Aug 5, 2013


Found this article and really want to see what people think. Knowing that few people read and/or comment on this blog, I am aware that it will be hard to start a conversation of any value, but I’m gonna try any way.

Toward that end, if you find this article fascinating and think someone you know would have some good input, please send them a link.

So the article is about artificial meat. The idea is that scientists take beef stem cells and all the proteins and other necessary building blocks, mix them up and grow beef muscle tissue in a lab.

I’ll just put it out there that as long as there are no health consequences to artificial meat I am all for it.

Knowing that growing meat in a lab has got to freak people out for so many reasons, I ask my 3-5 readers to think about these things: Even without any real information from this article, what are some potential health concerns about artificial meat? What are the political and/or economic consequences of artificial meat? What are the social implications of artificial meat? Are there equality issues (race, income, social status, gender) with lab meat? How would readily available artificial meat effect our foreign policy? And of course, are there religious concerns surrounding artificial meat? (is God mad about shmeat?)

And before I forget, here is the article. Please comment, I’m eager to hear what people think.


  1. Thank you Jon for posting about this and bringing the issue to our attention. I think this in an excellent topic for discussion, with multiple factors involved.
    I'm a vegan for health, environmental, and most of all due to my ethical/spiritual beliefs. I avoid artificial foods as a rule and go for the most natural, fresh, and chemical-free foods I can afford because I believe that is what we are meant to eat for healthy functioning. This meat still has animal product in it as well as being artificially grown and I cannot see this being healthy! At best, I don't think this will help America's health crisis. I would never eat this.
    That said, for people who find themselves unable to give up meat (most people) but want to help reduce animal slaughter, this could be very helpful.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Let me play devil's advocate for a minute.

      If this shmeat were no more and no less healthy than currently sold real meat would you have the same objections?

    2. Yes but not to the same extent. As far "healthy" or "unhealthy" goes, I think it is not a categorization but a spectrum. I do not think real meat is good for our bodies but lab grown meat is probably worse for our bodies, physically.
      What say you, sir?

    3. I agree that healthy is a spectrum, and at face value it’s not hard to believe that shmeat is less healthy than conventional meat. I am not a nutrition specialist but my understanding is that lean meat in moderation is a good thing.

      At some point, probably within the next 20 years, I believe we will be able to so perfectly replicate meat that it will be nearly, if not completely, molecularly identical to real meat.

      This is just a stepping stone to that. Yes growing things in the earth is far better, but I think humanity is going to have to acknowledge in the next 30 to 80 years that our population is not sustainable with these or most agricultural practices.

      I am all for urban farming and think that communities could become more sustainable and independent in a lot of ways, but I think the likelihood that we will be able to teach billions of people how to grow their own food is rather unlikely. Therefore, we are going to have to come up with different and probably new methods of feeding the globe.

      Personally I want Star Trek replicators, but until then I think shmeat is a good step in the right direction. No, my guess is it’s not very healthy now, but I bet it will be in the future.

      Also, this is the first solution to our current slaughtering practices that seems financially viable enough that it could actually make a dent in our current meat market. I’m hopeful that this will in the next 50+ years radically change the meat industry.

      It is also possible that if we are unable to get real meat at an affordable price, and our only alternative is shmeat, people will start to eat less and less meat. That would probably be a good thing for people, animals, and the environment.

      The social, structural, environmental, political, and even religious implications of manufacturing meat in a lab are going to be at the very least complex and controversial and at the worst grounds for war and revolution.

      We’ll just have to see what happens. Any thoughts people?

    4. I highly doubt this would cause a war (Oh wait I forgot we are still savages that murder each other for resources, so maybe...) but here's my thing with meat: yes, the mainstreamed scientific persuasion is that lean meat in moderation is healthy. While it is true meat contains protein and vitamin B12, Americans on average eat far more protein than what is recommended, and contrary to popular belief, it is pretty easy to get enough from plant sources, such as beans, seeds, nuts, and grains. Eating meat isn't the "necessary" evil that we must do to ensure proper nutrition. Historically humans are herbivores (whether you trust Biblical or evolutionary evidence, the conclusion of both is this) and at one point when we didn't all have a grocery store of options a mile away, we took to eating meat to survive. Certainly our bodies are somewhat adaptable to this but it has been proven over and over (not surprising in my mind) that animals and animal products are difficult for our bodies to not only digest, but gather nutrients from. For example the whole hype on milk for stronger bones is an advertising joke that we all have bought into. While dairy milk does have calcium (almond milk has twice that, by the way) it is actually so hard for our bodies to process this that our systems have to extract calcium OUT of our bones to pass it, and studies have proven that drinking milk not only hasn't been shown to strengthen bones or build calcium, but there is evidence to suggest that it might actually hurt your bones (inconclusive). I am very lactose intolerant and have been told by people "oh, there is medication you can take for that!" my thoughts on this are...if my body can't digest it, MAYBE I shouldn't put this into my body? JUST a crazy thought.
      Anywho I realize my response has basically been about animal products instead of lab meat. I guess that I seek to question your underlying assumption that meat needs some form of substitute if we don't want to kill animals. I pretty much just don't think we do.

    5. That is a fair point and one I think humanity needs to consider. Do we really need to eat meat? I still really like meat and will continue to eat it. As budget allows however, I do intend to eat better and more humane meat. Just as a matter of preference I prefer seafood and fish, and hope to transition away from eating land meat entirely. (But chicken...)

      The reason I like shmeat is that I don't really expect people to change quickly. Or frankly at all. At least not for a very long time. We may move away from meat being a large part of our diet but it won't happen anytime soon. In the meantime our current meat practices are unsustainable and shameful. So coming up with an alternative sounds pretty good to me.


I highly encourage open and free discussion. I hope people feel comfortable to express their opinions. Comments are not moderated. I do not intend to delete any comments. I will however give warnings and then delete comments and report trolls. Any opinion is acceptable but hate speech will not be tolerated and will be defined as: speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, etc. I will warn and then delete and report anyone using hate speech. PLEASE be respectful and don't make me have to start moderating.