- Type: TiNe
- Development: l--l
- Attitude: Adaptive
I agree with you @grockl, I don’t think veggie-only options are the full solution. I’ve also been looking into lab-grown meat and I think that is also part of the solution. There is a restaurant which opened recently some 30 minutes from where I currently live that is selling lab-grown meat right now:
I’m excited to try it out and plan on going there soon.
I foresee lab-grown meat and (taste-identical) veggie meat to be a dynamic duo that will move things forward into the future. For those who can’t leave behind actual meat, then actual meat options will still exist — just without the slaughter process. Most of what lab-grown meat removes is the cruelty. It’s the same substance, really, but it’s just that there’s a nervous system and a brain there in the process right now. We’d just be removing those parts.
What I cannot see, though, is a future where slaughtered meat exists at the same time as we have viable lab-grown meat that is ethically on better ground. I believe the arguments that “it wasn’t really alive” and “I didn’t get to kill/hunt it” will ultimately lose the battle in court. Sure there may be a minority who oppose the mass-production of lab-grown meat because they want to know their animal lived, walked, breathed, saw things, and suffered death. But I think those voices will be outnumbered. To me the ethics are sound, the technology is now here — and the rest is about logistics and how fast an industry that has become so central to the production pipeline of all major countries can be re-tooled. (I think lab-grown meat and veggie meat are great buying opportunities right now, for those into investing.)
Scale is the immediate problem, and this is the same issue currently holding up electric vehicles. It’s a sheer matter of logistics and infrastructure. To reach meat production scales and numbers that can match current (let alone future) supply for billions, will take a decade at best to mature into existence. However, I think a 100 year estimate is unrealistic — since the cost of veggie meat alone will drop below meat within this decade. Form a sheer energy-consumption perspective, a pound of cattle meat takes multiple times (I’ve heard 10x?) more pounds of plants and water resources to produce it. This means that from an economics perspective plant-based meats are cheaper to make, in principle. It just doesn’t have the economics of scale at the moment.
But when the scale is realized, they will under-price meat for the same taste and texture. And if a person is at a supermarket and they can buy a guilt-free veggie alternative to meat which is also cheaper, and it tastes indistinguishable, the rules of economics will not allow for this option to take 100 years to actualize. Market pressure will develop to bring the product to full scale. It won’t take more than 10 years for the price to be competitive with real meat, let alone out-perform it. And increased tangible climate change effects will start hitting soon, which will also put greater legislative pressure on this happening by the 2030’s.
Yes, lab meat still relies on other resources which have a carbon footprint – which is another matter. The transition to sustainable/solar energy will aid in that process. I think lab-grown meat is not the ideal solution but it’s better than the current one. And I think it will eventually phase-out, but it will be a bridge many people will need. If nothing else it allows for the cessation of deforestation for cattle-raising, which is also causing climate problems and wildlife destruction problems.