Flash Point: Lab Meat is a Dead End
Josh Tetrick of Just Egg infamy is in the news with the Good Meat company, and plans to build giant vats to produce lab-grown meat. By 2030 the intention is to produce 13,700 tons of lab-grown meat per year.
13,700 tons is kind of hard to imagine, sounds like a lot, right?
It’s not. Let’s do the math.
Going by stats from this popular site the average American eats about 274lbs of meat a year (not including ocean life). Here’s where it gets scary: let’s go with a conservative 300 million meat-eating Americans – that’s 41,000,000 tons of animal flesh consumed in one year.
One day of that year is over 112,000 tons consumed. Put another way: Americans eat over 4,600 tons of animal flesh per hour.
What this means is that by 2030 the Good Meat company’s ambitious goals will offset 3hrs of annual meat consumption in the US.
It’s not clear how many 4-story tanks will be required to meet this goal of just 13,700 tons, but to offset even 10% of the animal flesh consumed in a year, they would need to increase this 300x.
This just isn’t realistic. We definitely don’t have time to wait for 2030 to offset a tiny percentage of meat.
Besides the concerns we’ll have as vegans (lab meat will very likely be tested on animals, and who knows if parts of the growing medium will actually be free of animal products, not to mention where cells come from), and the very likely market hesitation and flavour / texture / utility shortcomings of the final product..there’s one really big factor:
We need much bigger changes, and much sooner. The planet simply can’t wait for that. We already have enough plants for everyone to eat, and need to focus our attention (and the money we’re throwing away at these projects) on getting people to give up animal products, and provide vegan foods for them.
Dave Shishkoff, Editor
Flash Points are quick posts on relevant topics.