Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat will Change Our Lives

· November 17, 2009

"Future Flesh" is squatting on your plate. Are you nervous? Stab it with a fork. Sniff it. Bite! Chew, swallow. Congratulations! Relax and ruminate now because you’re digesting a muscular invention that will massively impact the planet.

Fake meat: burgers grown in beakers. Photo credit: Will Sanders

In-Vitro Meat — aka tank steak, sci fi sausage, petri pork, beaker bacon, Frankenburger, vat-grown veal, laboratory lamb, synthetic shmeat, trans-ham, factory filet, test tube tuna, cultured chicken, or any other moniker that can seduce the shopper’s stomach — will appear in 3-10 years as a cheaper, healthier, "greener" protein that’s easily manufactured in a metropolis. Its entree will be enormous; not just food-huge like curry rippling through London in the 1970′s or colonized tomatoes teaming up with pasta in early 1800′s Italy. No. Bigger. In-Vitro Meat will be socially transformative, like automobiles, cinema, vaccines.



H+ previously discussed In-Vitro Meat, as have numerous other publications [see references at the end of this article]. Science pundits examined its microbiological struggles in Dutch labs and at New Harvest, a Baltimore non-profit. Squeamish reporters wasted ink on its "yucky" and "unnatural" creation, while others wondered if its "vegan" or not (PETA supports it but many members complain). This article jumps past artificial tissue issues; anticipating success, I optimistically envision Eight Ways In-Vitro Meat Will Change Our Lives.

1. Bye-Bye Ranches.
When In-Vitro Meat (IVM) is cheaper than meat-on-the-hoof-or-claw, no one will buy the undercut opponent. Slow-grown red meat & poultry will vanish from the marketplace, similar to whale oil’s flame out when kerosene outshone it in the 1870′s. Predictors believe that IVM will sell for half the cost of its murdered rivals. This will grind the $2 trillion global live-meat industry to a halt (500 billion pounds of meat are gobbled annually; this is expected to double by 2050). Bloody sentimentality will keep the slaughterhouses briefly busy as ranchers quick-kill their inventory before it becomes worthless, but soon Wall Street will be awash in unwanted pork bellies.

Special Note: IVM sales will be aided by continued outbreaks of filthy over-crowded farm animal diseases like swine flu, Mad Cow, avian flu, tuberculosis, brucellosis, and other animal-to-human plagues. Public hysteria will demand pre-emptive annihilation of the enormous herds and flocks where deadly pathogens form, after safe IVM protein is available.

Latex meat. Photo: slate.com

2. Urban Cowboys.
Today’s gentle drift into urbanization will suddenly accelerate as unemployed livestock workers relocate and retrain for city occupations. Rural real estate values will plummet as vast tracts of ranch land are abandoned and sold for a pittance (70% of arable land in the world is currently used for livestock, 26% of the total land surface, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization). New use for ex-ranch land? Inexpensive vacation homes; reforested parks; fields of green products like hemp or bamboo. Hot new city job? Techies and designers for In-Vitro Meat factories.

3. Healthier Humans.
In-Vitro Meat will be 100% muscle. It will eliminate the artery-clogging saturated fat that kills us. Instead, heart-healthy Omega-3 (salmon oil) will be added. IVM will also contain no hormones, salmonella, e. coli, campylobacter, mercury, dioxin, or antibiotics that infect primitive meat. I’ve noted above that IVM will reduce influenza, brucellosis, TB, and Mad Cow Disease. Starvation and kwashiokor (protein deficiency) will be conquered when compact IVM kits are delivered to famine-plagued nations. The globe’s water crises will be partially alleviated, due to our inheritance of the 8% of the H2O supply that was previously gulped down by livestock and their food crops. We won’t even choke to death because IVM contains no malicious bones or gristle. (Although Hall of Fame slugger Jimmy Foxx choked to death on a chicken bone, about 90% of meat victims are murdered by steak).

4. Healthier Planet.
Today’s meat industry is a brutal fart in the face of Gaia. A recent Worldwatch Institute report ("Livestock and Climate Change") accuses the world’s 1.5 billion livestock of responsibility for 51% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Statistics are truly shitty: cattle crap 130 times more volume than a human, creating 64 million tons of sewage in the United States that’s often flushed down the Mississippi River to kill fish and coral in the Gulf of Mexico. Pigs are equally putrid. There’s a hog farm in Utah that oozes a bigger turd total than the entire city of Los Angeles. Livestock burps and farts are equally odious and ozone-destroying. 68% of the ammonia in the world is caused by livestock (creating acid rain), 65% of the nitrous oxide, 37% of the methane, 9% of the CO2, plus 100 other polluting gases. Big meat animals waste valuable land — 80% of Amazon deforestation is for beef ranching, clear-cutting a Belgium-sized patch every year. Water is prodigiously gulped — 15,000 liters of H20 produces just one kilogram of beef. 40% of the world’s cereals are devoured by livestock. This scenario is clearly unsustainable, and In-Vitro Meat is the sensible alternative. (Although skeptics warn that IVM factories will produce their own emissions, research indicates that pollution will be reduced by at least 80%.) Once we get over the fact that IVM is oddly disembodied, we’ll be thankful that it doesn’t shit, burp, fart, eat, over graze, drink, bleed, or scream in pain.

5. Economic Upheaval.
Soy Burger. Photo credit: greenbang.comThe switch to In-Vitro Meat will pummel the finances of nations that survive on live animal industries. Many of the world leaders in massacred meat (USA, China, Brazil) have diversified incomes, but Argentina will bellow when its delicious beef is defeated. New Zealand will bleat when its lamb sales are shorn. And ocean-harvesting Vietnam and Iceland will have to fish for new vocations. Industries peripherally dependent on meat sales, like leather, dairy and wool, will also be slaughtered. Hide and leather-exporting nations like Pakistan and Kenya will be whipped, but South Korea will profit on its sales of "Koskin" and other synthetic leathers. Huge plantations of livestock crops (soybeans & corn) in Brazil, USA, Argentina, and China can be replaced with wool substitutes like sisal. Smaller nations that excel in food processing will thrive because they’ll export IVM instead of importing tonnage of frozen meat. Look for economic upticks in The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, France, and especially Japan, who’s currently one of the globe’s largest importers of beef.

6: Exotic & Kinky Cuisine.
In-Vitro Meat will be fashioned from any creature, not just domestics that were affordable to farm. Yes, ANY ANIMAL, even rare beasts like snow leopard, or Komodo Dragon. We will want to taste them all. Some researchers believe we will also be able to create IVM using the DNA of extinct beasts — obviously, "DinoBurgers" will be served at every six-year-old boy’s birthday party.

Humans are animals, so every hipster will try Cannibalism. Perhaps we’ll just eat people we don’t like, as author Iain M. Banks predicted in his short story, "The State of the Art" with diners feasting on "Stewed Idi Amin." But I imagine passionate lovers literally eating each other, growing sausages from their co-mingled tissues overnight in tabletop appliances similar to bread-making machines. And of course, masturbatory gourmands will simply gobble their own meat.

7: FarmScrapers.
The convenience of buying In-Vitro Meat fresh from the neighborhood factory will inspire urbanites to demand local vegetables and fruits. This will be accomplished with "vertical farming" — building gigantic urban multi-level greenhouses that utilize hydroponics and interior grow-lights to create bug-free, dirt-free, quick-growing super veggies and fruit (from dwarf trees), delicious side dishes with IVM. No longer will old food arrive via long polluting transports from the hinterlands. Every metro dweller will purchase fresh meat and crispy plants within walking distance. The success of FarmScrapers will cripple rural agriculture and enhance urbanization.

Spam in a can.8. We Stop the Shame.
In-Vitro Meat will squelch the subliminal guilt that sensitive people feel when they sit down for a carnivorous meal. Forty billion animals are killed per year in the United States alone; one million chickens per hour. I list this last even though it’s the top priority for vegetarians, because they represent only 1-2% of the population, but still… IVM is a huge step forward in "Abolitionism" — the elimination of suffering in all sentient creatures. Peter Singer, founding father of Animal Liberation, supports IVM. So does every European veggie group I contacted: VEBU (Vegetarian Federation of Germany), EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative of Belgium), and the Dutch Vegetarian Society. And PETA, mentioned earlier, offers $1 million to anyone who can market a competitive IVM product by 2012.

My final prediction is this: In-Vitro Meat relishes success first in Europe, partly because its "greener," but mostly they already eat "yucky" delicacies like snails, smoked eel, blood pudding, pig’s head cheese, and haggis (sheep’s stomach stuffed with oatmeal). In the USA, IVM will initially invade the market in Spam cans and Hot Dogs, shapes that salivating shoppers are sold on as mysterious & artificial, but edible & absolutely American.

221 Responses

  1. Adameria says:

    Good Afternoon,

    I linked to your article in a blog post for my digital writing class about the future of lab created meat and vegetarians’ reactions. I hope that’s all right. If you’re interested, you can find the article at: https://lupascope.wordpress.com/2014/06/26/are-you-eating-3d-printed-meat/

    Best Wishes,

    Anned

  2. Alan Braganza says:

    The concept, development and eventual production of in-vitro meat of several domesticated livestock promises numerous benefits some of which are: reduced animal pain and suffering through farming and slaughter; reduced dependency on developing farmland for livestock so old growth forests and irreplaceable rainforests need not be converted to farmland; much reduced emissions from livestock populations which contribute to climate change and sea level rise; and the animal welfare implications of carne sans carnage grown cost effectively, globally and for wise and healthful consumption so as to counter heart disease, cancers and obesity in humans. Now as long as humans do not continue to overpopulate this shrinking world, perhaps human beings may have a promising and honourable future.

  3. دردشة says:

    many born digital records you can’t interact with them or view them unless you have the original environment (or a virtual one) in which to experience them. Lots to think about here.

  4. I’m reading with absolute astonishment , some observations from readers on this blog. Leaving appart the ethics or the God concepts, I like to contribute this small observation. We are working in our labs on development of cell cultures. One does not clone animals to develop its meat. One just takes some sample trough byopsee with a needle. One purifies the cell put it in medium and feeds it to grow. Till a couple of years ago , we worked with animal growt serum. But today we developed syntetic serum from several products provided by nature. So no genetic modification, no funny Hokus Pocus. Simply put a purified cell in an adequate medium and it wil start growing. Todays research focusses on methods to copy the form of the meat as we know it. We develop scaffolding systems , natural coloring, adding taste from natural sources. Take into account that within 50 years human population on earth will pass 7 billion. Where will we find all the land to feed that population and the cattle as well? So part of the meat production will have to come from industrial culturing. That meat looks , smells and tasts like meat, but it takes much less resources per ton consumable meat.

  5. Inferdramon says:

    Actually, I feel no guilt when I eat a cheeseburger or some chicken. The notion that people who aren’t vegetarians or vegans “feel guilt” when they eat a “carnivorous meal” is insane and quite inaccurate. I like meat, and I’m sure as heck not going to feel any kind of guilt eating them. Why should I? I’m not the one who killed them; I’m merely a “scavenger”.

    And no, animals killed for meat are not “murdered”; don’t mix up the term. Murder is strictly a human term, for when a human wrongfully kills another human. You can’t call people who kill animals for food “murderers”, because they are not.

    However, I am in support of in vitro meat. I don’t mind eating it, especially if it’ll be healthier. It’ll be easier to produce, less space would be required, etc. I’m also in support of in vitro toxicology, which would eliminate the need of animal testing, and likely produce faster, more accurate results.

    I’m also in support of vertical farming, which involves growing crops in urban cities in tall buildings. This would reduce the amount of land destroyed for farming crops. It would also put peace of mind on people who are iffy about where their food comes from.

  6. Max Riley says:

    in vitro meat is the answer to all my prayers for stop the killing and sufference for all animals. I hope this will become reality before I die, so that I can leave this brutal planet in peace.

  7. Tangent says:

    While synthmeat may very well cause significant reductions in the eating of biological meat, it won’t cease it. At the very least you’ll continue to see people hunting deer and elk (and other wild herbivores) as the animals need to be culled (due to the extermination of predators that originally did that job and the irrational fears of people who consider predators a threat due to their tendency to snatch up pet cats and dogs, and in theory children). In addition, hunting is as much a form of social activity as it allows small groups of people to get together in the wild and face the elements while seeking out some rather wily animals (yes, there are groups of hunters who go out in the wild to get drunk and the like… but there are plenty more who go out there looking to hunt and in a sense reconnect with the land).

    Likewise there will be plenty of people who prefer “natural” meat to synthmeat, no matter what the flavour and texture. You could even give them a blind taste test and they’d refuse to admit the synthmeat was as good as (or better than) natural meat even if they chose the synthmeat in the test.

    Farmed animals will continue in the dairy and egg industries as well, even if synthmeat ends up a superior product to natural meat. You’ve not heard of people developing artificial milk at this juncture, or of artificial eggs that include a self-contained yolk and an artificial egg shell. Even if such products arrive in time (and I’d think that artificial orange juice would appear before artificial milk and eggs, due to the tendency of severe climate events to damage orange trees at critical times – it’s likely easier (and potentially cheaper) to just create an artificial orange juice than rely on the pesticides, spraying, and harvesting of oranges), there will still be traditionalists who insist on making their cheeses with genuine milk cream and the like.

    You may see a significant reduction in cattle and poultry farms… but they will never totally go away. At the very least, 20% of existing livestock farms will remain in existence.

  8. jon honeycut says:

    you are all sick this lab grown meat is the worst idea i have ever heard of you would be puting thousands of people out of work just to satisfy your self righteous agenda fuck all of you

  9. Valkyrie Ice says:

    My god the ignorance of state of the art science in biotech in this thread is depressing.

    Forget the lame attempts of soyburgers and every current form of “imitation meat” They have absolutely no bearing on what IVM is.

    First, this is not processed CHEMICALS. This is CLONED MUSCLE. It is THE EXACT GAWDDAMM THING YOU ARE EATING OFF THE COW.

    Get it?

    Muscle is muscle is muscle is muscle. It is growing a rack of ribs minus the rest of the cow, making a steak without having to feed, house, and clean up after a living bovine. It is using the exact same biological processes used to MAKE A COW to make JUST A PART OF ONE.

    There is no need to “add flavors” it is not “imitation” it is not “cow substitute”. It is 100% USDA Grade A BEEF.

    Minus a dead cow.

    Same will go for every type of IVM.

    Now, for the basic process go and read the first chapter of “Brave New World” and instead of growing human clones, imagine instead you are growing porterhouse steaks.

    It will be pure MEAT, with cells, DNA, oozing blood, marbled fat, and all the tasty goodness of beef, without having to slaughter a cow to get it. You could in essence eat Betsy while she’s standing outside the window chewing her cud. Her DNA would be identical to the steaks.

    And once nanotech desktop replicators come around, you won’t even need a IVM factory to grow it for you, your “Food Machine ™” will produce it for you on demand with the press of a button… right down to Betsy’s DNA.

    Sadly Mister Hyena failed to make that as clear as I would have preferred, but seriously people, spend a few days learning where we are in Biotech research before simply dissing a fairly well researched article.

    Oh, and one more thing, I’m not worried about Dairy products at all. When they can clone a steak, they can clone an udder too and produce all the Dairy without having to milk a single cow.

    It ain’t imitation, fake, artificial, synthetic, or soy when from the DNA up it’s 100% biological BEEF.

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi, Valkyrie Ice — Hank Hyena here — thanks! for your attention to my article, your enthusiasm regarding the topic, and thanks for your great assistance in informing the readers – much appreciated!

  10. Anonymous says:

    this sounds just gross. Guess I’ll have to take up hunting and fishing.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I too hope this happens – i’m tired of my arteries clogging up – bring on the artificial but good for you meat!

  12. Truthsetsyoufree says:

    Every time man tries to play God, something always goes horribly wrong.

    • Editor says:

      Every time someone says something this cliched, an angel cries in heaven… crocodile tears… oh god make it stop…

       

       

    • Anonymous says:

      However, isn’t man playing god with the life of an animal when he sends it to slaughter??

      • Truthsetsyoufree says:

        No- Man is doing what God and the Bible tell him to do-there is a difference.

        • Valkyrie Ice says:

          What God wants, God gets.

          What a sadly limited view of the Almighty you have. An infinite being possessing infinite power will be able to do whatever he wishes. If he does not want it done, it will be impossible to do.

          Man has a brain, that brain is designed to be used to understand the world around it. Failure to do so is surely not what a designer would wish, no?

          If God exists, he is capable of imposing any limits he wishes. Therefore, if it is not impossible to do, God must want it done.

          Sadly too many people use God as an excuse to justify their own failure to use their brain.

  13. DougHwrite says:

    There is an infinitely simpler was to “save the planet” in addition to eliminating competition for resources and war, reducing human disease and vastly improving everyone’s quality of life: HUMAN BIRTH CONTROL.

    • Raleigh Latham says:

      Agreed, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to have kids. By the time I reach 30 because our planet will simply not be able to support 10 billion people, let alone 7! There is no way that 7-10 billion people on this planet could ever be sustained, especially when we all want to live an American lifestyle of exponential waste.

      Any time I see some idiot family with 3-6 fat kids, I shudder thinking of the standard of living that they are leaving to future generation.

      We are not insects! We are human beings! We cannot keep expanding our population or we will all crash, and life on earth will lose.

