.

    I think there should be a stronger focus on the public’s perception on the view of growing and consuming cultured meat and one that is perhaps overlooked? Whilst finding an ethical solution is important, it is not the ultimate factor that decides whether it will take off. As Shazz25 mentioned, it most likely will become a ‘trend’. It would be interesting to see the general publics perception of the matter and whether it would be a viable replacement. It may be worthwhile carrying out a poll on social media/University just to get an idea of perceptions on the market. This information could be used to direct advertisements the companies wish to use to promote the product as this technology is rapidly becoming reality.

    Adding to drnp’s comment regarding the ecosystem; the ecosystem is sensitively balanced and complicated structure. The smallest of changes can cause massive consequences. As human population grows, animals will struggle to find habitats to populate. If cultured meat takes off, what will be the effect to agricultural animals? We will still have an issue to address in terms of land space.
    It is also important to note that there is still a large uncertainty in the magnitude of environmental impacts of cultured meat. As Marianne Ellis writes, ‘more research on development of cultured meat technology is needed before more reliable estimates of the environmental impacts can be provided’. I’m sure in the future, we will become more understanding of the entirety of the problem as research develops and review the impacts cultured meat will have on society.

  39. “It’s a sizzling topic online, even the subject of a Buzzfeed video.

    It’s a meaty issue: should cultured meat become the norm? Let’s sink our teeth into this.”

    Unfortunately, I can not award marks on the quality of puns used in assignment one.

    The rest of the article is well written with a good amount of ethical reasoning included.

  40. Should cultured meat beacome the norm? NO. I don’t think it is required. There is plenty of food to feed the whole world if the developing countries shared rather than over indulge and waste! Too much food/meat is thrown out each day, if this food was distributed better rather than wasted there would be no need for over farming or laboratory foods. We already know that processed food, in the long term, is bad for us. What evidence is there that cultured meat will not have adverse effects on our health overtime.

  41. Should Cultured Meat Become the Norm?

    As the article suggests the viewpoint should be considered from ethics and necessity. Given the future growth of our population and the a push for over society to consume more vegetables and less meat, we will still have a shortfall in food supplies in the future, given the growth of our population. To overt shortfalls choice are starvation, supplement food supplies from other planets, forcefully reduce human population, or culture meat. Which seems realistic today !

    1. Thank you for your comment.
      Forcefully reducing the population seems very extreme. As you said maybe cultured meat offers an alternative not as extreme as the others you have mentioned.

  42. Fascinating article, which has stimulated Interesting debate from the many readers.

    I don’t see a short answer to the main question unless somehow the worlds population (including me) can be convinced to become vegetarian! Which is highly unlikely!!! Therefore, as per your arguments, it seems logical to conclude in favour of lab grown meat products over traditional farming methods.

    Above said, there are many things which are unknown about cultured meat and looking further into plant based alternatives would, in my mind, be a better path.

  43. Should Cultured Meat become the Norm? No. This is an interesting article, however i must disagree with the title. Whilst the article acknowledge the effect of population growth and meat consumption is having on the environment. It fails to acknowledge that currently sufficient amounts of food are produced globally. The problems of food security (with regards to global food demand) lie in access, with developed countries consuming much larger quantities than their counterparts in the global South. However i do agree that reducing meat consumption is key in attempting to halt climate change. Although i believe effort and resources should be harnessed in transferring people to a plant based diet or encouraging people to consume meat more responsibly. In pursuing cultured meat i believe we risk dealing with the issue on a surface level while failing to address structural issues in the formation of society’s present lifestyle. We must pursue
    deep-rooted radical structural transformation if we are to avoid further crossing planetary boundaries.

  44. I really enjoyed reading this article, it is very well written and well balanced.

    Cultured meat over slaughtered animals is definitely a preferred method however it doesn’t completely solve the problem as cultured meat is still produced in a lab/factory. Lab production still has an affect on the environment.

    A plant based diet is the preferred method for this growing population and more research should be done into plant based alternatives. However this is not realistic as not everyone is going to change their dietary requirements. In this case cultured meat would be the better option.

  45. There really isnt a need for expensive lab grown food where these factories are contributing to the already over polluted atmosphere. A few other comments have mentioned the benefits of a vegetarian diet and there seems to be more sense in putting money toward promoting that kind of lifestyle rather than yet another factory.

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