Lab Grown Meat 1/22/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

I have more than one good friend who are the enemy of us carnivores.  Yes, indeed, they are vegetarians.  Me?  I didn’t scratch and claw my way to the top of the food chain just to eat Tofudabeasts.  But I am semi-vegetarian.  I only eat animals that only eat plants.  And yes, cow flatulence is a greenhouse gas, but I’m doing my part by eating the cows.  It’s all good.  In fact, It’s just plain yummy. 

Can’t we all just get along?  Well, sure.  Honestly, I adore my vegetarian friends.  They respect that I’m not a vegetarian, and I respect them for how they choose to live their lives in misery and without joy and happiness.  And hopefully they know I’m just kidding them.

There have always been attempts to reconcile the two sides of the debate.  I don’t always understand the approaches, however.  For example, I don’t understand vegetarian meats.  Veggie burgers, and veggie dogs just make no sense to me.  First, no, they don’t taste “just like the real thing”, but in addition, why make vegetables and legumes taste like meat?  There are so many things that can be done with them, and they taste just delicious.  Let vegetables be vegetables, for crying out loud. 

You might find this crazy, but one of my favorite items at the national seafood restaurant chain that we all know happens to be their brussel sprouts.  A child raised in a den of inequity is a brothel sprout.  Be that as it may, it’s a kind of sweet soy that they put on the brussel sprouts, and they are simply amazing.  I would take those over desert any day.  Heck, I should try to make them. 

Recently, I heard of a new and scientific approach to the problem.  It seems as though scientists have found a way to “clone” cuts of meat, any type and any particular cut of meat.  If this becomes approved, it means that one could eat real meat without killing any animals at all.  This does solve some problems.  With the population continuing to grow, cattle require an increasing amount of land to raise them.  The alternative is truly inhumane techniques that confine animals to very small cages where they can barely move.  Lab grown meat would reduce or eliminate the need for so much land or cruelty.

But I want to throw a hypothetical out there.  What happens if we reach the point where we no longer need cattle, or pigs, for food?  Yes, I realize that this is completely unrealistic at this point of time, but it’s an interesting intellectual exercise in my personal opinion.  The process of growing meat becomes practical, then is approved by the FDA, and meat lovers get to eat what they love guilt free.  Once it hits the market, much as antimicrobial additives or Nutrasweet, and suddenly it becomes available everywhere.  Eventually, it begins to cut into the demand for natural meat.

Is this good?  Well, without needing to use so much land for cattle, it could begin repairing some of the damage we’ve been causing such as in the Amazon.  But what happens to the cattle?

Right now, the cattle are not living their natural life, and I’m certain that breeding has changed them significantly.  Without the grazing land, would they be allowed to travel and graze on public or private lands?  And could they survive on their own?  Right now, everything that they need is being provided to them, so they may have had their natural survival instincts bred out of them. 

I know, it’s an odd train of thought, but it’s the mind with which I’ve been cursed.  I think about things like this.  And, no, I’m not suggesting that we need to start planning for the cow apocalypse today.  If we actually reach that point, I’m sure we’ll be able to figure something out. 

And, yes, I’d be willing to try it.  I’m a food experimentalist.  One thing I’ve often wondered is if veggie burger meat would be good in things like spaghetti sauce or chili.  The meat is usually not something that I personally can taste, but the consistency wouldn’t be right without it.  And, yes, I’ve tried the impossible burger and it’s close, but still not quite there.  Of course, that’s my personal opinion, and for those who like it, I am glad for you, but give me a big old greasy bison burger and I’ll be good.  And, yes, I do love the grease. 

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