      • Hank Hyena says:

        HI Raleigh — this is Hank Hyena, author of the IVM article. Don’t worry about over-population, and have kids if you want to — I wrote a article on this topic called “To Breed? Or Not To Breed?” – it is in the Politics Section. Also, a good thing about having kids is that they might not ever die — they might be the first generation to live forever. What a nice world to bring your kids into? I wrote an article on that topic too — “Hey Kids Don’t Forget To Take My Brain Out Of The Freezer” — in the Forever Young section, I believe. Regarding population, I think we will peak at about 7.5 billion in 10 years, then it will decrease.

  14. baldrick says:

    Your optimism that this will soon take over is quaint. I recall an article in the Atlantic Magazine in the early ’90s about technologies that would revolutionize the auto. Nearly twenty years later, we are only beginning to employ the most basic elements of those “future cars.”

    You discuss all those who will be hurt or crushed by this new industry. Gee, you don’t think those big money interests will do anything to resist, do you? We are still denying global warming, and insurance companies aren’t even hiding their big money resistance to health care reform. But the enormous meat industry is going to sit quietly by while labs replace farms. OK.

    It took a lot of folks more than ten years to give the internet a try, and many of them still are too flummoxed to put it to use. I see commercials scaring and grossing out people over “sci-fi meat.” Teabagger types decrying IVM as Obama brain washing — they protested high taxes when their own tax rates were decreased, you think they will start eating lab chicken without a fight?

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi Hank Hyena here — A sausage company in The Netherlands – Stegeman – is an important funder of IVM research there. Shrewd meat distribution companies might just gradually shift the “manufacturing” of their very popular product from ranch to IVM. This resembles electrical companies buying solar energy from individuals who put up panels — “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” The meat distribution companies have their buyers and infrastructure set up, so they can continue to profit if they can get IVM at the lowest price. But the big ranchers in Texas, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, they’ll be stuck… Read about the end of the whale oil industry, wiped out by kerosene, quite quickly. thanks for your comments —

    • Valkyrie Ice says:

      Do you ever eat KFC?

      You are eating lab grown chicken.

      Sure there was an outrage when it was revealed they grew headless chickens for stock. Sure it made them have to change their name to KFC instead of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but are they still in business?

      Yup.

      Lab grown chicken.

      • Gob Bluth says:

        People still believe that KFC myth? For one, they refer to ‘chicken’ all the time.. in their marketing, commercials, menu, etc. Their rebranding had nothing to do with any kind of ‘lab chicken’.

        http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/mutantkfc.html

        • Valkyrie Ice says:

          Ahh. Thank you for the correction XD. To be honest I never bothered to actually look into the story. It was one of those shrug and “omg what are they complaining about now” kinda stories.

          However, most meat products do posses significant amounts of lab research and “meddling” by chemicals and selective breeding. I’m 6″5′ even though I was a very small child. When I was 12 I moved to Texas, and ate a lot of Beef (the Texas staple)

          Years later, after I had already grown to my current size, it was revealed Bovine growth hormone, which had commonly been used at the time, also affected humans, accelerating growth to some degree and speeding up development of secondary sex characteristics in some percentage of the people eating beef or Dairy with BGH. I’ve always wondered if I would be shorter had I not lived in Texas and eaten so much beef, but I’ve never really been curious enough to look into the effects of BGH either. I’ve always been of the opinion that when children are learning how to do things, mistakes happen.

          The point I was attempting to make is that very little of the food we eat has NOT been affected in some way by laboratory research. Whether that lab work was done in a university or in a farmers field by selective breeding ages ago, there is not a single food item that we grow in agriculture or animal husbandry which has not been subjected to mutation away from it’s “natural” wild state. Wild grain has far fewer seeds per head than cultivated, wild pigs have thick hides with bristles and tusks, wild corn has much smaller ears than farmed corn.

          If you truly wanted to complain about “natural” foods, you’d need to go back and stop the first farmers from growing crops.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m expecting this product to be about as close to real beef or lamb as that “imitation crabmeat” is to real crabmeat. IE, I’ll eat it if there’s no real meat around.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Great article. Made me think some more about this. I am looking forward to seeing this come to fruition.

  17. Neal says:

    Hank, you said this earlier, “My understanding is that “flavor” will be chemically added to the in-vitro meat, and scientists regard that as the “easy part.”

    Isn’t part of you afraid that this “chemically added” flavor might be dangerous? Wouldn’t the flavor that comes from walking around a field eating grass, the way nature has been evolving cows for the past billion years, be preferable and safer?

    I completely agree that the way most animals are raised and slaughtered nowadays is awful, and the pollution that results is just as bad. However, this planet at its healthiest works when plants get energy from the sun, animals eat the plants, and animal excrement fertilizes the next set of plants. This is what happened for millions of years before humans came along.

    In modern farming it is now cheaper (partly because of subsidies) to keep animals confined to feed lots and fertilize plants with chemicals, which end up in our rivers and air. But instead of throwing a lot of untested science at this problem, why not work to get things back to the way nature intended? It would be safer and healthier for our planet to have sustainable, traditional farms like we had throughout thousands of years of our history, until about 50 years ago.

    Also, where is the raw material for all this IVM coming from? It cant just appear out of thin air, where will it come from and will it be sustainable?

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi Neal, this is Hank — there’s a large sausage company in The Netherlands, Steagmans (sp?) that’s a funder of IVM and IVM will probably appear first in sausage forms. Sausages are delicious to many, and I’m not sure how they get their flavor, part spices, part artificial flavoring, I believe. Seems to me that IVM will duplicate this. Regarding your other comments, nature didn’t “evolve cows” — people did. Cattle are descended from wild oxen the “Great Aurochs”, and all domestic animals have had their “evolution” tampered with to fulfill human needs, so have vegetables, grains, fruits. There’s nothing “natural” about the vast herds and flocks of domesticated animals, and there’s no mandate from Nature that this situation is good for the planet. Sorry, but I also don’t see ‘traditional farms” ever returning in significant numbers. I see them continuing to dwindle. I see farmscrapers, stacked hydroponic greenhouses in urban areas, tended by robots. Maybe that seems like a grim vision to you, but it seems fun, practical, healthy, and convenient to me. But thanks for your comments, sincerely.

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi Neal, this is Hank — there’s a large sausage company in The Netherlands, Steagmans (sp?) that’s a funder of IVM and IVM will probably appear first in sausage forms. Sausages are delicious to many, and I’m not sure how they get their flavor, part spices, part artificial flavoring, I believe. Seems to me that IVM will duplicate this. Regarding your other comments, nature didn’t “evolve cows” — people did. Cattle are descended from wild oxen the “Great Aurochs”, and all domestic animals have had their “evolution” tampered with to fulfill human needs, so have vegetables, grains, fruits. There’s nothing “natural” about the vast herds and flocks of domesticated animals, and there’s no mandate from Nature that this situation is good for the planet. Sorry, but I also don’t see ‘traditional farms” ever returning in significant numbers. I see them continuing to dwindle. I see farmscrapers, stacked hydroponic greenhouses in urban areas, tended by robots. Maybe that seems like a grim vision to you, but it seems fun, practical, healthy, and convenient to me. But thanks for your comments, sincerely.

  18. Cburrowz says:

    Hello Hank. Thought provoking article. I agree that in 3 to 10 years the creation of satisfactory laboratory processed IVM will occur. One thing to consider is the vast size of the meat industry. It seems to me that it will take some time to create the feed stocks (nutrients and materials used to grow IVM) plus infrastructure to replace current meat production.

    I’m positive the problems encountered will be overcome and you will see an ever increasing market for IVM but it will never replace conventional meat growing completely. We don’t need to hunt, but I’m sure more people hunt today than at any point in the past.

    While you’re at it, pass me that slice of flask flank. ;-)

  19. Eric Pellissier says:

    I hope that all comes true so that there is cheap farmland once I get out of college.

  20. Valkyrie Ice says:

    *sigh* I see the naysayers are out in force today.

    Think people! We are on the verge of therapeutic clone tissue regeneration. What is going to happen is not the Asimovian vision from the SS “Good Taste” but the creation of a viable IVM product that is CLONED FROM THE ANIMAL. IVM companies are going to be competing for the purchase of DNA from the various food stock animals. They are going to be growing clone tissues of all the various muscles that make the various cuts of meat.

    Sorry to the author, but his IVM vision is a little short sighted. Right now we can only make undifferentiated tissue, but by the time IVM is practical, which may indeed be within 5 years, forced clone growth will be the method used. Look into organ printing. A refined version of that will be used to make speed cloned meat tissue, muscle and fat with only capillaries, no gristle or bones.

    Within 10 years it is possible that Speed cloned food of every type will be possible, so no need to have those Farmscrapers either. Cloning plant material is easier than cloning meat.

    I have no doubt that these visions will happen, even the futureshocky cannibals, but it will be with cloned products being produced, not undifferentiated tissue.

    You want grain fed Black Angus, you will get grain fed Black Angus, cloned from a prize winning specimen, fed with the nutrients a cows stomach would have extracted from a prize winning strain of grain, in absolutely optimum conditions.

    You can’t simply look at the barest beginnings of a technology and judge everything from that, you HAVE to be aware of all the applicable technologies and see how they will work together.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Your comments about saturated fats are completely off. They are good for you. Without saturated fats these meats will cause cancer and early aging.

  22. Justen says:

    That’s an incredibly ambitious set of predictions. I think you underestimate the latent sadism in carrion feeders (who fancy themselves descendants of predators). I suspect you’ll get a lot of “I ain’t eatin’ nothin’ that didn’t breathe and get killed natural-like!” for a long, long time into the future. I suspect there’ll be plenty of market for real meat, although Mc.Heart Attack crowd is likely to eat the stuff without even knowing it (or asking too many questions).

    @Anonymous, above: you want all that land to “go back to the earth”? Here’s a thought: buy it. With your own money. Care for it – with your own two hands. Protect it – with force if necessary. You want other people to set the opportunity inherent in all that land aside? Be prepared to pay for it. In a word, give yourself a personal investment it. Nobody else will. Sitting around, whining about what “society” ought to do will get you nowhere. Without you those animals will be hunted, shot and eaten as soon as the enviro-fetishism fad dies and that land will be put to someone else’s productive use. Stop being a hippie, start being proactive, put your money, your time, and your feet where your mouth is and stop expecting others to do it for you.

    As for me, I’m waiting with bells on. I haven’t touched an animal product in a decade. Hope it’s not a disappointment. Don’t think I’ll be eating my wife any time soon though, have fun with that, hipsters. :)

  23. Lewis says:

    If they can create, rich marbleized tender meat, IVF could completely dominate. If they can’t create the fat, there is no way. Fat tastes way to good for it go away, it’s the reason butter is still around even though butter substitutes are better for you.

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi, I’m Hank Hyena, the author. My understanding is that “flavor” will be chemically added to the in-vitro meat, and scientists regard that as the “easy part.” The hard part is developing the meat-like texture, especially in tougher flesh like steak and pork chops. But I agree with you, IVM success is dependent on its flavor.

      • Brandon says:

        Fat is not a flavor.

        It’s required for… wait for it… the meat-like texture, especially in tougher flesh like… wait, what steak are you eating? Steak’s deliciously tender and moist.

        • Lewis says:

          Fat is not flavor, but it is an integral part of making a good tasting savory dish, just like salt.

          Have you ever tried grade A5+ Wagyu beef (also know as Kobe if slaughtered in Japan)? It is the most tender, marbleized beef you will ever taste. It is quite expensive though, usually around $30 an ounce at a nice restaurant. The more fat in the meat will make it more tender, that’s why nice cuts of ribeye or tenderloin taste so good because they have a higher fat percentage then lets say like sirloin. Same goes for fish, tuna belly (toro) has a much higher fat percentage but then other parts of the tuna, but its tastes so much better.

      • nic0mac says:

        Hey hank, I believe the when they talk of adding flavor they are talking about replacing the marinade or rub type flavoring process by including it through out the meat, so not only would a tenderloin be on the shelf but also a dozen preseasoned versions of it. I personally cant wait to be able to order a custom flavored cut of lamb or beef.

      • sage says:

        My wonder is about the chemicals it is grown in & if it is flavoured with ‘natural flavours’, that is typically hidden msg, in hydrolyzed yeast, etc. I am all for the technology, or the end result, but what, really, is the process? What chemicals will be in this meat?

  24. Anonymous says:

    We need to make sure that that newly available land is made into vast national wildlife reserves/parks, not privatized. Nature must be given back to animals. The planet must start to heal. The negative effects of human civilization can be combated extremely if your predictions are accurate. I suspect it will usher in a bright new age of science; as biologists will have more “nature” to study.

    As an animal rights extremist, this is the best possible development. Soon, eating an actual animal will be unthinkable and disturbing. We will become a much more moral species.

  25. In Vitro meat will do to pasture grown meat what margarine did to butter. Despite nearly 50 years of food science, still the most economical way of getting the wonderfully rich flavor of butter is to milk it out of cows.

    In vitro meat will be fine for industralized meat products that just want the approximate taste & texture of meat but anybody wanting a fine steak is still going to get it from good old fashioned cows.

  26. Alex Vance says:

    “But I imagine passionate lovers literally eating each other, growing sausages from their co-mingled tissues overnight in tabletop appliances similar to bread-making machines. And of course, masturbatory gourmands will simply gobble their own meat.”

    You sure know how to work my gag reflex, baby.

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi, this is Hank, the author. Yes, it seems sickening, way past nose-picking. But taboos usually get experimented with, so I suspect we’ll be eating each other and ourselves.

      • Conor Jamison says:

        A very odd prospect, but there’s no necessary reason for it to be bad. I mean, if it’s done in-vitro, then there’s no death or mutilation involved, which is what I find sickening about cannibalism. As long as human flesh tastes good, I’m not completely opposed to trying some, haha!

  27. Insulted says:

    I agree that there are many benefits to having in-vitro meat, but overall I couldn’t help but read this article and feel that it was a large attack upon those that do not live in urbanite America.

    • Hank Hyena says:

      Hi Insulted, this is Hank, the author. I understand your concern and I want to tell you where I’m from and coming from. I was raised on a large family dairy farm, 350 cows — I branded cows, fed cows, helped slaughter cows & chickens & goats, I saw immense animal suffering. But I liked rural life; I spent last year living in Costa Rica in the cloud forest (I bought a cow there, too) and I have a vacation home in the redwoods of Sonoma County that I love to spend time in. I even like country music. I love rural & urban both, but I know through blood-soaked experience that giant ranches are horrible places for animals. The lovely gentle Holsteins I grew up with were generally slaughtered after 2-3 years of milk production, and then we ate them. We ate all the chicken eggs, and when the hens got too numerous, we cut off their heads and ate them too. The baby goats I wrestled with were strung up by their back feet, they twitched violently as their throats were cut. I love the taste of meat but I find animal husbandry very sad and cruel; I ate far more “pets” than one should. So I am all for ending the vast death of the 50 billion animals per year if we can eat In-Vitro instead. Plus its bad for the environment; in Costa Rica beautiful forests are chain-sawed to raise beef. A better world, in my opinion, would keep the jungles and make the meat in a less damaging way.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ugh, this sounds awful. Animals taste like the food they are given, so I can only imagine what a chunk of chemically grown meat would taste like. Not to mention it’s the marbled fat in meats that gives it the best flavor.

    Also, only about 1.2 million are employed in agriculture, fishing, and processing of farming related fields. http://www.bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs001.htm So sorry, the waves of farmers going to cities in the US already happened, largely thanks to mechanization.

    Yes, there are issues with meat production, and beyond that, providing food to the US and the world, but eating artificial meat is the last place I would look to solve that problem.

    @ 08:24 Anonymous, there are over 800 recognized breeds of cattle alone. Not to mention they serve an important purpose on marginal lands and grass lands, converting grass into protein. Without cattle or other animals to help (properly) manage them, these lands can become overgrown and not get the nutrients from the animals. I think you fail to see the animals form an important part of the life-cycle of crops, (although factory farming can be detrimental with too much waste/acreage)

    • Caewil says:

      Cloned meat is feasible, but I think the specifics will have to be worked out. As for worrying about ensuring that the meat tastes similar to the ‘natural’ kind, I have no doubt that demand will push innovation in that area. Marbling shouldn’t be particularly difficult. However, at the very least, it is going to make luncheon meat and burger patties and those nuggets at McDonalds a lot more eco-friendly. I doubt anyone notices the taste anyway. Not to mention the reduction in transport costs.

      As for the land needing animals to manage it, maybe we could plant some more forests there or start breeding… Elephants. Get rid of the cows and put some interesting animals for people to look at while driving.

      As for chemically grown meat… That’s what modern meat is anyway.

  29. Anonymous says:

    A lot more discussion is going on at http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/a5b2a/eight_ways_invitro_meat_will_change_our_lives/

    The cannibalistic touches in this article will probably futureshock most people :)

    • Matthew Bendyna says:

      What’s the big deal? It’s not like you’d be actually killing a human being, so I see no moral objection to it. Shocking to some people? I really wouldn’t be surprised. But, as for the people who try it, what is the issue as they are not destroying real humans?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Very nice article.
    You forgot to mention the impact on vegetarians. Now they can eat all the meat they want without feeling bad about the animals.

    • Elyse says:

      While this is true about some vegetarians being able to eat what they want of IVM. Not all vegetarians are so because of animal cruelty.

