It’s some thing that is been on my thoughts the final couple of weeks, for a handful of causes. At MIT Tech Review’s current ClimateTech occasion, my colleague James Temple interviewed Pat Brown, CEO of Impossible Foods. The firm tends to make plant-primarily based meat options that are created to closely resemble the genuine thing—most famously its “bleeding” burger. When asked what he believed about “cell-based” meat, Brown responded: “I certainly don’t see them as a competitor.”
I’ve also been reading a series of papers published in the scientific journal Nature Food a couple of weeks ago, which explored the arguments for and against cultured meat, as it is recognized, in extra detail.
The other purpose I’ve been pondering about meat options is that the winter holidays are approaching, and as somebody who does not consume meat, it is my job to come up with an option that everybody, such as my fussy children and meat-loving dad, will take pleasure in. Talk about not possible foods.
But back to cultured meat. There are lots of causes why, on paper, meat grown in bioreactors is a brilliant concept. For a commence, we’d be in a position to reduce down on intensive animal farming, which can be brutal and inhumane. Rearing animals in cramped circumstances can generate the best circumstances for ailments to spread, and even pass to humans.
And the use of antibiotics to stay clear of such illness outbreaks is also extremely problematic. It is estimated that about 70% of the antibiotics we use to treat infections in people today are also employed in farm animals. And any microorganisms that come to be resistant to antibiotics as a outcome of this use can finish up in crops, soil, rivers, and people today, potentially causing untreatable and possibly fatal ailments. At least 1.two million people today died from antibiotic-resistant infections in 2019, for instance.
The method of making meat is also terrible for the atmosphere. Animal agriculture is accountable for a important chunk of our greenhouse-gas emissions. We use extra than a third of our planet’s habitable land to farm animals—land that might have been carbon-consuming forest or woodland. The destruction of forests for agriculture can leave numerous species, lots of them endangered, with no a residence. This can decimate biodiversity.