The end may be nigh for butchers all over the country, and as unappetising as it may sound, synthetic meat may soon be here. According to the Dutch based University of Maastricht, meat grown in a laboratory is only 6 months away. A synthetic sausage is the first meat to have been grown in the latest experiment, which was created from pig cells being fed horse serum.
The next aim after sausages is to create a hamburger, and according to Dr. Mark Post, who has be engineering these so called synthetic meats, predicts that we could have a hamburger within only a year. The downside to all of this experimenting is the cost, which currently stands at $350,000 in order to develop and new meats.
To some people, just the thought of this meat would put them of it, without even trying out, but to others, there is another hurdle to overcome. The meat is actually white, due to there being no blood in the meat. Creating this meat is not really a new idea, as Dr. Mironov, a scientist which has developmental biology and tissue engineering as his speciality has been working on “cultured” meat for over ten years.
The original idea of creating meat in a laboratory was dreamt up in the Netherlands, and from the same country are the current researchers who are now closest to producing meat that is slaughter free. An article was produced in the New Yorker titled “Test Tube Burgers” which stated that it was down to the idea of a Willem van Eelen. Willem was a World War II veteran, born in the Netherlands, and after the war, at the University of Amsterdam, he studied psychology. However, he began to get confused due to the war, and his memories of animal abuse and starvation which occurred in the camps started to get intertwined. During a lecture at the University, he was quoted as saying “Why can’t we grow meat outside of the body? Make it in a laboratory, as we make so many other things.”
This sausage cannot yet be conducted in edible trials; however, there are strong opinionated vegetarians to whom this would seriously interest when the synthetic meat is allowed to be consumed. The lack of slaughtering would not only cut down on the number of livestock that are being killed, but also on the carbon emissions they give off, which currently stands at a staggering 18% of the world’s total. This method then obviously gets rid of the suffering of the animals, reduces carbon emissions, and people were to all agree with stem cell technology, there are very few reasons – other than potentially the financial side – as to why anyone should stay vegetarian.
As with many problems that are trying to be solved by scientists, as of 2009 a competition was announced for someone to produced marketable lab grown meat within 3 years, and the prize would be $1 million. By 2050, it has been said that this process could be a solution for world hunger, and with the potential of a population of 9 billion, it will be needed.