      But this is super awesome. I am completely interested in trying it (even as a vegetarian)

  31. Anonymous says:

    But what will it taste like? While I applaud this effort for its potential to have a hugely positive impact on both the environment and human health overall, if it isn’t palatable no one will want to eat it. TVP and other soy-based products have been available for decades but it is only within the last five years or so that they have improved sufficiently in terms of flavor to have gained a broader appeal. And still, they are not actually viable meat substitutes to non-vegetarians, but rather something else that is sometimes interesting. See this interesting article from Wired in April of 2008: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/04/invitro_meat

    Excerpt: “For all the talk of high-tech meat production, attendees of the first In-Vitro Meat Symposium didn’t put their stomachs where their mouths were. Instead of sampling early versions of in vitro meat, they stuck to local fare.”
    ‘We had some excellent Norwegian salmon, which was very tasty,’ Bennett said.”

    • analmoose says:

      well. it shouldn’t tast any different to any other meats as it is derived from exactly the same place just built to a edible ‘shape’ and decent size for consumption. In fact it should taste better as it will not be fatty and isn’t from a once living animal who was fed nothing but rubbish.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Umm, some factual errors.

    Acid rain is not caused by Ammonia. Ammonia is a base.

    The fat in the meat is where half the flavour arises. A nice marbling of fat is desirable in top grade beef.

  33. Anonymous says:

    “It will eliminate the artery-clogging saturated fat that kills us.”

    That has never been proven, you know. If anything, saturated animal fat is GOOD for us! There are plenty of people who won’t be giving up meat sans fat any time soon.

    • quintery says:

      First of all, it HAS been proven saturated fats are bad for the human body. It has also been proven that EXTREME consumption of meat isn’t natural or good for the human body, or any humanoid species(our cousins the chimps and apes are almost strictly vegetarian, any form of meat is rarely more then 1% and never more then 5% daily intake).

      Secondly Even when I ate meat, I NEVER liked the taste of fatty meat, it tasted disgusting. Why people think it makes it taste good I don’t even understand, try it without the seasonings you slather all over it to make it palatable, chances are, it wont taste as good. Might I mention, most seasonings are plant based.

      I’ve had some pretty realistic plant protein based fo-meats. I think “chemically” made lab meats would taste much better then the “live meats” raised in small, filthy, cramped, and depressing cages and being fed filth and garbage being passed off as food. Food isn’t the only factor in the flavor of meat. Your not going to find a good tasting depressed cow.

      How about getting over the flavor of that DEAD animal, and worry about your health for once. Flavor should NOT take priority over ones health, though it can exist side by side. Plus, didn’t you read the end. Hotdogs and spam, they don’t really have a distinct taste as it is.

      http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/natural.html another interesting read on what IS natural for humans and what we’ve been TOLD and CONDITIONED is natural for humans.

      • Jamie says:

        Actually, no they haven’t proven saturated fat causes health issues. Quite the opposite, really. Refined sugars and starches do, on the other hand. Do some research before pushing your vegetarian propaganda on others.

    • Courtney says:

      Mean isn’t bad, it just needs to be properly raised, slaughtered, prepared and consumed in the way God intended. The industry has perverted nature and taken so many shortcuts. The idea of artificial meat is sick, the world is becoming one big PLASTIC sphere. Everything that once was, now isn’t.
      The definition of fake is as follows: “A thing that is not genuine; a forgery or sham”. Everything I eat I wonder what man has done to ruin God’s perfection. What it would have been like in the very beginning?

  34. Anonymous says:

    I think you are overpredicting on number 1. Ranches will remain, only there will probably less than 100 worldwide. These ranches will have no more than a few dozen head (enough to avoid inbreeding). The animals at these ranches will be the genetically best, most healthy and pampered animals ever, and will be the cell source for the IVF factories. I imagine trading in bull sperm from these farms will replace pork bellies on the exchange.

  35. Anonymous says:

    You have completely neglected the global market for dairy products — milk, cheese, eggs, and so on. Unless in-vitro meat can also produce these products, this omission kind of kills the article… and this is coming from a vegan.

  36. Vespertine says:

    Great article. I fully support switching to vertical farming and cultured meat to reduce our impact on the environment. I’m a little skeptical about the 3-10 year timespan, but I certainly hope I live to see it. I f*@!ing hate Peter Singer though. I put a link to this article on my own blog, http://sanctumofvespertine.blogspot.com/2009/10/oh-my-god-man-bear-pig.html,
    on a post about global warming. I hope you don’t mind. Check it out if you’re interested.

  37. Vespertine says:

    Great article. I fully support switching to vertical farming and cultured meat to reduce our impact on the environment. I’m a little skeptical about the 3-10 year timespan, but I certainly hope I live to see it. I f*@!ing hate Peter Singer though. I put a link to this article on my own blog, http://sanctumofvespertine.blogspot.com/2009/10/oh-my-god-man-bear-pig.html,
    on a post about global warming. I hope you don’t mind. Check it out if you’re interested.

  38. sco says:

    Where did you come up with the 3 to 10 years prediction? I bet it will be ten times as long.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Food from McDonald’s may turn out to be the healthiest one could buy 20 years from now. Who would know.

  40. John says:

    I doubt that Europe will be the first successful market for IVM considering their strong negative reaction to genetically modified crops. There has been no comparable uproar in the United States because of corporate friendly regulation (or lack thereof). Consumers in the US simply aren’t aware because that information isn’t made available to them. They don’t know what they’re buying and consuming.

    Without a doubt, IVM will be used in Spam and hot dogs, but the real market will be that of McDonalds and the other fast food chains, who will quietly incorporate it into their production lines. There may be some backlash initially, but ultimately the cost benefit will make it irresistible to the fast food corporations.

    I particularly disagree with the suggestion that the farm raised beef market will collapse as whale oil did. There will still be a market for meat harvested from cattle. Consumers will want to see actual cuts of meat in the grocery store and have steaks served to them at restaurants. Until IVM production technology has advanced to the point that it can grow different types of steak and actually resemble those particular cuts of meat, there will be a market for farm raised beef. Steaks in particular require a certain amount of fat in the correct distribution to cook properly. You cannot replace that with a sheet of pure muscle. As the market shrinks, the price of steaks in restaurants may go up considerably, but the market will exist for the foreseeable post-IVM future.

  41. dreamking says:

    Can’t see Europe adopting it first. I see Asia doing it. Witness Europe’s Frankenfood response. Whether it’s the beef industry or the Greens, someone will be shouting from the rooftops that it’s untested, made with chemicals you’d never consume on your own (or can’t, because they’re regulated out of the food market). Manufactured meat will have a slow acceptance curve, certainly in North America. we have a cultural narrative wrapped around the mooing of cows and the rugged West. I’m reasonably confident the actual process (stuff growing in a vat) will not look particularly appetizing, which is exactly why we’ll be daily staring at pictures of gross-looking things floating around in green vat tanks once this starts becoming real.

  42. Max M says:

    We don’t know now what is, or is not, healthy about meat.

    So we will get something with the consistency of processed meat. Doubtfull health benefits, and dubious taste.

    That already exists. It is called “Seitan”. Gluten protein extracted from wheat. It is not a big hit.

    It will not take over meat anytime soon.

  43. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Anonymous — yes, I think you are right, good observation. And there will be a few ranches for other animals as well. any other predictions? thanks

  44. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi dreamking, this is Hank, the author. Every European veggie group I contacted was very positive about In-Vitro meat, and Europe is more veggie than USA. Plus the vegetarians and general population in Europe seem more aware of the environmental consequences of meat-eating. I think Asia has more traditions around meat than Europe, ie China and Pork, and the Japanese still seem to want their whale meat. Plus the Dutch are developing IVM. Belgium already has “Veggie Thursdays” where several cities make an attempt to skip meat that day, and England has its “Meatless Mondays” led by Paul McCartney. But that’s just my opinion; Asia is presently doubling its meat consumption every 5-10 years but maybe they’ll just switch to IVM. We’ll see.

  45. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi sco, this is Hank, the author. PETA is offering $1 million to anyone who can come up with a successful IVM market product by 2012, that is 3 years away. It seems to mostly be about funding, the IVM research needs money to speed up their process. Most of the researchers think that there will be an initial product out in 5-10 years, with harder-to-make products like steak and pork chops coming several years after that.

  46. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Vespertine, this is Hank, the author. Thanks for putting my article on your blog. And by the way, I largely agree with you regarding Peter Singer. I couldn’t read his Animal Liberation, it infuriated me and I thought it was stupid. thanks again, and l am hoping to write about vertical farming – “FarmScrapers” in the near future. I just made a model of one that I’ll try to photo and post here soon.

  47. Hank Hyena says:

    Hey, this is Hank, the author, and you’re wrong, I did mention dairy products in Change #5 — I said the cost of dairy products would skyrocket, etc. I know about dairy having grown up on one, dairy cows are sold for hamburger after their milk production wanes, and half of all calves from dairies are sold as veal. If the meat-sales side income of dairies disappears, milk product costs will have to soar, and that might crush the industry.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Well, there is already a distinction between cows that are raised to produce dairy and cows that will be slaughtered for beef; likewise with chickens. I agree, however, that the statement about vat-meat negating the need for livestock farms is an oversimplification.

  49. So, if we can clone food out of basically nothing, just some electricity and commodity chemicals, that might just usher in more changes than simply what we eat!

    Most of our time as a species is spent cultivating the food we need. If the food can be manufactured to nutritious standards, in a small foot print, with minimal staff, at a low price, it might actually be affordable to simply give the stuff away. Talk about voting ourselves bread and circuses!

    With a bunch of people unemployed due to no more farm work, and a lot of cheap food, we could have a whole class of people out of work but not starving. The government will just tell them to take their food stamps to a private food manufacturing facility. What will people do when they can eat their fill without working? I think your idea about people eating a steak made from their own ejaculate is just the tip of the iceburg of experimentation that will result from doubling or tripling the free time of the world’s population.

  50. Hamish says:

    I love the idea of tank steak! I wrote a college essay about it back in 2006. Some people said it was gross but is killing animals and eating their flesh any less gross?

  51. Anonymous says:

    its really not that hard to turn to a vegetarian diet. probably alot less expensive than all the testing and bs gone into this. get over meat. its not that amazing.

  52. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Okay, let me pass along some links which might illuminate exactly what the next few years could bring.

    Organ printing.
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/story?id=1603783&page=1
    http://organprint.missouri.edu/www/
    http://www.impactlab.com/2008/11/09/emerging-field-of-organ-printing/

    Thereputic cloning and creation of organs via a combination of an ink jet printer and patients own cells.

    This is the technology that will be making your Steaks as well. Once perfected this can be used to make any sort of tissue. If you ever watched 5th Element, think about how they rebuilt the girl from just a hand by assembling millions of thin slices.

    RepRap (Rapid Replication and Prototyping.)
    http://reprap.org/bin/view/Main/WebHome

    This is more or less the same thing for objects. It is a rapid prototyping machine that is in the process of being designed in such a manner that it can print out every part needed to make a copy of itself. Like the above involving organs, this involves layers assembled into a complete 3d part. It’s at a very early stage, but given a few years, a lot of manufacturing is going to involve the same kind of 3d Printing they will use for making organs.

    What this means is that a lot of current manufacturing technology is going to be bypassed by universal printers. Just as the IVM industry will replace the current cattle industry and most animal byproducts to produce “greener” meat, this will enable manufacturing at a far higher rate and greatly reduced cost, making the creation of “Food Factories” far more economically viable than cattle raising.

    And last

    http://www.coolcomputing.com/article.php?sid=3334
    http://www.smartplanet.com/business/blog/smart-takes/xerox-debuts-ink-tech-to-print-electronic-circuits-on-textiles-film-plastics/1827/

    The last of the “printing” technologies, printing entire electronic circuits. By enabling circuits to be printed on a wide range of substrates, this will enable electronics to be far “greener” as well. Circuits will no longer have to be printed on non biodegradable fiberglass, it will also allow electronics to be printed at far lower cost.

    So take these and put them together, and you have all the components of a 1st Generation “Food Machine ™ or to be even more exact, a full replicating machine able to make food, material goods, and almost any manufactured product.

    This goes far beyond just IVM, but I wanted to make sure people understood this is not just a isolated technology, this is part of a comprehensive paradigm shift from the 20th century’s ways of doing things.

    We are learning how to reproduce everything nature can do. It’s not going to be overnight, but we will be shifting from a resource scarce economy to one in which resources will be far more abundant because they are used far more efficiently with much less waste. Yes a lot of old ways of doing things are going to fall. A lot of businesses and traditions will be ground to dust. The gains to be made for our planet and our species is worth it.

  53. Nirveli says:

    Did you ever read Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood? Sveltana No-Meat Cocktail Sausages, ChickieNobs Bucket O’Nubbins… it’s on its way.

    But what about Pigoons, or the BlyssPluss pill? How close are we to seeing them made reality? Tell us, Hank Hyena…

  54. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi, Hank Hyena here. I dig your optimism, I’ve been waiting my whole life for robots to take care of me – they should grow all the food, deliver and cook it. I need to correct a statement in your email though — the “idea about people eating a steak made from their own EJACULATE” is not my idea — it is apparently… Yours. Hahaha.

  55. Truthsetsyoufree says:

    Let’s see now, we have major problems with companies squeezing more profits by giving our food less and less of the God given nutrients that are supposed to be there. Yet we are supposed to “trust” companies to turn a new leaf and completelyt manufacture a product form scratch? I for one am not that trusting of agribusiness now, and would be VERY scrupulous of ANYTHING they “grow” in a lab. Just give them a short bit of time, and people will be eating plastic. No Thank you, not now, not ever.
    By the way, I am so impressed with the journalistic professionalism you exhibited with some posts-I have seen more responsible editorials in high school rags.

  56. Hank Hyena says:

    “God given nutrients” ? and what is this “Truthsetsyoufree” ? Are you another Christian trolling H+ looking for a sexbot? good luck.

  57. Chris W says:

    “shit, burp, fart, eat, over graze, drink, bleed, or scream”
    I wonder about the eating part. The cells after to cultured in something. Granted feeding a cow muscle can’t require nearly as much work as feeding a whole cow, but I think it’s safe to assume that these tube grown meets will eat something. Matter doesn’t just spring from a vacuum (well maybe in the quantum world). We can’t ignore the environmental impact from the production of the various solutions these meets will be grown in. I’m sure it will be more efficient than what we do today, but only if we pay attention to such little details and force these companies to be accountable.

  58. Valkyrie Ice says:

    The problem with most Sci-Fi is that it is a product of it’s time.

    Asimov wrote in “Good Taste” about processed food from fungal cultures flavored with chemicals such as “Garden Tang” and “Mountain Tang” both of which were inferior variants of Garlic. When the story was written IVM wasn’t even an idea in scientific circles.

    Early Sci-Fi was all about “food pills”, and even the Matrix featured that “cream of wheat” artificial food substitute.

    What you have to be aware of in Sci-Fi is that almost every author writes about a world gone wrong in some way. A recent article on IO9 spoke about how much easier it is to write Dystopias than Utopias. Utopias don’t have the dramatic tension needed for a story.

    I read almost constantly, from politics to hard science research to Sci-Fi to just about everything. And what I’m seeing isn’t obvious if you don’t look deeper behind the headlines and surface stories. For all the hard times, despair and travesty in America today, I am actually pretty optimistic. Right now, the Corporations are in the fight of their lives and no matter how many skirmishes they win, they are ultimately losing the fight for survival. Public Attention has turned on them, and too many of them are ignoring this fact. They may fight for a few more years, but they will have to change their business strategies pretty soon, or they will run themselves out of business. The customer is king, and the continued growth of the green movement will force them to become greener.

    Also if you read my post on the manufacturing paradigm shift to “printing” you must understand the pressure that will be brought to bear on companies as well. When one company can produce 1000 items at a dollar each for each one item another can make at a 1000, which is going to survive? A company that uses printing technology for manufacture will out compete any company which does not, and as such technology is more efficient, it is inherently “greener”.

    Food manufacturing will out do all traditional cattle industries, and probably most agricultural industries as well, though those will likely always remain as a viable “hobby” industry. Also, since food manufacturing can be done small scale as well as large, grocery store chains could very well do away with the long range distribution industry altogether, local plants could service a dozen local stores with no need to ship from a central warehouse, so stocks could be maintained daily.

    Additionally, the chemicals used to create these cloned food products would be rich in usable bio-organic material, much of which could potentially be recyclable within the process itself, or find use in other processes. As our knowledge of biology continues to expand, I expect the processes to become 100% recyclable in less than a decade after initial deployment.

    Once we have developed the basic nanotech or biotech needed to break any chemical down to base elements, everything will become recyclable, and we will eliminate pollution completely.

  59. Sorry but you can keep the Frankenfood. Scientists always think they know better – I remember the tinfoil hat moniker being doled out to anyone a few years ago who took issue with GMO’s, nano-materials and other Gee Wizz technology that was going to save us from the cold harsh mistress known as mother nature. Guess what GMO’s have numerous problems – just ask the farmers in India or Indiana for that matter – does terminator genes and roundup immune superweeds ring a bell. How about Nano particles that are now causing genetic damage. I am waiting for the day, I can read it now. Trial of the century against Monsanto/Cargill/ADM/BASF or any other “We are Scientists and know whats best crowd” as the records come out against these companies when its shown that they knew damn well what damage their products would do and how many lives they would take in order to secure more profits for shareholders. I truly RELISH that day – Hey may I purchase my front row seat tickets please.

