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Ear to the Ground

Lab-Grown Pig Even Vegetarians Can Eat

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Posted on Nov 30, 2009
Flickr / M. Janicki by way of popsci.com

Dutch scientists are doing their bit to address the food crisis, the climate crisis and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by growing pork meat from muscle cells harvested from a live pig. Their hope is to turn the cells from one animal into the meat from a million without killing any.

Right now, you wouldn’t go near the stuff. It’s a few soggy centimeters of meat grown in the nutrient-rich blood juices of animal fetuses.

It all sounds pretty horrific, but the researchers behind the project firmly believe that if they can get the end result to look and taste like the meat products we’re used to (no soylent green, please), people will go for it.

That’s a good thing for a world that is overfished, overgrazed and doubling in population.

PETA is on board, as long as the meat in question “is no longer a piece of a dead animal.”  —PZS

Times of London:

[Mark] Post and his colleagues have so far managed to develop a soggy form of pork and are seeking to improve its texture. “What we have at the moment is rather like wasted muscle tissue,” Post said.

“We need to find ways of improving it by training it and stretching it, but we will get there. This product will be good for the environment and will reduce animal suffering. If it feels and tastes like meat, people will buy it.”

At present there is a question mark over the taste as laboratory rules prevent the scientists eating the fruits of their labour.

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By WykydRed, December 1, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Excellent point, Jim. I’ve always said I’d eat a Snow Leopard snout to tail and hail it as the tastiest meat in existence just to get people to eat Snow Leopard. Why? Because humankind never allows a food source to go extinct, and if any species needs to be kept around, I believe it’s Snow Leopards. Okay they’re vicious and solitary, but they’re beautiful to look at and that’s enough for me. I’ve never heard of an endangered cow. Or the Endangered Chicken (okay, there is the Prairie Chicken the Monkees fought so hard for) or the Almost Extinct Pig.

I like to dream of someday driving though Colorado or Montana and seeing hillsides covered in lounging packs of Snow Leopards….

So you’ve got a good vision of possibility here. Why bother with animals if you can grow quivering tubs of “shmeat”?

Didn’t we go through this conundrum with “Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Don’t They?” and that morality thing with Data?....

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By Hulk2008, December 1, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Sounds like a great leap forward.  I think I saw this process back in ‘54 with Kevin McCarthy in the lead; can’t wait for the pods to develop.  Is it based on Dutch process chocolate making? 

Welcome to “Frankenfurters”  -  yummm
  (my apologies to Rocky Horror). 
I’ll take mine with mustard, kraut, and a dill pickle spear - Chicago style.

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By Jim Yell, December 1, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree that trying to feed people with animals when the demand makes concentration camps for animals necessary to service demand, well it is wrong in so many ways, but separating tissue from animals and growing in out of body to order? We could well see where that would lead, to Hannibal Lector and even more grisly behavior.

For all the cries to be humane, destroying the need for animals will lead to a world without any living animal except humans and a few isolated animal exibits to prove we didn’t kill them all.

The whole thing is distastful and disgusting.

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By Elisia Ross, December 1, 2009 at 6:25 am Link to this comment
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Excuse me, but ‘muscle cells harvested from a live pig’ are meat no matter how and where they are grown, and probably won’t appeal to vegetarians.  At least not this one.

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By WykydRed, November 30, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

Really? Seriously. We ARE doomed. I’ll go to Comedy Central and dig around for that one. Brrrrr. Shmeat. Sooooo many good things start with “sh”......

Guess Spam is way ahead of it’s time. But yes, now it will be Shpam. Which is the way we’ve been saying it for years anyway…

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By el jefe, November 30, 2009 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Colbert Report did a story on this about 6 months ago.  It’s called Shmeat.

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By rollzone, November 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

hello. can i get hash browns or home fries with that? it needs exercise, train it to get me a beer. can i get it in a squeeze tube? what if it turns out my favorite manufactured meat is human buttocks, and that is who i am? ,,, what i eat? what would be the best hot sauce? will it stay on a skewer, or do i make meatballs and sausages? i thought that is what is in those devilled ham cans? i like killing pigs.

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By WykydRed, November 30, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

Women will grow many, many nipples and the men get spiraly hoo-ha’s! Should be fun…

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By Ouroborus, November 30, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Oh, wonderful; Soylent Green with a twist, yuck!

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