Just saw this from NPR about the efforts to grow meat in test tubes. I’m guessing you just gagged like I did. And apparently, more than one laboratory had this brilliant idea. There’s one in the Netherlands and one in North Carolina working on this “problem”.
Okay, lets couch our disgust for a moment and think about this. I think people had the same reaction in the 70s to the idea of “test-tube babies”. And we went through a similar situation with cloned animals in the 90s. But here’s the question: If it’s exactly like a real steak, cell for cell, what’s the big problem? What if it’s exactly the same as the best steak you ever had in your entire life and you could eat it over and over again?
Well, to quote some genius, “That ain’t right.”
My main concern is that I’m trying to defer to Nature, which is why I eat this way and I don’t use sunscreen very often. If we were meant to eat steaks grown in tubes, that is how we would have been eating them all this time. But we’re not. I worry about our short-sighted abilities to side-step Mother Nature on anything, and meat in a beaker is no exception. There is that damned Law of Unintended Consequences that rears its ugly head anytime we think we know better. If we think we can trick our bodies’ cells into recognizing this as food, I think we’re mistaken. Need I remind anyone of the trans fat debacle? We all would’ve been healthier if we’d eaten real butter instead of margarine for the past 50 years.
So what if we can successfully trick our bodies into recognizing this as food? Do we embrace it then? We might have to. At least, that would probably be an Archevore’s position. Just because our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t have access to it shouldn’t make it forbidden to us. So perhaps this post will look quite quaint in another 50 years.
The thing that really sticks in my craw? The fact that they cite environmental concerns and the coming food supply problem in that magical year of 2050. I’ve talked about this before, so forgive the repetition if you’re familiar, but my stance is we need to focus on the 7 billion people currently alive and quit worrying about hypothetical, imaginary people. We need to feed the people we have now, and we need to quit dreaming up crazy GMO grains with which to do it. To their credit, the supporters of tube-meat are trying to provide something healthier than grains for this future population.
But why haven’t they asked themselves this tough question: If we can’t feed a global population with natural, optimal foods, then what the hell are we doing?
P.S.— How much you wanna bet they couldn’t get the headline “Tube Steak” past their editor?