    Quit screwing shit up and leave it alone…

    Here is a fact – A FACT – look this up – take a non GMO plant and use an ORGANIC foliar spray called SONIC BLOOM on it. Thousands of growth records shattered world wide, healthy food and its done without ruining anything and also without having to get a contract for seed from companies like MONSANTO – Look it up if you even care.

  60. Anonymous says:

    How is the saturated fat that we all need a certain amount of going to be synthesized? Plus, manmade climate change from emissions of anthropogenic CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases is a scam, as is the back-up story, Peak Oil.
    How does a greenhouse work? It has 3 times the CO2 found outdoors yet it is heated by glass panels and heaters- nothing-and I mean nothing- to do with CO2, which assists the plants chemically but in a non-thermal way. I’ve asked people who are supposed to know the answers to these sorts of things and they just ignored me. Maybe it’s not quite as simple as asking how a greenhouse works and applying that to the whole atmosphere, but it must be similar enough or they would have been comfortable answering my question.
    Far from being inb the vested interests of big money and oil companies to deny “the truth of global warming,” most of the money and jobs are in promoting this lie.
    Think of ther person who wrote the article. Would s/he be able to get away with not paying fealty to the CO2 scam by mentioning the neeed to cut emissions? Would s/he still be published if s/he said it was a crock and insisted the mention of CO2 emissions not be added? Of course not.
    As for IVM, it will might not be able to fully replace meat and fish for the reason I mentioned and also because of the benefit of whole foods. The Cartesian breaking things down into their components can only be done up to a certain point. In my opinion, IVM will largely replace meat, and will improve the diets of a great many of the world’s people, but it won’t fully replace meat-maybe 80%.

  61. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Those “solutions” are bio-organic nutrient compounds. 100% biodegradable, and as tasty to the environment as they are to the cultured cells. Most of it will likely also be reusable.

    Basically, for the cell to be able to break it down into usable food for division and growth, it’s got to be 100% identical to the nutrients found in blood. Most likely it will be mild saline solution super saturated with oxygen and the various enzymes, nutrients, and chemicals the cells need, minus any of the detrimental chemicals that cows find in the environment like pesticides or the various viruses and bacteria that lead to disease.

    And that’s if they use standard cloning techniques. Speed grown tissue using printing would likely use a culture of stem cells grown in bulk solution, then mixed with the correct chemical “signals” to produce which ever kind of specific tissue is required (Ribeye, Prime Rib, etc)

    This would then be “printed” into a completed form, immersed into a nutrient solution until cell differentiation was completed (during which time the tissue would also grow into a normal cut of meat with muscle tissue, fat tissue and capillaries) then removed from the nutrients and allowed to “die” as it is packed and delivered to the consumer. In fact, if processed so that it is packed into a small amount of nutrient solution so that it maintains cell processes until delivery and cooking, you could have a steak as fresh as if you had just sliced it off Ole Betsy yourself.

  62. CSULB says:

    While it sounds cool, how will the potential violent consequences of up-ending so many traditional economic sectors be prevented or mitigated? This sounds like both a potential boon for mankind, but simultaneously could lead to more of the entrenched dependencies that hobble it now. You think Africa is aid dependent now? Just wait till they have an uncompetitive ag sector and a first world flush with cheap meat and all of its profits. I literally shudder at the thought. Any thoughts on how all this dirt cheap meat will impact overpopulation? I honestly don’t know what to make of this – -but it is interesting to say the least!

  63. Anonymous says:

    I can clearly see the good side, but let’s face it — its creepy! As a fish and chicken consumer, I would welcome the greater choice, but does this help the fact that we already eat much more meat than is good for us? Do we have to replace meat in our diet with…meat? Loved the article as thought-provoking, but I believe there are no easy answers.

  64. jw says:

    Howdy Hank – Another great article. I’m not clear if the vision of IVM is based on cloning, or truly “artificially” created. Obviously cloning would seem to be easier, but isn’t cloned meat still meat? Seems like a vegan would be conflicted. Also, I think you might underestimate the resistance, not from “steak lovers” and luddites, but from organized meat groups (beef – it’s what’s for dinner). They will lobby the hell out of government to stop this (communist) infiltration of their commercial profits. Keep up the good work! Nice warm, sunny day in Monteverde today. – jw

  65. Anonymous says:

    I don’t disagree with the idea in theory, but I would probably never eat it myself if I had the option.

    1) Who knows what the ramifications down the line of consuming artificially generated meat could be?

    2) It will not be the same. Period. End. Meat is not just muscle. Meat is partially decomposed muscle and fat and connective tissue. That’s right; by the time the flesh gets to your table it has been partially decomposed–sometimes past the point of rigor–and it’s been that way for god knows how long. So not only will they have to grow it, they will have to “kill” it, bleed it and let it “die”. Furthermore, because they are changing the fatty acid composition, it will change the texture and flavor of the meat. Meat gets a large degree of its flavor, firmness and tenderness from its fat composition. If you make all the saturated fats unsaturated omega-3s, you will drastically alter the culinary profile of the meat.

    3) Meat-lovers will not stand behind it for the above reason.

    4) The present methods of meat production DO require some work, adjustment, and in some areas, overhaul. But overall, it does what it’s supposed to do and does so without an incredible degree of animal mishandling. There are certainly instances of animal mishandling, but there is not supposed to be–and the industry cannot control the actions of every individual worker.

    If everyone was to have their way?

    I think what we’d end up with is a product like this on the market and readily available, but also grass-fed beef and similar meat products also readily available. In a “all winners no losers” situation, that would probably be the result.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm Solyent Green so tastee .I’m surprised it aint been namechecked yet!

  67. Raleigh Latham says:

    Amazing, I’ll be the first to completely change my diet to In-Vitro meat.
    When you look at the catastrophic damage that beef and pork production causes worldwide, this seems like a gift from God. Imagine saving hundreds of millions of acres of farm, and eliminating billions of tons of harmful methane emissions and pollutants. Beef is not even natural anymore! If you look at the present system of factory farming, it’s atrocious! Cattle are kept in pens so small they can’t move, are pumped full of antibiotics, and eat an unnatural diet of corn while standing ankle deep in their own feces. That is in NO way healthy for society as a whole.

    This is a step forward for humanity, and gives us a way to sustain ourselves.

  68. Alan says:

    I’m doubtful about the lower side of the 3 to 10 years prediction, but I do believe that in vitro meat production is the future.

    Sure, there will still be some boutique farms and ranches left – as another poster mentioned, there will still be a need to keep a reserve of real stock and the ability to generate new products – and a few will be kept as living museums – but even if there are thousands of such farms they will mostly be small and the environmental impact of livestock will be greatly reduced.

    Of course, in some places new animals may need to be introduced to fill the ecological niches currently held by livestock, and not every farm will be converted to nature reserves – but the beneficial changes can still be enormous.

    This will also mean more places where nature lovers can enjoy nature, and while some rural inhabitants will dislike the changes I think many will eventually come on board when they realise it can benefit them as well.

    I am glad to see the vegetarian groups, including PETA, on board. Though some members may complain, this is a very sensible decision for anyone concerned about animal welfare or the environment, if they are interested in making things actually work. They simply aren’t going to convince everyone to go vegan – but if they can encourage synthetic meats they might accomplish most of their goals in a relatively short time. There will be some dissenters who will be unduly influenced by the “yuck” factor, but it is still a sound decision. The discussion at Slashdot last year when PETA made the announcement of their award was quite interesting – many comments were to the effect that this was the first sensible thing PETA had ever done. More to the point, this was from the meat-eaters that PETA and other groups have to convince.

    There will of course be some reluctance to change – there always is – but this is still quite promising.

  69. Adam says:

    There was vat-grown meat in “The Space Merchants” and other stories from the 1950s – it’s been a tissue culture dream for decades. So it’s not a new idea, just one that is becoming practical.

    Personally I have mixed feelings about willfully causing the near-extinction of all our domestic breeds. How is that somehow more moral than the meat industry – the animals won’t suffer because they won’t exist?

  70. Anonymous says:

    In-vitro meat will make “manga meat” a reality! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manga_meat)

  71. Anonymous says:

    This article highlights a lot of … benefits of IVM. Some of what’s been touted as a ‘selling point’ of IVM just put me off my vegetarian dinner, but I’ll accept that there must be a few people who dream of eating their loved ones.

    For some reason, though, the author seems to say that putting millions of people out of work and necessitating the mass slaughter of hundreds of millions of food animals is a great benefit of IVM. Isn’t the point of looking into the future to be able to avoid the massive problems we could stumble into?

    Even accepting that ranchers are evil people who deserve to be burned from their homes – or whatever you personally believe – that’s going to be an economic and social catastrophe of nearly inconceivable proportions when they can’t afford to feed their families or keep their homes.

    And what about those evil SOBs who aren’t comfortable dining on artificial meat? If some of the brightest minds of our generation can’t make an Xbox that works the first time, how can we gleefully switch over to trans-ham? If my software breaks down and dies, I’m mildly inconvenienced. If a mistake comes up as my beaker bacon is midway through my lower intestine, “Red Ring of Death” is going to have a whole new meaning.

    I’m not saying that this should be the purview of every single article written on this particular subject, I’m just confused as to the author’s singularly gleeful tone when he blithely discusses massive socio-economic shifts. We should be enthusiastic about this, but we shouldn’t be that enthusiastic.

  72. Chris Ronk says:

    As a vegetarian, I think this is great.

    I am a vegetarian not for health reasons, but because of the cruel methods in which we harvest our meat.

    I may start eating meat again.

  73. Boris says:

    Greetings, Hank.

    I belive this article is neither objective nor upholds any form of journalistic credential.
    It is almost as if it was written in the spur of a fanatic “Hail Victory” moment and I can almost see a charismatic Hitler-like figure in the foreground going on and on about the destruction of rural homes and the unemployement of millions.

    But really, even if you support this and consider the unemployement as a necessary evil, how can you support the destruction of our tradtions and our history.
    More importantly, how can you support urbanization?

    Do you not see the effects of it? The ever more lonely individual, despite being in this clogged up mess of a city? With our appartment boxes and walls?

    Is urbanization really something positive? Out of all the effects you mentioned i belive that this is the worst effect. Not the unemployement, not the killing of millions and millions of animals that would’ve did anyway. No. The Urbanization is a true threat to humanity as we know it today.

    We’ll become nothing more than machines with strict day to day routines. Heck, imagine…We’ll become like the soulless japanese people. The dudes work 51 WEEKS every year, no vacation, no free time, no real happiness. And then they go and watch sick porn or flashing TV shows to entertain their sick minds that they keep in constant denial.

    Please do reply sir, if you have the time.

  74. Boris says:

    This is a comment to Valkyre Ice and anyone who reads.

    Viruses, according to the newest of research, are the driving factor behind evolution as they corrupt and change DNA.
    It wouldn’t be wise to decimate them completely from a long term point.

    Also we’ve noted that food additives aren’t as good as the “natural” thing. Among other things people who take “vitamin pills” are often less healthy than people who eat fruit.

  75. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Um…do any of you folks (and especially Hank Hyena) have the foggiest notion of how cell culture is actually done? Of the elaborate skill set, pricey supplies, and rigorously maintained sterile environments it takes to grow cells without a body to protect them? It will NEVER be *cheaper* to culture meat in a lab than to raise and slaughter whole animals, which pretty much take care of themselves. I always find it striking how little the “zomg, the singularity is upon us bc of teh technology” crowd knows about the actual workings of actual scientists.

  76. Saintpeter says:

    Fascinating article. But you make it sound like ethical issues are the only barrier between us and in-vitro meat. Do you really think the “natural” meat industry will go without a fight? Alternatives to oil and gas have been available for some time, and yet fossil fuel companies continue to rape the Earth. The music industry sues single mothers for millions for downloading music, even though the death of CD sales seems inevitable. Big business is essentially organized crime; like the mafia, they present themselves as charming pillars of the community … until you f— with their money. Then, you see just how ruthless and ugly they’re willing to be. The meat industry will fight in-vitro meat with every dirty trick in the book. Even if they do eventually lose, the battle could take decades.

  77. Valkyrie Ice says:

    I would also like to point out that none of my statements about the future of “printing technologies” are exactly “new developments” either

    http://www.openthefuture.com/2006/12/bioprinters_vs_the_meatrix.html
    http://www.fastcompany.com/blog/jamais-cascio/open-future/material-issue

  78. Anonymous says:

    I am a vegan and I can honestly say that even if this in-vitro method did become prevalent, I STILL wouldn’t eat meat. It’s not about the “guilt” as you call it. For a lot of vegans it’s about doing what is natural for our bodies as well–Most vegans I know, which is at least a hundred, would rather eat organic produce the genetically engineered shit. I am glad to see this as an alternative, because I DO want to see an end to animal suffering. If people choose to eat meat, I would much rather them be able to so it without death…I’m just pointing out that this method could have unknown health risks, and that, contrary to what the article stated, there would still be vegetarians.

  79. David Stern says:

    If this really could be produced cheaper than natural meat then it seems to have lots of environmental and ethical advantages etc. But I’m skeptical that it could be produced at reasonable cost any time soon. If it was so easy to produce artificial animal products wouldn’t we already have artificial milk? Sounds a lot easier than growing animal tissues – engineer some bacteria to secrete the equivalent of cow milk. But we are still going through the complex process of growing cows, milking them and transporting the perishable product to market…

  80. Anonymous says:

    The author says “No sweat about those unemployed ranchers, etc. They’ll just move to the city and get jobs in these IVM plants!” Okay, um, much easier said than done. Have you BEEN to a major city lately? A single person has to work TWO jobs just to pay for a crappy studio in L.A. With a good percentage of the rural population moving to any given city, the cost of living is going to skyrocket. And this is of course assuming that a rancher is qualified to get a job in a “factory” where the main focus is cellular and molecular biology.

  81. Anonymous says:

    What about countries whose economies are dependent on livestock? (especially third world countries) It would basically mean that they would be in total economic chaos. Many small third world countries will not be able to produce this new meat due to lack of facilities, technologies etc. Furthermore, their markets will be undercut by the developed countries will fake meat and it will cause mass unemployment (think what America does with its excess grain in the third world).

  82. Katie says:

    Since when is it compassionate to put the comfort of cattle before the comfort of the massive numbers of people who depend on ranching for their income? I’m an animal lover, but if you honestly think that the future unemployed ranchers of whom you speak so flippantly will just be able to pick up, move to the city and retrain for new jobs, then I can’t agree with anything from the entire article. Your bias is clouding your judgement of how much of a problem the elimination of this industry could cause. Speaking of which, there will always be a meat industry. No matter how cheap IVM is, there will always be a market for a more ‘natural’ meat. Two million years of hunting and more than eleven thousand years of domesticating herd animals could not blink right out of existence so quickly.

  83. There are so many factors that nobody here has even addressed, with way too many variables to make any truly informed predictions as to what IVM will and won’t, can and can’t, provide in a future that is uncertain.

    Along the way there will be articles like this one, and certainly others from hundreds of different angles and levels of understanding.

    It’s best to simply place this article among the hundreds or thousands of articles, and the miriad of blog posts yet to come.

    No matter the circumstances, individuals will choose freedom, and groups of people will look for control. In all of life this is the natural way of things. Some will vehemently support IVM or oppose it based upon their own beliefs and understandings. Special interest groups, corporations, and industries will fight for control. And the vast majority of people will go along with the outcome whatever it is.

    Freedom is natural…and to accept the natural way of things is freedom. With freedom comes the ability to see beyond our argumentative points.

    So when some of us who feel true freedom is important consider things like IVM, we don’t place so much importance on it because it has nothing to do with our freedom. We understand how industry, corperations and special interest groups will behave. We know all of them will simply be doing their best to put themselvs in some sort of position of control, none of which will help us live more freely, nor prevent us from persuing freedom.

    So while everyone is arguing over the merits and evils of IVM, I’m looking to do more organic gardening and free range subsistence farming…neither of which are at all dependent upon IVM or the current farming industry.

    I suspect the entire “IVM -vs- meat industry” debate will not be so disruptive as some may fear. The debate, and possible arrival of IVM, has the potential of becoming yet another catalyst for the quickly growing free range farming industry where people are already willing to pay top dollar for the “real thing”.

  84. RIS says:

    Um…I heard Michio Kaku say in a interview that if human civilization is to move from a Type 0 Civilization to a Type 1 we’re going to have to overcome some difficult transitions. Maybe this IVM stuff is one of those obsticles we’re all going to have to live with…everything will have its pros and cons; but humans manage to survive. Be there pity for those who become the unfortunate if this product hits the market well…eh. I just hope this doesn’t lead to some bland, heartless world in the future. I personally enjoy ALL foods. I would not enjoy ANY food that has been tortured or tampered with genetically before it has reached my bowels. Although, chances are I’ve eaten both without being aware. We all have our dreams. Whether it be to enjoy a steak with whomever;or going to bed knowing your ecological footprint isn’t too deep….OR whatever it may be. So yeah…Hope my syntax and grammar stuff isn’t too bad. Live with that peace stuff in your heart.

