There have been huge advancements in the area of meat farming and production in the past few years, and the Dutch seem to be leading the way. MosaMeat, a Netherlands-based agricultural science start-up, has developed a 100% lab-grown, slaughter-free hamburger patty grown from cultured beef cells. The first prototype, which was cooked and consumed in London in 2013, generated huge interest from animal rights activists and carnivores alike, and MosaMeat has been working to start the 'cultured meat revolution' ever since. 

Vegetarians and vegans respond

Tobias Leenaert, a co-founder of one of the largest vegetarian organizations in Europe, Ethical Vegetarian Alternative, has been one of the first vegetarian advocates to try and promote the product within the meatless community. He recently spoke about it to a crowd of 150 EVA members, touting not only its cruelty-free benefits, but also it's environmental and socioeconomic benefits. "...The cultured meat revolution could be the technological revolution that precedes a moral revolution,” Leenaert said in an interview with TakePart. “I think it could be the most important food revolution since the invention of farming.” He says his motives behind introducing this product to the meatless community are less about getting them to consume the product, and more about getting them to embrace the concept of ethically sourced meat.

But It's still a hard sell for many. The organization reportedly responded very ambivalently to Leenaerts presentation, and even the creator of the product, professor Mark Post of Maastricht University, isn't that interested in changing their minds. In an interview with TakePart he stated that while he has a good relationship with the European vegan/vegetarian community, they both still share "very different perspectives." MosaMeat's CEO, Peter Verstrate, shared this sentiment, saying the converting non-meat eaters is "not the priority." Rather, both say the biggest hurdle will be preparing for the inevitable backlash from the traditional meat lobby groups. 

Benefits

For Mark Post, the benefits of cultured meat will be endless. In addition to ending unethical farming practices, it could also take millions of tons of methane produced by livestock out of the atmosphere, save water/grains used to feed livestock, and free up the space that is currently used to house millions of #Animals for meat production. By a United Nations estimate, only 8 percent of all current farmland produces food for humans, while two-thirds of all farmland is used to grow food for livestock. This is also good news for the growing concerns about global food security. Land previously used to grow food for livestock could be used to produce food for humans, while cultured meats could be produced in the same quantity as traditional meat but in a fraction of the space.

Costs

Though expectations are high, the cultured meat technology is still far from perfect. The first cultured meat burger eaten in London cost $300,000 to produce. Post estimates that when cultured meat hits the market, it'll probably be sold around $30 a pound, significantly higher than a pound of traditional beef. “At first it will likely be aimed at high-end restaurants or specialty stores where people are willing to pay a premium for a product,” Post said. But he predicts that as demand and production increase, it could ultimately be sold for around $4 a pound. There's also the inevitable backlash from the meat farming industry since the switch to cultured meat could potentially eliminate hundreds of thousands of agricultural jobs. Farmers, as well as meat-processing companies, could be drastically affected and cultured meat activists predict significant resistance from the meat processing industry. Despite the obstacles, MosaMeat continues to work on perfecting their product. It's reported that their latest ventures include producing pork chops and steaks with the help of 3D printing technology.  #Animal Advocacy #Environment