For as long as humanity has been around, we have faced both ethical and economical issues with our food supply. The vast majority of us are animal eaters, but eating too many live animals can lower the supply of our food. Plus, in the last few decades we haven’t exactly treated those animals well either. Factory farming systems keep animals in harsh, unnatural conditions and often inhumanely slaughter them. We can all agree that animals don’t deserve to be abused and slaughtered, but at the same time, such a large chunk of the population isn’t willing to give up eating meat for the sake of them. One startup claims to have the answer to this problem: SuperMeat.
The Science Behind SuperMeat
SuperMeat wants to create real meat without harming or killing animals. This would be done using a technology called cultured meat. It would take extremely small tissue samples from an animal like a chicken, grow those cells in a lab-based environment that simulates that animal’s habitat and the process would eventually result in real meat.
We can all agree that animals don’t deserve to be abused and slaughtered, but most of the population enjoys meat too much to do anything about it.
The company is boasting that this could change the world as we know it by producing meat in a healthier way that’s cheaper too. Healthier because the growth of the meat would be under supervision from start to finish as opposed to in a variable environment where bacteria and other factors come into play. Cheaper because the growth of the cell tissues into meat is less expensive than the growth of the entire animal, which requires feeding and nurturing.
The environmental improvements would also be drastic with SuperMeat claiming it could use dramatically less land, water and overall resources as compared to the factory farming system. This would get planet Earth back into better shape and hopefully reduce or reverse damage caused by global warming.
SuperMeat uses less resources than the factory farming system which can help the environment.
The Mission to Save the Animals
“The work started 7 years ago approximately, when a group of animal advocates and environmentalists decided to devote their life to this goal,” Campaign Manager for SuperMeat Ronen Bar told Guiding Tech. “They quit all their doings, and started learning tissue engineering at universities.”
He said while the team loves science and has the necessary experience, the passion behind the SuperMeat project is driven by the ideological factors behind producing meat this way. The only difference according to him between SuperMeat and conventional meat from animals is that this method “allows the cell tissue to grows outside the animal body, instead of inside it.”
The campaign on Indiegogo at the time of writing has risen over US$150,000, which is 150 percent of the funding goal. Feedback has thus been mostly positive as the project receives considerable news coverage. Even notorious vegan YouTuber Freelee the Banana Girl gave her full endorsement. Still, some folks are skeptical and cite potential health concerns.
“The taste will be the same as real meat, because it won’t be fake.” — Ronen Bar
Some Healthy Skepticism
“I think I would prefer plant-based ‘meat’ over cultured meat. It sounds safer to me,” commenter pwndecaf wrote on Gizmag. “Despite being a meat-eater, I think I would gag on lab meat.”
Others are still on the fence about climate change. “Once again the lie of global warming suckers people into money being spent uselessly,” Lbrewer42 commented.
The SuperMeat team defends this technology wholeheartedly. “Unlike the conventional meat industry, that produces flesh that is full with chemicals, and uses massive amount of antibiotics, cultured meat is clean meat. It is produced in a controllable environment, unlike filthy factory farms,” said Bar.
“The taste will be the same as real meat, because it won’t be fake,” he later added. “Same meat, different method of producing.”
Professor Yaakov Nahmis and SuperMeat’s Head of Research estimates that cultured meats can hit the market in as little as five years, so it won’t take very long at all before animal-loving meat lovers are at peace grocery shopping.
As with any project of this caliber, there are potential obstacles, but Bar is extremely confident about overcoming them. He says that people are far more willing to acknowledge problems in the meat industry today, so a technological advancement in the production such as SuperMeat should be welcome with open arms.