  85. Anonymous says:

    What kind of a world do we live in where the basic and fundamental act of eating is considered murder? This isn’t ‘sensitivity’, its a perverse indulgence of the self manifested as self loathing.

  86. Stu says:

    For the time being its all still a bunch of bull (excuse pun).

    From what I’ve read they’re basically using animal products as the “feedstock” for the muscle tissue they are growing anyway.

    I’m assuming the “animal products” I read about will be things like the chemically recovered proteins obtained from animal carcasses which is currently for instance going on to be used in such delicacies as “reformed ham”.

    Even if they find a way of growing the artificial tissue from non-animal products (ie suger and/or plant proteins) I’m gonna beat that unless they find something better at converting CO2 to sugars and proteins than a plant (and that’s something that seems unlikely in the near term given all the doom and gloom on global warming) that there’ll still be plenty of work left for farmers.

    In any regard, all other things being equal, any reduction in the cost making food has got to be a good thing in the long run.

  87. AngeliqueC says:

    Unfortunately, the World Watch report stating that livestock emissions account for 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions is just poor science.

    1. The World Watch report includes GHG emissions from all pre-existing land set aside for animal agriculture (not just land which is currently being deforested) because the land could otherwise be used to do climate-friendly things like grow biofuels. But it is disingenuous to count any land as a source of GHGs simply because it isn’t currently being used to offset GHGs. If we did so, we’d have to count my bathroom floor as a source of GHGs.

    2. The World Watch report includes including livestock emissions from breathing, digestion, etc. while not including the same emissions from other sources (humans and other animals). Mathematically, this astronomically and incorrectly inflates the percent of emissions coming from livestock.

    There are other problems too; for my whole analysis see my blog post at http://fromanimaltomeat.com/2009/10/30/climate-chicanery/

  88. Anonymous says:

    Soylent Green anyone?

  89. Valkyrie Ice says:

    I don’t buy into the concept of AGW myself, not because I dismiss the evidence of warming, but because *A*GW cannot be proven sufficiently to rule out possible other causes. Both Mars and Saturn are warming as well, so Man cannot be the sole agent. Global Warming is affected by mankinds pollution, but I do not believe we are the ONLY cause.

    Man does significant damage to the ecosystem, and any technology which will reduce that damage is worthwhile to our survival as a species. Carbon is simply one form of pollution, and all forms of pollution must be dealt with. I am not as worried about carbon as I am many other industrial pollutants. Carbon itself will become a useable resource once we can reduce anything down to component elements, as it will form a vast reserve for use in the manufacture of carbon based products. Sadly I fear too much of the current eco movement is focused on carbon and ignoring other pollutants. I also fear that by denying any possible cause for Global Warming but MAN, solutions which would otherwise be seen as more comprehensive while much longer range will not be researched, such as climate engineering. If the Earth is heating by a natural cycle in our local system (Solar radiation increasing, an increase in cosmic rays, whatever) simply reducing carbon emissions will fail to prevent further heating.

    Technologies such as IVM, print manufacturing, and the ever closer to reality nanotechnology can enable us to not only overcome GW, but other issues such as the rather over exaggerated issue of population (Most 1st world countries produce less than replacement population growth, but seem more crowded due to overpopulation in large centralized cities) Pollution (most everything will become recyclable and our garbage dumps will become resource mines) Poverty (with 100% recycling, non invasive resource extraction from seawater and the atmosphere, and replicating machines which can manufacture products at the individual level) and Hunger (via such advances as IVM and eventually the same replicating machines)

    As I recommended in a previous post, there is a lot of science happening right now in the labs that too many people are utterly unaware of. Without knowing where we are in scientific research it is impossible to understand what mankind is truly capable of, both good and bad.

  90. nic0mac says:

    I don’t think that the meat side sales of dairy cattle will drop, they will probably rise as there will always be a group that will be willing to pay more for natural products. With large scale beef ranches failing the dairy farms would be able to use this market more effectively. Also some farms would need to be maintained in order to preserve and develop the genetic stock much in the same way we have seed vaults.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. It seems to me that the dependencies Africa suffers from are the result of a complete lack of stable government and no semblence of monetary or fiscal policy designed to do anything other than fuel government corruption. I think foreign aid is detrimental to growth if anything. The very act of trying to mitigate against every economic variable creates and perpetuates the problem. I don’t think it makes much sense to shy away from a potentially revolutionary way of meeting protein needs. While it is more of an empirical question than anything else, I suspect that omitting the entire process of raising and feeding livestock will result in enormous reductions in the amount of natural resources required to provide the supply necessary to meet the demand of meat products. The reduced overhead costs should bring the price down dramatically for every meat consumer around the world, resulting in an increased standard of living.

    What if we had disregarded the cotton gin for fear of displacing sheep herders?

  92. Hank Hyena says:

    thanks for your comments, this is Hank Hyena — I wrote an article on Population that can be found in the Politics section of H+ — good question about Africa, but I don’t think their ag exports are very competitive now, they’ve got cacao, flowers, and some leather hides, but not much – but yes, you’re right, Africa would not get wealthier off In-Vitro Meat. On the bright side, over-population in Africa is partially the result of rural parents wanting large families to help with agricultural labor — if there’s no herds to tend, there will be a lessened need for large families… and urbanization always leads to lower birth rates. I like your question, I’ll investigate what Africa needs for its economies. Much of Africa is mineral-rich (like the Congo) but it doesn’t always prosper off the mines for various reasons… thanks again

  93. Anonymous says:

    You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion on meat, but do keep in mind we’re 100% entitled to enjoying it ourselves.

    I think meat is tasty. do get over it.

  94. Hank Hyena says:

    Hey, Anonymous Above — great observations! thanks

  95. Anonymous says:

    I’m sure that if they can grow artificial meat then surely they can add different combinations and amounts of fats to give a variety of flavours that you could choose from…

  96. cy says:

    I think you’re being unfair in that the technology is still relatively in its infancy – after all it’s only been half a century since the actual discovery of the structure of DNA for a start…

  97. Valkyrie Ice says:

    And a follow up, if printing organs, plastic parts and circuits doesn’t convince you, how about printing buildings?

    http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/06/built-for-speed-printing-buildings.html

  98. Anonymous says:

    “For some reason, though, the author seems to say that putting millions of people out of work and necessitating the mass slaughter of hundreds of millions of food animals is a great benefit of IVM. Isn’t the point of looking into the future to be able to avoid the massive problems we could stumble into?

    Even accepting that ranchers are evil people who deserve to be burned from their homes – or whatever you personally believe – that’s going to be an economic and social catastrophe of nearly inconceivable proportions when they can’t afford to feed their families or keep their homes.”

    Honestly? That’s like saying the invention of the automobile was negative as it made buggy manufacturing a niche market.

    You could say the same about any technology. This is how technology evolves- other technologies need to die. Of course, this opens up the doors to quite a few new, urban jobs. (And urbanization is always a good thing.)

  99. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Welcome to the Crazy Years, my friend.

    The whole planet is going to have to adopt to the fact that most forms of product supply, be it growing things or making things are going to undergo a dramatic shift in methods that will result in current levels of unemployment seeming like a drop in the bucket.

    The more people who understand that jobs will only become more and more scarce from here until we have fully transitioned to a machine based economy of abundance, the more likely it is that they can work to alleviate the worst of the intermediate problems.

    Before being a transhumanist, I am above all a humanitarian. The alleviation of human suffering is the primary goal we as a species should be striving for. However, to the human genome, we still live in caves and compete with animals for survival. Most of the problems we have in this world are caused by the primitive Alpha dominance pack instincts all humans share. We have to understand that there is a greater good for the entire species that superceeds the disruption of lifestyles for a smaller segment than the whole human race.

    IVM can end animal cruelty. It can end starvation across the world. It can bring healthy, nutritious food to billions who’s current meat supply is essentially unsanitary, possibly diseased, and composed of whatever animals can be caught. The African preserves are being emptied not by poachers, but simply hungry hunters who will take anything they can find, be it a rat or an elephant.

    Will it put cattle ranchers out of business? Most of them yes. and the great american cowboy traditions will be preserved in the few novelty ranches that stay in business, while most of the cattle industry will have to find new job, and acquire new job skills. But that is a small price to pay to keep fish in our oceans and animals in our forests and jungles.

    The World is changing, faster than most people want to believe. Just this year alone they have developed the technology to create precise circuits using Carbon nanotubes on a DNA lattice. They have learned how to use graphene to build circuits too, and all that is needed now to complete the ability to create carbon computer chips is the ability to mass manufacture nanotubes of specific diameters on demand. New research into polymerization techniques is showing that much of the technology we have had for years may become quite useful for such production. The primary hurdles for the Nanotechnological visions of Drexler, Merkle, and Hall are falling one by one, and there are not that many more to go.

    This technology talked about here today is not even a beginning. By the time this has been perfected to the point where it is a viable process, our entire manufacturing base is going to have been transformed, as will the processes used to produce IVM. Compared to the world wide loss of manufacturing jobs, the cattle ranchers are going to be a joke. IVM will be needed to ensure the worlds billions have food.

    And that is why getting real medical and civil rights reforms going NOW is a priority.

    The Economy will recover, but it will be because new technologies replace the old ones. Educating yourself about the future, the REAL future coming out of our labs today, is the only way we can reduce the suffering that will come as we are making such a momentous transition from Scarcity to Abundance. Letting yourself be lulled by thoughts of “it’ll never happen” or “this stuff is too sci-fi to be real” will just ensure that the maximum number of corpses will litter the road to the Singularity.

  100. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi, this is Hank Hyena, author of the In-Vitro article. I agree 100% with the replies that you got from Valkyrie Ice and Anonymous. I didn’t know my tone was “gleeful” about the end of ranching, but that’s an accurate description of my feelings — elsewhere in “Replies” I mention that I was raised on a large dairy farm, I saw daily the horrendous situation for animals. I also recommend the movie Food Inc. if you want to learn about poultry farming.

  101. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Boris — this is Hank Hyena, thanks for your letter. I understand your loathing of urbanization but I don’t agree with it. I’ve lived in both rural and urban areas – I grew up on a dairy farm (many animals but no human neighbors), and I spent last year in a tiny jungle town of Costa Rica (beautiful, but no educational or employment opportunities for residents). Right now I live in a tiny flat with 3 other family members in the crowded, noisy North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, but I also spend quiet time at our vacation home in a redwood forest 70 miles north. I like them both but I wouldn’t live permanently in a rural environment.
    I wrote about the advantages of urbanization in another H+ article, (“To Breed? Or Not To Breed?” in Politics section) Please read it. Despite your claims that cities are a “lonely… clogged up mess… threat to humanity” the truth is that the average urban resident is far less polluting, with better access to education, employment, birth control, democracy, civil protection, women’s rights, medical care, libraries, museums, humanitarian aid, and a host of other opportunities than his deprived rural cousin. Rurality is often weighed down with traditions, conformity, narrow-mindedness, and lack of cultural, vocational, racial, religious, and sexual diversity – plus the world’s most wretched, oppressed demographic is the rural poor. There are many statistics indicating that rural human behavior jeopardizes the planet more than urbanites — rural people drive more, and their industries are often destructive to land, water, and air. The agricultural class is often an irresponsible steward of the earth, and I agree with scientists who say that it is today’s RURAL behavior that is UNSUSTAINABLE, not urbanization.
    If you’re right about the superiority of country life, then why is the Third World flocking into the cities? Better opportunities is the answer. Even shit holes like Lagos entice citizens in from the backward, dangerous countryside. In India, untouchables can elude many caste restrictions by leaving their bigoted villages. By the way, you’re being too harsh on the Japanese! They do have the longest life spans in the world, great food, and entertaining robots. Write me back if you wish but please read up on the urban vs. rural topic first, thank you.

  102. Valkyrie Ice says:

    I believe Hank answered you quite well on the specifics of current life, so allow me to expound on the future possibilities.

    To be able to understand the difference between where we have been and where we are going requires a through grasp of what we are currently capable of and what that will evolve into. I do not believe in an instant “Singularity” as we are already involved in the beginning stages of the Singularity and as we continue to advance, our abilities to grasp the coming possibilities continue to expand as well, enabling us to continue to push the point of “Singularity” as currently defined to a new “horizon”. As such I see the Singularity as a point of “beyond here we can’t have any certainty.” In my opinion, Singularities occur when exceedingly rapid change creates a temporary chaotic condition in human society in which outmoded systems are discarded and new systems put into place. We have been through many such Singularities in the past, and will face many more of them in the future.

    In the recent past, we reached a “Singularity” when we developed steam power, and created the Industrial Age. That did indeed lead to the conditions you described of the ever more isolated and walled in person. Numerous early 20th century authors described it quite well. However, you seem to be quite unaware of the current reversal of that trend despite the fact that you yourself are using the very tool which is undoing it.

    In the past, man was restricted to interaction with only those of his tribe. This grew to somewhat larger interactions in the millenniums to follow, but on average, the number of people an average person interacted with remained extremely limited. He had no choice about who he interacted with due to the limited number of people in his geographic area.

    Because of this limitation, very little exposure to new ideas occurred. This encouraged stagnation and the development of rigid mindsets. Study your history, and it becomes evident that time and time again, rural cultures tend to rigid, unchanging and unchangable systems of thought. The Middle East is a prime example, as are numerous tribes in the Amazon who never progressed beyond the Stone Age. Feudal Japan is also an excellent example, being the sole civilized society in which technological advance was discarded due to a rigid cultural mindset. That the Japanese have progressed to become one of the most highly developed technological societies in the world is a tribute not only to the innovative power of new ideas on a stagnant culture, but their efforts to preserve the best of their traditional heritage while embracing progress is a model the world can benefit from.

    Cities are what have driven progress the entire history of Man. In cities man is exposed to a much greater variety of thought and ideas. A typical city dweller may only have the same number of “friends” as a typical rural dweller, but they will daily interact with far more modes of thought than are available to someone in a rural setting. The urbanization of the Industrial Era is precisely what continued to drive innovation.

    The addition of the automobile essentially spread that urbanized society into the rural areas, allowing the mobility needed to travel back and forth between the rural and the urban settings, while the TV put that urbanized “medley of ideas” into homes across the world, increasing the overall ability of humanity to innovate. As history once again proves, it takes exposure to new ideas to allow the synthesis of even more new ideas.

    Today, very few people are truly “isolated” in an urban setting unless they choose to be of their own free will. Among other things, the internet allows anyone to be able to connect and engage in friendships which are world wide in scope, and only those who desperately cling to the notion that only “in person” has meaning fail to understand this. The ‘Net has turned a significant part of the world into one single connected “City” filled with the utter diversity of mankind, from the most rigid , hard wired ideologues to the wildest flights of fantasy of the wide eyed dreamers.

    Current technology is in the process of spreading that “World City” to all areas of the globe, and it is increasingly doing so at a faster and faster rate. As it does so it will radically alter the ability of rigid, dictatorial ideologies to survive. All forms of Tyranny require intellectual stagnation to exist, and the internet will destroy that stagnation.

    However, the internet also provides a singular benefit Hank failed to mention. It is true that cities have enormous problems, and not the least of them is overcrowding. While we are still only in the early stages of it, DE-urbanization is beginning, because the internet allows society to retain all the benefits of urbanization, while enabling the decentralization of the current city structure.

    As we progress over the next decade to Augumented and Virtual Reality (See the H+ Article on Video Contacts) this trend will accelerate. IVM will also push this trend, because smaller IVM plants can be constructed to service smaller regions, removing the need for large centralized distribution networks which is the basis for the entire City system. Over the next few decades our cities will likely grow smaller and more distributed as both Virtual commuting and high speed transports become more commonplace. Once true nanotechnology has been developed, and every individual can supply for themselves every need and desire, cities will no longer possess any advantage to civilization. While they will continue to exist primarily as “Social Hubs” I believe most people will choose to live in a far more spread out “extended suburban” fashion enabling everyone to enjoy the benefits of urbanization while also having the pleasures of a “rural getaway”

    If you truly desire to save the “rural” lifestyle, support of technological progress is the only sensible course, because our future is an ever more connected world that requires ever less centralization and urbanization.

  103. Poporing says:

    “But really, even if you support this and consider the unemployement as a necessary evil, how can you support the destruction of our tradtions and our history.
    More importantly, how can you support urbanization?”

    Slavery, the oppression of women and child abuse were once considered “tradition” and they certainly are a big part of our history. So are you supporting these institutions because they are part of our “tradition and history”? Really, I don’t mean to be mean, but buddy, you need this one bad. From your comment, “urbanization” can mean the end of oppression, not the end of independent farmers, craftworkers, etc.

    But guess what? That strapping young cowboy form the Westerns you and I idolized so much – he is already dead! Do you know where he is right now? He is the b–ch of the already Homogenizing Meatpacking Industries, he is constantly in debt, shouldering all the risks while the meatpackers rake in the profits, caring for animals that do not belong to him and giving them only the products that the industries force him to buy on HIS land that HE has to pay for (ALL OF IT), following the meatpackers’ homogenizing and stifling regulations and when he is thinking about going “independent”? What an effing joke! The Meatpacking Industries subsidized heavily by the government can sell meat at a cheaper rate than he can and any loophole the industry can find, the government will let them do it without so much as a slap on the wrist. He will be crushed if he does not join them and when he rebels against them? He will be blacklisted by every meatpacking industry around, to ensure that he will never be able to raise beef again. Eventually, burdened by debt, (whether he is independent, an Industry Slave or a rebeller) he will have to close down his farm and give up the land he owned that has already been raped multiple times and was probably his home.

