‘Super meat’ is anything but super

There’s an effort underway based on mass producing lab-grown, cultured meat that is being presented as a viable, ethical alternative to “real” meat and killing animals for food, but that’s not the whole story and it’s not something the animal rights movement should be promoting as a way to feed our rapidly growing population.

Lab-grown meat still involves exploiting animals, which is something swept under the rug in an effort to make it seem “cruelty-free.” In fact, mass producing cultured meat in labs would require an ongoing supply of cows, pigs, chickens and other animals to take live tissue samples to obtain cells from which to grow the cultured meat. Clearly, this is an issue not being addressed by those in the animal rights movement jumping on the “super meat” bandwagon.  

In 2013, there was much fanfare about the first lab-grown burger made by Mark Post and cooked in the Netherlands. The eating of this burger was made into an event that was live-streamed. Post produced it by placing stem cells taken from cows into a culture dish and feeding the cells with fetal calf serum to make them grow. And when he produced cultured pork the scientists extracted cells from the muscle of a live pig and mixed it in with other animal products for the cells to multiply and create muscle tissue.  

Live animals are being used as sacrificial “donors” in this process. How can we justify continually using animals for their tissues in order to mass produce lab-grown meat? We don’t think we can justify it, it all. Animal rights is a failure if it means we are constantly seeking “less cruel” ways to exploit and consume animals.

It’s especially absurd to look to finding ways to expand the meat industry by mass-producing animal flesh when the plant kingdom already provides an abundance of food to sustain the human population healthfully, ethically and sustainably.