I’ve tried a few times in my life to become a vegetarian. It’s not for health reasons. I do believe that a small amount of meat is just fine for my health, but I wanted to become a vegetarian because I really, really love animals. I know many people disagree with me, but I just didn’t want to eat animals.
But I failed every time. My best attempt came in my early thirties, and I made it nearly a year without eating any meat. I ended up one evening at a local burger joint with my oldest son eating the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten because I love burgers so much, and I fell right off that vegetarian wagon.
At this point in my life, I’ve decided to eat meat minimally and responsibly—but to eat meat. But then I heard about lab-grown meat and was interested.
Since I love my chickens, I was highly interested in the “chicken” sandwich that went public a few months ago, though most people I knew were highly skeptical. I could see their points. I mean, you do have to worry a bit about meat made in a lab, but I was still a little hopeful.
After all, the way we raise animals for meat currently using our factory farming practices is bad for the animals, bad for the planet, and bad for us. If there is a way around all of this, I want to learn more.
On the plus side, lab-grown meat uses “less water, land, and energy.” According to this piece from Organic Life, lab-grown meat is expected to be “10 times more efficient than traditional meat production.” This seems great, but, of course, I wonder about any potential negative health effects from eating lab-grown meat. I know there are some negative effects from factory-farmed meat, but, so far, any potential health information on lab-grown meat doesn’t seem to be available.
But I did find out that there are some clear negatives to lab-grown meat. Lab-grown meat isn’t actually vegetarian at all. Because meat cells can’t reproduce on their own, scientists use fetal bovine serum to “grow” the “meat.” So, while lab-grown meat may be cleaner and much more efficient, animals will still die for it.
For me, that key fact plus the fact that it may be some time before we know about any research about the health benefits or risks related to lab-grown meat makes it tough for me to get excited about lab-grown meat, even though I really wanted to.
It seems that, for now, the path I’m on may be the best. Our family has cut its meat consumption by at least a third over the last few years. We raise our own meat chickens, ensure they are treated very well while they are alive, and ensure they have the quickest and cleanest death we can provide. For the meat we buy, we purchase organic, grass fed, humanely raised meat.
It seems lab-grown meat may not be the solution I was hoping for, but I hope the press this new “meat” gets will get us thinking about talking about the impact our meat consumption has on animals, the planet, and our bodies.
What do you think?