    So all that apocalyptic “Ranchers Will Die!” stuff you ranted about? It already happened! And if it hasn’t “happened”, then they are at least on life support from the Big Bully Industry that can pull the plug anytime it wants. It does not matter at this point, because it already happened. Except, it isn’t called “Healthy Competition/Survival of the Fittest/Better and Cleaner Choice From In-Vitro Meat”, it is called “Unfair Monopoly and Corporate Control”.

    REDUNDANT MAN IS REDUNDANT. End the redundancy, please.

    “Out of all the effects you mentioned i belive that this is the worst effect. Not the unemployement, not the killing of millions and millions of animals that would’ve did anyway. No. The Urbanization is a true threat to humanity as we know it today.”

    So you are saying that you don’t give a sh-t about suffering animals, the environment, the massive unemployment, etc. but you think that “Urbanization” is the Devil compared to all this? Wow, you are an amazing a–hat, you know that. I was about to be all sympathetic towards you UNTIL that comment. But of course, you don’t give a sh_t about me, even if I could have argued for your side and eventually agreed with you. You just lost a supporter there, mister!

    “We’ll become nothing more than machines with strict day to day routines. Heck, imagine…We’ll become like the soulless japanese people. The dudes work 51 WEEKS every year, no vacation, no free time, no real happiness. And then they go and watch sick porn or flashing TV shows to entertain their sick minds that they keep in constant denial.”

    Oh, and you are racist too. Very nice touch to the whole stereotype. Congrats, man. You could have proved all these “pro-Urbanites”, whom I also disagree with on some points, wrong about “The Culturally Backwater Yokel” Stereotype, but you just proved every classist tripe they have ever said about rural people right. CONGRATS, REALLY. /sarcasm

    ——

    And response to the article: If this is really possible, then that would be great. I mean, imagine: the Chinese will no longer need to hunt and kill sharks for their fins, the Japanese will no longer need to kill off dolphins for tuna, I could finally taste whale without feeling like a complete dou—bag, etc. Except for the mass unemployment, the possibilities are endless.

  104. Poporing again says:

    Oh and also – when I eat meat, I feel EXTREMELY GUILTY knowing that I contributed to many evils against ranchers, the environment, giving more business to people who steal our tax dollars, the animals, the illegal immigrant workers who work under inhumane conditions on absurdly low pay, the fact that these industries do not use trained professionals, etc. Why should almost EVERYONE ELSE have to bend-backwards for a bunch of “ranchers” (hint hint, I bet you are an Industry Wh—. Think about how much money they would lose on pesticide, hormone and feed alone.) whose jobs are not permanent or sustainable anyway? So according to your reasoning, EVERYONE ELSE in the world should bend backwards for ONE GROUP of people? Hmm, what was that called again….begins with “e” and ends with “litism”. Of course, minorities should not suffer for the will of the majority – that is injustice. But when one group controls the majority – that is fascism.

  105. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Two things:

    One: Mankind removed himself from the evolutionary cycle a very long time ago. Our primary gene structure adapted us to live in the jungles and savannas as animals, but because we learned to speak and be able to pass on complex learning from one generation to the next, those who would have simply perished instead lived on and passed on their genetic stock. By no longer keeping the strain limited to that dictated by biology, we developed the ability to adapt to every environment instead of simply that in which we evolved, including this most complex of environments “civilization”. We have been deciding the directions in which evolution occurs for the last 10,000+ years, with no regard to the simplistic directive of “survival of the fittest.”

    Two: The future of mankind is even more highly directed evolution, in which random factors will not apply. Whether you understand the concepts or not, nanotechnology is inevitable. As life itself is the ultimate proof of concept, and DNA is handing us the tools needed to direct molecular manufacturing, anyone who doubts that it is achievable at this point is simply engaged in denialism. At the present rate of development, we are likely to see a complete control of matter on the atomic scale within the next 20-30 years. If nothing else, once we have achieved a complete understanding of DNA and the genetic code, we will possess the language needed to instruct bacteria to act as our nanofabrication units in order to construct the first true nanomachines.

    With fully functional nanotech, no natural virus driven “evolution by accident” will be needed, as each individual would be able to choose for themselves what “genetic traits” they would wish to have, or indeed, if they wish to have any at all. Anyone who wishes to remain unmodified would have the freedom to do so, as any “special advantages” that a modified or enhanced human would have would be negated via technological tools readily available to all.

    To be blunt, nanotechnology will allow our species to diversify far beyond the boundaries dictated to us by our current genetic legacy. From the barely separated five races of man we will explode into a million diverse species.

    And we will do it because we can, not because of random chance.

    Now, to your second argument, it is obvious you are still missing the entire point to IVM. Additives and vitamins are still at a rather primitive stage because we are still learning precisely how the body’s cellular machinery works. Cloning on the other hand bypasses this particular problem, because we are not having to break down everything the cell does. We would be allowing DNA to dictate how the cell functions, something it does exceedingly well, under limited direction. We will be saying, “Okay DNA, we need a Ribeye steak.” by giving the DNA the chemical “cues” used by DNA itself to tell a cow embryo cell to become the specific muscle that we term “ribeye steak”. Once that high level command is given , the DNA and the cells will then proceed to create the muscle mass of a “ribeye steak” complete with muscle tissue, fat cells, and capillaries to transport blood to the entire mass. All that we would have to do is supply that blood with nutrients and filter it for wastes, two processes which we commonly do every day in hospitals.

    What this means is that the meat produced will be IDENTICAL to the meat you could cut out of a cow. In fact it will be better, because that meat will come from the DNA of a prize winning cow, and every piece will be a duplicate with minor variations of THAT SAME COW. This will mean that the meat will not suffer the hardships of survival in the pasture with it’s exposure to pesticides and disease, or the far more brutal “meat factory” environment. If we decide we want a tougher “exercised” cut of meat, then the growing mass can be electrically stimulated to precise levels. Once it has achieved optimum size, we can cut it and process it exactly the way we would have processed the raw meat from that cow, including ageing the beef. Every step of meat production from killing the cow on would be identical.

    So basically what you end up with is a piece of meat which is 100% natural beef, identical in every way with the beef you cut off a cow, minus animal cruelty and possible unwanted additives like pesticides.

  106. Valkyrie Ice says:

    I am indeed aware of the cost, complexity and conditions current IVM are in. They are presently at the “Expensive/Don’t work very well” stage using Kurzwiel’s models.

    I am also quite well aware of how quickly we are advancing in numerous other fields all of which could reduce the cost of IVM drastically, among them the creation of printing technologies for biological cells (organ printing), printing technologies for the manufacturing aspect (RepRap) and the printing technologies for control (Xerox’s circuit printer).

    Applying economies of scale, drastic reduction in the cost of equipment, and improvements in the actual science itself current costs will inevitably drop. That may take a decade, it may take only a few years. Our database of biological knowledge is increasing daily, and as this is a technology in which active research is being funded, I expect significant strides to be made in the next decade.

    It is however, merely 1 single disruptive technology out of several dozen which are in development, and advances in many other areas are applicable to IVM, not the least of which is the numerous breakthroughs in stem cell research this year alone.

    Please do read some of the other posts I have made, and follow the various links I have provided. Our current recession is the result of the early effects of technological disruption causing the inevitable social disruptions inherent in all technological “Singularities.” We experienced these same issues during the early Industrial Era, as well as the era immediately following the creation of the printing press. “The Singularity” is neither unique, nor a new experience for the human race.

    Nor is the denial of the effects of a singularity unique to the present. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Ludd

  107. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi, Hank Hyena here. You are welcome to read the media reports referenced at the end of my article. I have gotten dozens of letters from people like you who say IVM cannot be done, but consistent progress is being made, with the main obstacle being lack of funding. There are many scientists on two different continents working on IVM who strongly disagree with your opinion that it is not possible. Please read more about the topic if you wish, and then see if you change your mind.

  108. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Decades? Perhaps fifty years ago.

    Too much pressure is being brought to bear through the eco movement to believe that more and more “green” policies will not be instituted, regardless of lobbying interests. In any market system it is the consumers who will eventually force compliance. While I do not doubt that Big Meat will indeed fight tooth and nail, IVM does not threaten the actual “MEAT INDUSTRY” merely the “CATTLE INDUSTRY”

    Give the Meat industry a liferope to survival in a green era, and they will abandon the cattle industry in a heartbeat and allow it to sink like a stone.

    As for Big Oil, Have you ever heard of Black Light Power? It is a controversial clean energy source which can be retrofitted into existing power plants. It has passed at least one independent verification and has been licensed by eight separate power companies for trials. If it works for these companies as well as the makers claim, I expect power companies to do the same to the entire Fossil Fuel industry. If the Power Companies can cheaply retrofit to a clean power source for a fraction of the cost of supplying a plant with fuel for a year, they will also bail, catering to the “Green” faction by protecting their cash flow. While this is still potentially a possible failure waiting to happen, at present no real signs of chicanery are obvious other than the refusal of Physicists to accept BLP’s claims that they have harnessed a fractional state of hydrogen. I’m watching this development closely to see whether it is proven viable or indeed proves to be a “free energy” scam.

    However there are also numerous other viable clean energy sources in development.

    I expect this decade to see far worse social chaos than the last, as the entire world comes to grips with the post industrial realities we face.

  109. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Hi, Hank, and thanks for responding. I have read about this topic; also, cell culture is something I’ve been doing for the past eight years, as part of my job.

    To clarify: I’m not saying that IVM will never be **possible;** I’m saying it will never be **as cheap as** non-in vitro/”normal” meat. That the main obstacle to IVM research is lack of funding only underscores this point. (If IVM were such an awfully promising investment, ADM, Cargill et al. would be all over it.) The articles you link to do nothing to address this concern of the high costs of basic cell culture.

    Saying that these costs will come down is not enough. For IVM to displace free-living animal meat, the costs would have to come down to a point that IVM meat is cheaper to the consumer than is “normal” meat.

    This is not going to happen. The (inflation-adjusted) costs of basic cell culture have gone down dramatically since this technology was first developed in the 1950′s, but are now at a plateau.

    Why the basic costs of cell culture won’t drop enough to make IVM cheaper than “normal” meat is because to grow cells in culture we have to use a lot of nutrients that are **most cheaply obtained from the bodies of animals.** (This is analogous to why corn-based ethanol won’t end America’s dependence on oil: Industrial corn farming, needed to provide enough corn to make sufficient quantities of ethanol, is based in the use of petroleum products.) While those nutrients can be synthesized without using animal products, doing so makes them **much more expensive** than the animal-derived chemicals used in cell culture.

    Again, I agree with you that IVM will exist, and in short order; but it will always be a novelty, and only available to a minority of the world’s population wealthy enough to afford such novelty products.

    Thanks again.

  110. Rob says:

    *Ahem* Who are you to say that eating in-vitro meat is ‘unnatural’? Is eating tofu ‘unnatural’ since it doesn’t occur in nature? What about the whole concept of farming (since our species originally were hunter gatherers)? I’d say you’ve invoked the same naturalistic fallacy that religious conservatives use. This isn’t a question of nature, but primarily of aesthetics which is unfixed and tends to vary over history, sometimes radically. I’m willing to give in-vitro meat a try if it can replicate the texture, taste, and consistency of meat from organisms.

  111. Valkyrie Ice says:

    If you wish to invoke “Natural” then I have to point out that Vegetarianism is as “unnatural” as being completely Carnivorous. We are Omnivores, designed to eat a mix of both. Hence we have teeth designed to cut and tear meat, and teeth designed to grind and crush vegetable matter.

    That is NATURE. Everything else is a matter of personal philosophy.

  112. Valkyrie Ice says:

    By soon, if you mean in the next five years probably not. By the end of the decade, quite probable. By the end of next decade, almost certain.

  113. Hank Hyena says:

    Hello — Hank Hyena again. Yes, it IS far cheaper to make IVM with animal products, than without animal products. I believe the Dutch are proceeding using the animal products. The Dutch sausage company Stegeman is also one of the primary funders of Dutch IVM research. So animal death (in very small amounts) would still be necessary for IVM created this way, but the cost would be prohibitive without it (unless some discoveries can assist them). The Dutch believe cost of IVM can be lower than live meat. There are many references for my article that were not posted but if you google Stegeman In-Vitro perhaps the info will be there. As you probably know, PETA has offered $1million to anyone who can manufacture affordable IVM by 2012 — it seems to me they would insist on the IVM being developed without any animal death, but I am not sure of the specifications for the prize require. Thanks again for your interest.

  114. Valkyrie Ice says:

    And I will beg to disagree.

    Using the methods you currently use, you are correct. 100%.

    You are basing you predictions on the current technology you use in the lab, which has not changed significantly in the last few decades. Using the current techniques it is indeed infeasible.

    But that’s the problem, the methods used will NOT be the methods you are using.

    Again, I refer you to the advances made using cell printing, the creation of entire living organs by a process of printing layer after layer of cells

    http://organprint.missouri.edu/www/

    Additionally I would point out that the problems of nutrient synthesis is also being tackled, if crudely

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15655255/

    while the time frame for such developments cannot be predicted with accuracy, the fact that they will improve can be.

    I am also taking into account the development of automated experiment stations

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/04/robotscientist/

    as well as the continuing advances in computers and programming which will be used in such stations to capture the skills which you currently possess and allow faster improvements in data acquisition and analysis by speeding up the turn around time you would need between experiments.

    Again, I do not give a specific time frame on how soon, I certainly do not expect much in five years. Ten years I give it a 50/50 chance of viability, but once molecular manipulation technology becomes better developed, I expect rapid advancements, making it’s existence quite likely by 2030.

    I do not know your field as well as you do, nor would I ever claim to as I am not a scientist, but a computer technician. I am a constant reader on technology and science though, and I believe that there are numerous technological advances outside your field which I do not think you are taking into account, but which I believe could have a tremendous impact on the speed and cost of the development of IVM.

  115. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi, Hank Hyena here. First of all, it is polite and honest to only put in quotes what someone actually says. You misquote me in your letter, although I understand that you wrote it that way because that’s how you interpret my tone. Second, I am from a dairy ranch family myself — when my Dad lost his job as the dairy manager (our dairy went under due to competition from larger dairies) he landed another job as a golf course manager, that he did for 20 years. But I do not know what happened to all our milkmen, ranch-hands & creamery workers. I personally had acquired a variety of skills – feeding cows, stacking hay, branding cows, taking care of calves – that I never used again. But I did maintain a comfort & familiarity with large animals and outdoor work that I have used in other jobs. I sympathize with anyone who has to abandon a profession that he loves — to this day the only time I’ve ever seen my father cry was when the trucks drove away his 300 cows. He loved dairy farming, but it didn’t work out for him financially. People get displaced from their occupations all the time – auto workers in the last 20 years, and it is presently quite tough for journalists(!) I don’t know if I answered a question that you have, but I want you to know that I’ve seen what losing a ranch profession looks like.

  116. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Adam — Hank Hyena here. I find your concern rather bizarre, especially compared to the present alternative. Regarding cattle, they are indeed very populous, but male calves are killed in early childhood (veal), while cows and adult males are slaughtered in young adulthood. There are indeed numerous breeds, but they’ve all been designed to provide food for humans. A giant Angus bull, an obese pig in a pen, or a chicken with its breast so huge it can barely walk, is not natural — it is meat-making monster. Your sentimentality for them seems misplaced. The creatures themselves would be happier without the genetics we have forced upon them.

  117. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Feel free to disagree, but then you’re disagreeing with the laws of physics.

    To wit: Some matter is irredeemably lost as energy when converted from one form to another. Cultured cells (yes, even those made on an organ-printer, or maintained by robots) need to eat. **What they eat is animal products.** So long as this is the case, cultured cells will be many times more expensive to grow than the same amount of conventional animal tissue. To overcome this problem, we would need to have an alternate source of the nutrients that we feed cultured cells. There is such an alternate source (we can synthesize needed nutrients for many types of cultured cells without using animal products), but doing so is much, much more expensive than just using the same nutrients derived from animal tissues.

    The article you linked to about an artificial stomach does nothing to solve this problem. The problem isn’t *digesting nutrients that are provided* but in *developing an animal-free source* of nutrients needed for cell culture, that is *significantly cheaper* than the conventional, animal-derived nutrients. Because of the second law of thermodynamics, we’ll also need a significantly larger quantity of nutrients that we feed cultured cells than we will ever get back in actual cultured-cell mass.

    What you’re arguing is analogous to saying that if we had better fishing technology, bluefin tuna would be more numerous, and thus less expensive than sardines. As long as tuna eat sardines, there will be far fewer tuna than sardines, and sardines will be far cheaper than tuna. This is not a consequence of inadequately developed human technology, but of fish metabolism, and ultimately of the laws of thermodynamics.

    Technology solves many problems, and indeed drives down the costs of many products. I am confident that future technologies will also drive down the cost of cell culture. But not enough for IVM to replace, or even seriously compete with, conventional meat.

    Knowing what you’re talking about is not the same as being closed-minded.

  118. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Hi, again, Hank, and thanks for your response.

