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Will Lab-Grown Meat Catch On?

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Will consumers accept synthetic beef, or will the idea die in the lab?

Would you eat lab-grown beef? This was the question I posed last week on the blog, and generated a pretty interesting discussion in the comments section. While most agreed that test-tube meat sounded awfully unappealing, there are a growing number of folks in the media saying, “why not?”

The argument is that fewer cattle will be harvested for human consumption, so test-tube beef would save animals. Additionally, proponents of the synthetic meat say fewer resources would need to be used. For them, the fake protein seems like a great option.

Already, $330,00 has been invested on the project to grow meat from bovine stem cells, according to TIME.

While I strongly oppose test-tube beef, for reasons listed in the blog last week, we want to know your thoughts on the topic.

The latest poll on the BEEF magazine homepage discusses how a Dutch researcher is utilizing bovine stem cells grown in a petri dish to produce the first-ever hamburger in a lab by this fall. Do you think consumers will ever warm up to lab-grown beef? Vote here.

With 48 votes in so far, 17% say, “Yes, the ‘ick’ factor can be overcome.” Meanwhile, the majority at 77% say, “Not in our lifetimes.” Another 6% aren’t sure.

What’s your take? Would you order a test-tube burger at a restaurant?

Discuss this Blog Entry 7

jeff Horn (not verified)
on Feb 29, 2012

Sounds like virtual meat! It might satisfy virtual farmers!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 29, 2012

If test-tube meat becomes common, it will mean the extinction of cattle with perhaps a few in a zoo somewhere.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 29, 2012

Meat grown in a laboratory is not nearly self sufficient as an animal. Cut off the animal's water and it will try to find some. Same with feed. Meat in a lab will just rot when the electricity goes off, fuel is not delivered to the generator, the lab tech becomes unreliable, the business runs out of money unexpectedly or many other types of reliablilty problems that could happen. War and sabotage will also play a factor in reliability. You can't just turn lab meat out to forage for itself when there are problems.
I'm not saying there is no future for it in a niche market, but it will not do as a sole source of meat.
Virtual meat for virtual sheeple!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 29, 2012

Hey.. at least lab grown meat doesn't include a giant industrial horror show and the cruel enslavement of animals, nor the ruin of the earth by wasting all its resources for a few of us.

Dwag (not verified)
on Apr 10, 2012

You're right, PETA endorses this. Just wondering if we will ever fully convert to this, or if it's a good back-up plan.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Feb 29, 2012

Even if meat is grown in a petri dish, what is feeding the cells in the petri dish? I don't think it is growing on air. Mechanical harvesting of grass that livestock now do naturally to feed the petri dish? Sounds silly.

Terry Church (not verified)
on Mar 1, 2012

I would not order a test tube burger nor do I have the desire to patronize an establishment that would offer it to customers. I will never believe that synthetic meat can be a healthy substitute for the real thing. Things of this nature usually appear to be okay at first, then later on down the road there's problems. I'll continue to eat REAL BEEF!

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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