Despite serious challenges, alt-meat technologies are too important to fail: their benefits extend far beyond simply reducing emissions
Hi Tony, lots of good questions here!
Cultivated meat is indeed a very energy-intensive process. I considered mentioning this in the piece, but it wasn't the main point I was trying to make, so I decided to leave it out (there are many other angles to cover, actually!) I worry less about energy demands, with the assumption that the grid is getting progressively cleaner -- if we can't generate clean energy, we have bigger problems in our hands.
As any industrial process, this would also have byproducts that need to be managed sustainably. But nothing I came across, not even the most critical pieces, leads me to believe that cultivating meat cells is a specially polluting activity.
The animals won't go 'extinct'. Even the most ardent supporters of this technology don't envision that it will replace 100% of meat consumption, at least not until a very distant future. The hope is that we can replace a good amount of the protein needs with cultivated meat, and give the animals that we raise for meat good lives in a humane and compassionate environment.
As for the freed up space... many solutions there. Rewilding projects are gaining momentum in many parts of the world. Maybe that could be a big trend: to the extent that we can, let's give more space back to nature, more wild spaces that even humans can enjoy. That would be a good problem to have, in my view.
I too have a major conflict between eating meat and seeing first hand the abattoirs. The smell alone is enough to make a person become vegetarian. The production line is also very hard to take. I know a number of workers here in NZ who work in the industry because there is little alternative in rural areas so a move to a sustainable economy will need much effort to produce suitable work for people.
Regarding suitable names for ‘lab’ meat, how about prefixing it with ‘bio’.......
Spectacular article-subscribing and recommending!