    Until such time as there’s a ridiculously-cheap non-animal source of the goodies that we feed cultured cells, the amount of animal death needed to maintain cell culture will be significant. (Refer to my comment on the laws of thermodynamics to Valkyrie Ice, above.)

    But my argument isn’t with the ethics of killing animals, as PETA’s is, but with economics. Corn is less expensive than beef because cattle are fed with corn. Sardines are less expensive than tuna because tuna eat sardines. And fetal calf serum is less expensive than cultured cells because cultured cells eat fetal calf serum. (And fetal calf serum is NOT CHEAP. It’s just way, way cheaper than the synthetic alternative.) No conceivable technology overcomes this metabolic hurdle.

    As described above, the conversion of the nutrients we feed cultured cells into new cultured cells is not perfectly efficient. Thus, the amount of animal products needed to feed our IVM is not the trivial quantity your comment suggests.

    As long as IVM is one step up the metabolic ladder from the (animal) products we feed it, it will be more expensive than those animal products themselves. As long as IVM is more expensive than animal products, it will be unable to take over the marketplace in the way you describe in your article.

    Thanks again.

  119. Valkyrie Ice says:

    I have neither said you were closed minded, nor disputed you on the current costs of producing IVM.

    I have however pointed out that there are numerous technologies which can impact those costs I do not think you have taken into account. The article on the stomach was to point out that research in finding ways to break down organics is occuring, which in the future could indeed provide a way to remove the animal from the situation by directly converting feedstock biomass to usable nutrients. This potentially enables a reduction of cost through making synthesis of nutrients more cost effective in bulk.

    That is, however, a stopgap solution in my opinion. We are growing ever closer to effective means to synthesize molecular compounds of low to medium complexity, particularly those of an organic nature, via mechanical methods. We are developing several actual nanoscale devices which could be used to directly construct raw elemental material directly into organic molecules. While those developments are likely still a decade or so away, they are in current development, and will have an impact on the costs of creating IMV.

    Additionally other technologies will enable the reduction of overhead costs, such as the construction of facilities, the creation of raw materials, and the cost of control systems, which will also impact the total cost of production.

    That you continue to dismiss these technologies by stating that IVM will NEVER be inexpensive by only extrapolating from current cell culture science is my sole point of disagreement with you.

  120. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Valkyrie, you write: “I have neither said you were closed minded, nor disputed you on the current costs of producing IVM. I have however pointed out that there are numerous technologies which can impact those costs I do not think you have taken into account.”

    Here’s the thing: People who do stuff for a living think more deeply about that stuff than amateurs, and are at least as up-to-date on developments in their own fields of expertise as are dilettantes. So I have every confidence that you know more, and have thought much more deeply, about computer engineering (? I think that’s what you said you do) than I ever have, or ever will. All I ask is that you extend to me the same courtesy. Thus far, you haven’t, instead arguing that if I only took into account the (popular media) articles you’ve read in your spare time, I would have an epiphany and realize that you’re right about what I do for a living. You apparently fail to consider that *I have taken those developments into account,* and yet I still have a different conclusion than you do. I’m arguing that I have a different conclusion than you do on this topic in part because I know more about it than you do. But I’m happy to defer to you on all predictions about programming, or artificial intelligence.

  121. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Katie — Hank Hyena here, the author. I really think many of the answers to your questions and concerns can be found in various replies below this one. I talk about my own ranch upbringing just a few letters down. Just read them over… Regarding one of your comments here though, I must say that just because ranching has a long past doesn’t mean that it definitely has to have a future. There are numerous traditions and occupations and social behaviors from the past that no longer exist or are fading out, and the present world is just fine without them. Slavery, for example. Monarchy. Cannibalism. Witch-burning. These all had a long history, but we’re glad they’re disappearing.

  122. Valkyrie Ice says:

    The one fact of life every human being is going to have to come to terms with, regardless of how “uncomfortable” it may be, is that you WILL BE REPLACED.

    It doesn’t matter what job you do, or how long a history that job has.

    And there is nothing that will change that fact. Human nature itself works against any other future.

    Corporations will resist change… until one corporation figures out how to make a killing undercutting and selling out the rest.

    People want job security… unless they can figure out a way to never have to work and still have everything they desire.

    The entirety of our capitalist system is based on Alpha Dominance. The few benefit at the cost of the many, in order to prove sufficient social status to ensure one is supplied with every opportunity to mate and pass on one’s genes. It is sublimated in a million ways, but in the end, that is the root cause of most of humanities actions, both good and bad.

    Until we design that particular drive out of mankind and make all of us asexual drones, something which I doubt we will ever CHOOSE to do, we will always find ways and methods to continue the social scale ladder.

    But civilization has been a constant drive to ensure that our Alpha Dominance behavior is mitigated to maximize survival rates for the entire species.

    The cattle industry is going to collapse, millions of people will be out of work. boo hoo.

    When every job is taken over by specialized computer programs, robots, and automated manufacturing, EVERYONE will be out of work.

    That BILLIONS OF PEOPLE.

    So the plight of a few million? Let me play my tiny little violin.

    You want to reduce the potential suffering? It’s not going to happen by protesting technology. It’s not going to happen by donating a few bucks to feed the children in Africa to feel good.

    It’s going to happen by getting off your butt, voting out corruption and greed in government, and getting the social frameworks in place to ensure that as we transition from a failing capitalistic economic model to a economy of abundance, we provide these growing numbers of displaced and jobless the basic securities of life, education, secure housing, health care as needed, and minimal financial assistance while they train for a new, much more mentally challenging job.

    In other words, it’s going to take you not ignoring the social injustices going on RIGHT NOW because which Hollywood starlet is sleeping with which Hollywood star is more entertaining than the legislation which will determine if you live or die when you get sick.

    Right now is when we need drastic reform. Right now is when we need to be preparing for a future in which someone can push a button and make a world killing virus as easily as he can make a boiled egg.

    IVM is one of those steps. Not only will it end the suffering of animals, but if we CAN make it significantly cheaper than the on the hoof meat it is replacing, it offers the ability to mitigate an enormous amount of suffering around the world by supplying cheap protein to hungry people everywhere. That alone makes it more important to fund than subsidizing the weapons industry and billionaires who are afraid they might only make 1 billion next year instead eight if financial reform passes.

    If you are worried about the out of work cattle ranchers, then make your voice heard in Washington in a stance against corruption and for social reforms which help PEOPLE instead of institutions. Vote every time you get a chance, and encourage others to take an interest in the the real world as well.

    And that way, when YOU join those ranchers in the “Out of Work” status, you won’t be suffering either.

  123. Anonymous says:

    LOL Katie – note how “she” specifically uses the word “cattle”, thereby labeling everyone who lives in this environment (and I bet especially us), the illegal/legal immigrant/(poor citizen?) workers who work under atrocious conditions and on low minimum wage, the mistreated animals and the in-debt independent ranchers as “cattle”. Note how she even trivializes our concerns regarding the production of said goods.

    ‘Nuff said.

    And DUH, of course there are gonna be people out there who want “all naturale”. Which means the ranchers will have an incentive to produce good beef, not the tough, disease ridden and bland carcasses of cannibal cows that they call “good” beef. They’ll be like Australia on beef.

    GEEEEEZ. <<

    And reading from the whole “affordability” thing, we don’t need to get our panties in a bunch, y’all. It won’t happen soon.

  124. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Working Cell Biologist — Hank Hyena here again. Thanks for refreshing my memory, yes, that’s right, fetal calf blood is used for IVM. By the way, this is a bit gross, but I grew up working on a family dairy farm and occasionally I had to help clean up miscarried calves. A lot of valuable fetal calf blood gets hosed down the gutters. This is only relevant because I am wondering if some of the fetal calf blood for IVM would come from calves that died through no fault of humans. That small detail aside, I am feeling confident that the amount of bovine death or pig death or chicken death would be smaller with IVM – even if it uses fetal blood – than it is at the present time. Obscured in this whole discussion is also the fact that the Dutch IVM work, in my understanding, is not at all motivated by “vegan” ideals. They are motivated by dreams of financial profit. Stegeman – the sausage company – thinks there’s a market for IVM, and a chance of producing it affordably. Thanks again!

  125. Are you suggesting that a mere career biologist knows more than any AI tech who dreams of living in the Matrix (and looking like Keanu Reeves in the bargain)?? Naked Luddism, if not blasphemy! More on this here:
    On Being Bitten to Death by Ducks
    Girl Cooties Menace the Singularity!

  126. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Very well. I still believe you are incorrect, but will not dispute that you know more about the field than I do. Others in your field also seem to disagree with your statements, and indicate that it can be done, so I will at present shelve the debate with you on the basis of insufficient and contradictory data.

    However, I will do so with the same basic statement I have made to Athena before. No scientist, in any field, can define what is “impossible”. They can at best define the difficulties, and delineate the areas in which further research must be done.

    I will certainly agree that you have done that very well, and I for one have found it to be a very interesting debate. Though I was aware of many of the issues you raised, for those coming to this issue for the first time, I think it summarized the state of the art quite nicely, and I thank you for the new information which I will have to spend more time digging into.

    It’s been a pleasure, and I look forward to seeing exactly what time will show to us both. : )

  127. Working Cell Biologist says:

    Hi, Hank. Looking over Stegeman’s corporate website, though, it doesn’t look like they’ve any plans to get out of the conventional meat industry, at least in the near future. Reading between the lines, this may be why IVM makes economic sense to them, well in advance of there being a non-animal alternative to FCS (and similar cell culture media additives): Stegeman, being in the conventional meat industry, has a ready supply of animal products that they can feed their IVM products. If they were to use those (possibly otherwise wasted, as your example suggests) animal byproducts of their conventional meat operations to get their IVM work started, I can definitely see how that would be a great business model. But that’s still a far cry from IVM replacing/competing with conventional meat, or IVM even being able to exist in the absence of conventional meat operations. However, this is all largely speculative on my part.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

  128. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Yes yes Athena, we are quite well aware of your hatred for all things which do not agree with your intellectual snobbery.

    Bai bai now.

  129. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Working Cell Biologist — Hank Hyena here again. Did you see the recent Nov. 29 article that the H+ editor put in his blog? News from Europe saying that the Dutch have developed pig IVM? The link is here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6936352.ece
    You brought up a lot of excellent points in your last letter – the fact that Stegeman is in a convenient position to fund IVM due to having animal fetal blood, and that they don’t need (or even want) IVM to replace meat, it can just be one of many products that they offer. Thank you for participating and adding immensely to this very lively and interesting conversation with your actual working experience. Deeply appreciated.

  130. Anonymous says:

    Um, dude, were you even reading the article or the comments? It’s not just “eating”, it’s also the effects on the environment (and hence, everyone who lives in it), the workers and animals that are severely mistreated, to name a few.

    “a perverse indulgence of the self manifested as self loathing”

    Translation:

    “O HAI, I IZ TRYING TO BE SMRAT BY USING PSEUDO-INTELLECTUALISM AND RUN ON SENTENCES?!?”

    “of the self manifested as self loathing” does not make sense as a sentence. However, I know what you are trying to say, but it isn’t as simple as that.
    Why don’t you read up a little more on the meat/dairy/etc. industry before you call us “pwor pwor guilty bourgeoisie”?

  131. Lauren says:

    You make a good point, Rob. There is hardly any “natural” in the world we live in, really. There is only more and less artificial. Humans aren’t even supposed to consume milk after infancy. Ice cream, coffee creamer, it’s all “unnatural” when you get right down to it. Or, is it natural for us to use our intelligence to create, resulting in tofu, IVM, car insurance, and other such things? Fun question.

    Either way, the author does tend to ignore the idea that many people will be put off by the whole idea of this “fake” meat. Some will be quick to try it out for the sheer freak factor of it, others because they’re truly curious and open-minded, but many will shun it. Until of course, the cost of “real” meat becomes too high. At the end of the day, the world’s meat consumption is destroying the planet, our country, our work force, and our own bodies. The real question here is, are you willing to give up meat entirely? (or, mostly, anyway) Or are you willing to accept meat that has been grown a different way, without all the social, environmental, and animal suffering? Because inevitably that’s the choice everyone’s going to have to make.

  132. Stu says:

    For the time being its all still a bunch of bull (excuse pun).

    From what I’ve read they’re basically using animal products as the “feedstock” for the muscle tissue they are growing anyway.

    I’m assuming the “animal products” I read about will be things like the chemically recovered proteins obtained from animal carcasses which is currently for instance going on to be used in such delicacies as “reformed ham”.

    Even if they find a way of growing the artificial tissue from non-animal products (ie suger and/or plant proteins) I’m gonna beat that unless they find something better at converting CO2 to sugars and proteins than a plant (and that’s something that seems unlikely in the near term given all the doom and gloom on global warming) that there’ll still be plenty of work left for farmers.

    In any regard, all other things being equal, any reduction in the cost making food has got to be a good thing in the long run.

  133. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi, this is Hank Hyena, author of the IVM article. Thanks for posting your info with the link – It is reprehensible when NPOs issue false statistics and I’m glad you’re on top of their data. Keep up the good work. I wrote an article, called To Breed or Not to Breed? in H+’s Politics section about population trends, and I noted that environmental groups produce the same falsehoods there — predicting hysterical overpopulation. I suspect enviro NPOs are trying to scare up grant money for their causes by lying about the consequences of not assisting them. thanks again

  134. Anonymous says:

    M’kay. Well, then you should go move to Texas or Utah and live next to the livestock farms.
    Take a deep breath everyday, no take several deep breaths. I hear you get used to the smell.
    I used to travel through and even with the air conditioner on “recirculate” the smell of sh1t was
    overwhelming and penetrative.
    The point is that faith says close your eyes and just believe.
    Science requires you to use your senses and rationale.
    In the case of livestock and the gasses and ammonia they cause, all you need is your nose.

  135. Anonymous says:

    Guilt? What guilt? I love the taste of a piece of fresh cow, slapped down on my plate bleeding n screaming the way I like it, oh so rare! Sauteed onions and mushrooms, 4 or 5 eggs over medium, fresh wheat toast with real butter and plenty of hot coffee. Now that’s a meal! All fun aside there’s always some whiner complaining about we eat. Their never happy, never satisfied, always wanting just a little more each time. In-vitro meat might show up in our grocery stores, but if you give me a chance for some freshly slaughtered beef or deer I’ll be all over it like white on rice baby!

  136. Anonymous says:

    Hey. I am doing a research about the disadvantages of IVM and all I was able to find out was that it can harm some economies and that it is unnatural. About the economies, I think that economies change all the time so its not a big problem. Are there any “real” disadvantages?? And could the system be really abused into making genetically modified in vitro meat??

    Thank you

  137. Valkyrie Ice says:

    Any system can be abused. Period. There are no abuse proof technologies.

    That said the possibility of “genetically modified” IVM depends on your definitions of modification I suppose.

    Cross gene splicing of various cattle breeds to make “perfect beef” is a very real possibility since we already breed cattle to produce different strains with specific traits.

    Genetic modification to enhance various properties is almost certain. but I would strongly suspect that such modifications would be labeled due to regulations.

  138. Anonymous says:

    Hi Hank.

    Some time ago I commented on this article, emphasizing how I felt that you skipped over the plight of the ranchers.

    I wanted to say that now I can appreciate your sympathy for them, as well as your point of view. I can see why you might have left that for another article, seeing as the title and topic of this one is the advantages of IVM, not the disadvantages or potential dangers.

    I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future.

  139. Steven Clark says:

    I’m just that little bit scared that what goes into this meat will be a reflection of all the other rubbish products that get hurled at us – carcinogens, for example. Its those nasty little numbers on the back of the product that will tell whether this is the miracle of the century or the long term health nemesis of humanity.

    I simply don’t trust governments and people to do the right thing with our food anymore in a globalised economy. Its something they are going to have to work on with consumers.

    But after that’s all said and done – wow! WOW! That close.

  140. Nathaniel says:

    The problem I have with this is that it relies too much on technology that would be inaccessible to the poor. It’s bad enough to GM crops are patented and that we must buy new seeds every year for plants that require fertilizer and weed killer… all provided by the same company.

    If you control the food, you control the people.

    I would rather be a vegetarian than eat lab-grown meat. I do not support lab grown meat at all.

    I do support GM plants… but only if the laws regarding them can be made reasonable. In other words, if we are allowed to keep seeds and are not prosecuted for making hybrids or even doing research to determine their effectiveness and/or healthiness.

    Imagine that instead of meat being grown in a laboratory, or in some special piece of equipment, it is grown on a tree in your front yard. It looks like a grapefruit, but when peeled, you find slices of meat, pre-marinated with citric juices. Not only that, but it could be engineered to proved a full protein profile and have every part of the plant edible. The leaves could be used as a green. The fruit is a meat. The seeds can be ground into flower. The possibilities are endless.

  141. wolfeman says:

    While the author makes some interesting points, there are so many assumptions with this article that may or may not be true that any kind of thinking person might assume that the writer is totally one sided.

    Could we have some research please so that we can deal with facts, not wishes!

    There may be a lot of truth in the article, but very little has been actually experienced.

    For now, I’ll stick to McDonalds – at least once in a while …

  142. Anonymous says:

    so, just because cows smell bad, growing fake meat is good?

    i don’t accept your “logic.” better luck next time.

  143. Anonymous says:

    yeah… ummm… so…

    this technology will make everyone at the big bad corporation all of a sudden turn around and not abuse their power?

    okay… yeah… don’t believe you…

  144. Valkyrie Ice says:

    *blink blink blink*

    Okay… let me get this straight.

