The Problems with Current Meat Production Methods

Source: Sagacious News

Scientists are currently working on creating vegetarian meat.

Wait, what?!

Ok, whether it’s vegetarian is debatable. But scientists are working on developing meat which wouldn’t require the slaughtering of an animal.

Now, you might be wondering: what’s the point? What’s wrong with normal meat that doesn’t come from a lab?

There are actually many problems with the current meat industry that can be solved by lab-grown meat. The two main ones are:

· Ethical Issues

· Environmental Problems

Imagine standing in a room, packed with people. At first it might be bearable, but after a few hours you’re going to be tired and want some space. Now imagine having to be in that environment for your whole life.

This is the reality for many of the animals raised for slaughter. In fact, it is estimated that 99% of livestock live in factory farms, where the animals are viewed as a product, not a living being.

According to the World Organization for Animal Health, there are five freedoms for animals:

“freedom from hunger, malnutrition and thirst;

freedom from fear and distress;

freedom from heat stress or physical discomfort;

freedom from pain, injury and disease; and

freedom to express normal patterns of behavior.”

These freedoms are not a priority for factory farms. Many animals will never experience life outside of their cage.

In addition, there’s also the question of whether it’s right to eat another living animal if we don’t need to. Animals are also living beings with feelings like us, yet we kill millions of them daily for our own consumption.

In-vitro meat solves both of these issues. Potentially, only a few animals would be needed to create the world’s meat supply, and these animals wouldn’t need to be killed. The result? Guilt-free meat.

It’s easy to forget, but conventional meat requires a lot of resources and energy before it can be delivered to your plate. A quarter pound of beef takes 52.8 gallons of water to produce. 100 calories of grain only produces 12 calories of chicken.

Resources required for a quarter pound hamburger. Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011. Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR

Livestock requires a lot of land. 50% of habitable land is used for agriculture, and the majority of that is used for livestock, while livestock doesn’t produce a majority of calories or protein.

Source: Hannah Ritchie on Our World in Data

On top of the other environmental impacts, livestock also makes up almost 15% of global emissions.

So how do we combat these problems without requiring the world to give up meat completely? That’s where lab grown meat comes in. Because it’s not necessary to raise or maintain an entire animal, it cuts down on environmental factors, and doesn’t come with the ethical dilemma of killing animals.

And as demand for meat increases, it is vital that we find another option to lessen the negative impacts of meat. However, as with many other ideas, for in-vitro meat to have an impact, people must adopt it.

TL;DR

  • Our current method of producing meat has many issues, two of the main ones being ethical and environmental concerns.
  • The majority of livestock live in factory farms, and meat comes with the question of whether it’s right how we treat them.
  • Livestock use significant amounts of resources and land, and contributes to human emissions.
  • By adopting in-vitro meat, we can lessen the harmful impacts of conventional meat, but it requires the population to try it.

Teen lover of biotech, reading, and dogs. Innovator at TKS.