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Musings of a Malcontent: A Meat By Any Other Name – Eating from a Test Tube

Musings of a Malcontent: Environmental Irony in an Imperfect (but humorous?) World“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Here at Global Warming is Real we talk about important issues. The environment. Carbon emissions. Arctic ice the size of Manhattan breaking off into the sea. Solar energy. Water resources. Biofuels. Carbon Capture. Climate Science. Test Tube Meat.

You heard me (read me actually) – Test Tube Meat.

You know – meat grown in a tube so that animals will not be raised and slaughtered around the world – not to mention all the fecal waste, crop usage and damage to the aquifer that it incurs.

Mmm. Test Tube Meat.

Good eatin’ right there.

Test tube meat - or how the sausage is made...Apparently there is serious work going on right now to grow meat in a tube. Why not, right? We grow deadly diseases, babies and who knows what else in tubes, this seems like the next logical step. The process involves using stem cells from animal parts to try to grow meat. If we can re-grow a kidney, why not a tasty Kobe Beef Steak? It sounds like they almost have enough to piece together a sweet looking single hamburger at the moment. Plus, it only costs $250,000.

Can I get fries with that?

I’d like those grown in the test tube too, please. I wonder if they could use the stem cells from the fries at Super Dawg in Chicago (great fries) as the template for the test tube fry? It makes sense to use the best cells available – sorry McDonald’s – so my choice is Super Dawg. The real trick is growing them already deep-fried. Even better would be to genetically remove the trans-fat! I would totally invest in that.

Actually the bigger buzz this week surrounds a Stanford University molecular biologist that’s going sans test tube, working with vegetables to save the lives of all those meat lovers out there. How perfect to have vegetables as the ones to stop a triple bi-pass surgery from happening. It’s about time vegetables were given some kudos for being an absolutely excellent food group. So often groaned at, now people will be fighting over that amazing sirloin made from mushrooms. As said the oft-quoted Patrick Brown of Stanford University said:

“We have a class of products that totally rocks, and cannot be distinguished from the animal-based product it replaces, even by hardcore foodies.”

They are not quite ready to showcase these veggie delights, but soon I am sure the meat industry is just going to acquiesce to these magnificent replacements. They will see how much the switch to veggie substitutes will transform the world and that will be that. Soon cows, chickens and pigs – blind and weak from living under fluorescent lights in small cages – will be wandering the countryside finally free to live their lives in peace. They will be seen hobbling across this great land of ours, mutated but released from their servitude to the All American Meat Lovers diet.

Right?

After all, what do the meat companies have to lose? Subsidies. Government promotion. A rising demand for their product. Those are nothing compared to the changing of the world, the preservation of some rainforests and the improved health of our populous.

Right?

In one article I read oil and meat were compared as commodities. They are similar. Both cost a great deal to make. Both support an industry that harms natural resources and puts strain on the ecosystem. Both are subsidized. Both seem to have a complete death grip on the old proverbial collective jewels of the world.

Actually meat production appears to come out worse. In 1961 the total world supply of meat was 71 million tons. In 2007 it was estimated at 284 million tons. The U.S. alone handles about 15% of the world’s total – almost 10 billion killed every year. A United Nations report in 2006 stated that current production levels for meat contribute 14 to 22 percent of the 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases every year. Those were 2006 stats – by the way. I can only imagine the numbers in 2012.

So I wish them luck – these test tube, veggie product pioneers. I wish them luck – and speed – because the meat industry does not show much sign of stopping. If anything they are speeding up. Cheap, fast meat is the way of today – especially since it drives about 1,000 other industries.

All this food talk is making me hungry. Better go see how my test tube Filet Minion growth experiment is going. My cells came from a 5th generation pedigree Filet that I had flown here from the French countryside – only the best of course.

Yikes – I think I just saw it move.

Image credits:Image source: The Alopecian Muse, Esquire
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