    You absolutely refuse to eat meat that is genetically identical to beef, because it’s made by a company

    But want a genetically engineered biological chimera meat producing plant that produces a beef citrus hybrid that may taste like beef marinated in citrus juice but has ABSOLUTELY NO GENETIC SIMULARITY to beef… which would have to be designed by a laboratory, prototyped, tested, perfected, and then finally sold to you to plant in your front yard so that YOU DON’T HAVE TO RELY ON A COMPANY TO PROVIDE FOOD???

    @.@

    Did you really think this one through?

    Still, don’t worry. The technology for home fabrication of everything is coming. You’ll be able to have it print out a seed for you to grow, and provide you with plenty of other food while you’re waiting for those “fruits” to ripen.

  145. Anonymous says:

    Okay, what side of the magic carpet did you wake up on?! Not only does the prospect of a meat grapefruit sound repulsive, but it’s completely half baked. We’re talking about things within in the realm of scientific possibility, not something you thought up while you had the munchies. You’re right about seeds, it’s ridiculous what Monsanto is doing, but not as ridiculous as your meat trees from crazy town.

  146. Spook says:

    This article is completely wrong wrt saturated fat. It’s not the fat that kills us; it’s the carbs.

    Until in vitro meat also includes fat, it will never become popular. Remember, folks: “fat free” means “flavor free”.

  147. Anonymous says:

    Putting farmers out of business…. don’t you think with the times we are in that will just make things worse? I don’t agree with the way some animals are raised( I used to work in chicken houses and won’t ever go back in one now) but their is nothing better than a big porter house or smothered chicken.

    To make a long story short fuck you for posting this, fuck PETA, and fuck anyone that would even consider eating this garbage.

  148. Scott says:

    “68% of the ammonia in the world is caused by livestock (creating acid rain)”

    You are an absolute moron

  149. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the few reasonable and rational comments posted on this topic.
    Thank you.You have given me hope that we just might make it as a species.

  150. Anonymous says:

    A bit of a tree hugging hippy article (why should we feel shame when eating animals, hundreds of millions of years of evolution and survival tells me meat is good).
    BUT it is very interesting and I’m gonna predict the opposite… I don’t think “real” meat will become a thing of the past… I think it will become a premium and the price will skyrocket
    Also this could be the end of the world as we know it. No more starvation means massive overcrowding and overpopullation. All that leads to more pollution and all that previous farming land will turn into a great location to settle all the billions of Africans who still like to have 38 children each even though they all survive now.
    Having said that looking forward to trying out alot of new meats

  151. Anonymous says:

    This one is @Hanky boy… Thumbs up for you for writing this article then posting this reply even though it is against you.

  152. Anonymous says:

    I wanna taste some pikachu!

  153. MollyB says:

    Looks like the first bit of test tube meat has been produced. Tongue in cheek. Either that or this laughable article was written by someone with some stunning delusions.

  154. land lubber/lover says:

    Honestly, I don’t know how I should react to this. While I was reading I was laughing at it until I got to the part about farms, then I wanted to shove the author into a pile of manure. I’m not even 25 and I can tell that this is a bunch of hooey. Seriously… I don’t even know where to start.

    ok, from the bottom up.
    Shame? I love meat, and I feel no guilt about eating it if I decide to have chicken or a steak instead of a potato. Besides, which is more wasteful, war, or a beef farm? At least everything is used in a meat farm instead of turning into worm/germ food.

    I’ve had hydro-whatever tomatoes and they don’t taste nearly as good as tomatoes grown in dirt, there’s a reason that plants do best in their native environment, ie. dirt. That’s what they were designed to grow in and if we think we can equal nature by using psudeo-materials, we are deluding ourselves, not to mention that I haven’t seen a practical way to keep that much weight up in the air of you count the water and? the plants themselves. How on Earth could you grow enough to feed a small town, let alone a city?

    Skipping #6 cause I don’t see anything wrong there, though the idea of eating carnivores (normally above us on the food chain) strikes me as unnatural.

    You idiot. It sounds almost trimphant, but there’s a problem, things don’t happen that fast. Aaaand, producing synthetic wool and leather are just as bad for the environment as the real thing, I have never heard of a plastic or synthetic material that didn’t create some kind of toxic by-product. Also this shares some of the same problems as the hydroponic tomatoes, the synthetic things just dont’ cut it sometimes. Wool is a miracle substance that is 1) harvested without hurting the animal 2) a work of natural engeneering that we cannot hope to beat. Keeps you warm when it’s wet, it shrinks to be even more tightly wound, and it’s SOFT!!

    #4, um, go check your facts, I’m pretty sure that lots of the manure is used in agriculture, and the CO2 facts are–I’ll be nice–inaccurate.

    I am firmly in the group promoting exposure to germs. Let the kids eat dirt, builds their immune system and gives micronutrients! For gawd’s sake, no fat and syntho-fish? no thank you please! No fat=No flavor and for the starvation probem we gotta get those darn beurocrats to start cooperating, and that’ll be a bigger achievement than any amount of fake meat.

    This one makes me laugh, with “No starvation” you’re going to need to farm, because you can’t grow all your food in giant glass-and-steel test tubes, no starvation means more people to feed, and they can’t live off of just synthomeat. Farmland will be more important than ever, because more food is produced by plants than animals and more of anyones diet is plant-matter than meat. you might want to find a way to get those 100 acre parking lots out of the way while you’re at it, they cause more problems than the cows! Oh, and the cars too.

  155. Anonymous says:

    “It will eliminate the artery-clogging saturated fat that kills us.”

    *sigh*

    saturated fats dont clog arteries and are in fact good for you–there’s a reason our ancestors drooled over the fattiest parts of meat and had zero incidence of heart disease. We cannot engineer healthier meats until you boneheads know what healthy really is.

    It’s industrial vegetable oils LOW in sat fats (think canola, corn, sunflower, safflower oil) that cause heart disease.

    You want a healthy heart? have the in-vitro MIMIC real meat, and go eat some coconut oil or olive oil.

  156. gabriel says:

    Saturated fat is not bad for you. There may be some imbalance issues with omega 6/omega 3′s, but such issues are easily resolved by including a modest amount of fish or pastured eggs in the diet.

    How about the author perform an experiment on his self? Go eat only unsaturated fats, eliminate all saturated fats from your diet, and eat only lean muscle meats like chicken breast and lean beef. Do that for six months and see if your health is the same, better or worse than it was before. (My money wold be on WORSE.)

    Oxidation of unsaturated fats that occurs with cooking and in the human body after consumption is a large problem with people’s health today. Add to that deficiency in fat soluble vitamins like A, D, and K, (in addition to the minerals that such vitamins help the body absorb) and you have a population with weak bones, depressed immune systems, and trashed metabolisms.

    http://www.westonaprice.org/

    http://raypeat.com/

  157. Maria says:

    I really like the idea of artificially grown meat.

    It really appeals to me when I see the huge areas of former precious native forest being cleared for farming.

    Raleigh Latham is correct at what he says too – “Beef is not even natural anymore! If you look at the present system of factory farming, it’s atrocious! Cattle are kept in pens so small they can’t move, are pumped full of antibiotics, and eat an unnatural diet of corn while standing ankle deep in their own feces.”. Most of us know how good bovine growth hormone and the antibiotics are for humans.

    I have seen animal being slaughtered. I have also had to kill animals. And when you see the horror in the eyes of the animals about to be killed. Everyone who is against it should try to look into these eyes, see the blood spilling and body twitching, smell the blood and see if you can keep your juicy stake down. Only very few will manage…

    Many people will be against the grown meat in the beginning, but it’s inevitable. One day it will happen.

    I just hope it happens soon.

    And by the way, with the technology evolving it won’t be necessary to use fetal bovine serum to grow it at all. Maybe some algae and/or bacteria can be used at least partially as a food source for the meat.
    The quality of the product will keep getting better and better, the price will go down too.

    We can write stuff until we drop here, but I am actually interested if I personally could assist in speeding up the process. Is any of you here involved with scientific or other groups working on the project? Thanks!

  158. adam says:

    I had a friend a few years back that wanted to start a commune growing there own food and such. I thought she was some left wing nut. After reading this article I find my self thinking she wasn’t all that crazy. All this genetic tampering can’t be good. No matter if you believe in evolution or divine creation. Man is very arrogant to think he can create something better then what nature has to provide.

  159. Anonymous says:

    You see, the issue at the forefront of this article is that it is misleading. You can not drink a cell culture, nor can you consume any in vitro substance. We grow our cell cultures using media that uses fetal bovine serum. Stuff from cow blood. I really doubt you want to be drinking that mixed with RPMI…

  160. MalcolmM says:

    I feel like I’m in the minority here, but I’m a huge fan of what the author is promoting. I think IVM is definitely a step in the right direction. People who argue that it’s not natural, do you think we just find vaccines for deadly diseases growing on trees? Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge supporter of being as natural as possible, but I think that when we find something that can be used so efficiently we almost have a responsibility to use it. So far, humans have simply gotten in the way of nature. We gave up blending in with nature long ago, we’re at a stage where we need to use technology and science to create a civilization that can work alongside nature. By this I mean a clean, efficient world where we allow nature to thrive, but also promote the growth of science. Making our own food is a great way to let nature run its course, unaltered by human interference, while we use science to sustain ourselves.
    And it’s not like scientists are designing totally new types of meat that they think are good for our bodies, they’re taking the best parts from the meat of your choice and producing something that mimics it, and gives you the ideal nutrients. To all you saturated fat fans out there, if we can mimic meat, don’t you think we have the technology to insert some saturated fat into it?
    Many people are also underestimating the rate at which technology is going to grow. Looking at how technology has advanced in the past 100 years, it’s clear that it is advancing faster and faster every day. If more resources were put into the less popular industries like technology to grow food inside, or ways to mimic meat, think of the things we could do! If sufficient resources were put into creating healthy, efficient, food sources, I have no doubt that within 10 years everyone would have access to food that would supply nutrition that would surpass even the healthiest of diets today.
    By allowing ourselves to learn alongside nature, as opposed to letting nature have its way with us, we in turn allow nature to grow as it intended, with as little human interference as possible.

  161. Going back to Cali says:

    this is just SCARY!!!!

  162. Anonymous says:

    I think I would consider this to be a tech fix for a larger more deeply rooted proplem of eating too much meat – we consume too much therefore there is a problem if we went the natural route we would get natural results …

  163. Anonymous says:

    Heres a fact EAT LESS!!! Seriously anything genetically grown enhanced or made in a lad beefed up on steroids or other things we might not know about ISNT GOOD

  164. Anonymous says:

    I believe you need to do more research, by eliminating you will be making the wests largest icon go extinct you will be creating many more unemployed people which there are already to many of today. If we fight so hard to keep dying species of animals alive, why dont we stop fighting to hard to kill off one of America’s hardest working and most respectable group of people and families, not ot mention legacies that have been around for over a century. Most livestock are produced in areas that cannot be used more much more than that from a production point of view. And without ranchers who will manage the land? The federal and state governments have already allowed a large percent of our public lands become much worse than they were even 20 years ago. Without these people to manage the land, those that dont have the experience no matter what education level they have, will allow our beautiful country to rot away.

  165. Jim says:

    The one part of this that the author doesn’t seem to address (from an animal-rights perspective) is that of the livestock that will no longer be “needed.” What happens to them? Will they just be killed off en masse, and the males neutered (and/or the females fixed)? He indicates that there are already more livestock in the world than we have space for — what happens when they are not being killed off regularly for their meat? Could we repurpose them, perhaps, for actually making *more* leather goods, fake hair extensions, oils, etc.?

  166. Michael_B says:

    “tampered with genetically ” we’ve been tampering with the genetics of animals for thousands of years now, we’re just doing it a lot faster than we used to. Look at the breeds of dogs that can’t even mate without human assistance.

  167. White Cat w/ Boots says:

    “what side of the magic carpet did you wake up on?! Not only does the prospect of a meat grapefruit sound repulsive, but it’s completely half baked. We’re talking about things within in the realm of scientific possibility, not something you thought up while you had the munchies.”

    Why?

    I definitely see vegetables with savory meat-like flavor and complete protein content equal to that of beef (which some plants, including Spirulina algae, already possess!) in our future, this century.

    Peach Steak Fruit. I had great stake with peach sauce once. Now I’m hungry.

  168. Anonymous says:

    that’s really closed minded of you and you probably don’t realize where science is going or can go which dumbfounds me cuz you just read an article about growing food in a lab….you control electrons you can do anything

  169. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi landlubber — Hank Hyena here — the author of this article you hate — I just wanted to refer you to a newsarticle on “FarmScrapers” – they’re going to start building them in South Korea — here is the link:
    http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/08/123_49948.html
    my prediction that ranches will end seems to make everyone angrier than anything else in the article –
    but I still believe it — I think food will be grown & manufactured in cities, the plants will need syscrapers, the
    meat just needs good in-vitro factories. It is nice that you like wool but gosh, it is a lot of work to grow wool on a sheep and shear it and clean it – same with leather – I think they’ll both disappear. Thanks for reading my article though

  170. Anonymous says:

    carbs don’t clog our arteries, but saturated fats do.

  171. Good Chaos says:

    Come on Manga Meat!! YUM!!

  172. Anonymous says:

    You are the Moron with a capital M. Livestock have been around a long time just because they make up baloney about them changing the weather now fools like you believe it.

  173. Anonymous says:

    Too many carbs and our bodies stop breaking down those fats for energy. Hence too much carbs clogs arteries. Lots of saturated fats and low carbs means your body will process the fats in your body for energy. High fat low carb diet = body burns more fat and gets leaner and healthier.

  174. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi – this is Hank Hyena, the author. I’ve been getting a lot of over-heated crap from you saturated fat eaters. I never said take 100% of saturated fat out of one’s diet, and your suggestion that I take it all out of mine is lame. Why don’t YOU just eat ONLY BACON for one hundred days and then let me know how your health is, if you’re still alive? All I said was that in-vitro meat could take out saturated fat, and that would be health beneficial. There have been recent studies indicating that saturated fat has benefits, but other studies still indicate the opposite, like this:

    http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20100302/HEALTH/3020337/1292/health/Study–High-fat-diet-increases-stroke-risk

    The longest-lived people on the earth – Japan, Macao, Hong Kong, Andorra – are not gluttonous Cheese-Head, Hamburger-Eaters. Fish-eaters live longer than Red Meat Fat-Eaters. I don’t know why you get a frenzy about the saturated fat issue, are you with the beef lobby?

  175. Unqualified to speak says:

    It may be a lot of work to “grow wool on a sheep and shear it and clean it” — but it’s an annual crop.
    Wool was the reason for New Zealand’s massive sheep flock; sheep-meat was a by-product of growing wool. I say “was” because the New Zealand sheep flock is rapidly vanishing, the collapse in the price of wool being one of the reasons.

  176. Unqualified to speak says:

    Also: please, when throwing huge generalisations about farming around, be aware the US beef factory-farming practices are not standard operating procedure all over the world.

  177. Anonymous says:

    Natural smatural. All those ignorant fools who think that natural means better should wake up. I’ve been a medical doctor for many years and have seen hundreds of patients with kidney and liver failure from “natural remedies” There’s nothing as natural as a snake bite and believe me its not good for you! I am not a meat eater but I am surprised at those who do eat meat who are not relieved that their gluttonous desires will no longer be at the expense of innocents. But like the abolition of slavery some will see the right way and others will try to continue the old unforgivable habits of the past which for some unfathomable reason they will try to justify right. Kind-meat is the future. And its not doom and gloom but a sunny bright caring, cruelty- free future. And for those whose occupation centers around providing slaughtered remains to the hungry masses I suggest that you look into finding a new job before it too late. Don’t say we didn’t warn you :)

  178. Scrutinizer says:

    Anon, man has already created a whole host of things better than what nature has to provide. Nature provided winter; man provided fire and clothing and shelter. Nature provided smallpox; man provided the vaccine. Nature provided us with a brutal existence where the strong survive and the weak rot; the ingenuity of man has given us the means with which to spare the weak the hardship of nature. Primarily, it seems, so that they can damn the progress which gave them the opportunity to live as men and not as animals.

  179. Hank Hyena says:

    Hi Maria — this is Hank, the author here — if you want to help In-Vitro meat progress, you could contact New Harvest, a non-profit in Baltimore Maryland, and see if there’s some way you could assist them. Thanks for your comments. I have had to slaughter animals as well and it was quite upsetting to me, especially killing the big kind cows.

  180. Anonymous says:

    Whether those things are “better” than nature can be disputed. Man creating shelter is not beating nature, it is adapting to it. I beg to differ that forcing man to exist and perservere in instances such as disease where man would otherwize expire, is a good thing. In fact the ingenuity of man in the way we have been using it thus far may be a bad thing for our existance in the big picture. By “saving lives” from natural causes, we are populating our planet at an “unatural” rate. War, disease and death are natural ways to keep our population down, just as survival of the fittest is our species natural way to keep the strong ones procreating, and not dragging us down. We are forced to care for the weak and the mentally challenged instead of focusing on the healthy and using natures perfect existing systems for the benefit of our species as a whole.

  181. Anonymous says:

    lol this post is just asking to be Godwin’d.

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