Artificial meat is almost ready for primetime according to this article from the UK.
Science fiction stories have been big into popping a pill or packet a day to give people the basic nutrients they needed for survival. Another long time SF staple is dial-a-food, where characters program a replicator to create whatever meal they’re hungry for, whether it’s good old-fashioned porridge or lasagna, or the more exotic fare of a distant galaxy. Did you ever wonder what the machine used for its raw material? Maybe they hovered over a random hydrous planet and sucked algae into huge vats.
“All food futurologists agree we can’t go on eating the way we have. But though the organic lobby is convinced that back to basics could solve the world’s problems, no serious scientist believes traditional farming alone will work. And so we will have to accept the new and “unnatural” if we want to stay fed.” (Alex Renton)
Or maybe they use stem cells from living creatures. The article quotes Cor van der Weele, Professor of Humanistic Philosophy at Wageningen University, as saying, “People will see the moral benefits of cultured meats. Taking stem cells from a pig rather than killing millions of pigs in factories is already a more attractive idea to consumers.”
That does make it sound appealing, doesn’t it?
But it’s one more step–a HUGE step–in genetic modification (GM), a step difficult to undo once it’s taken.
The article goes on to say that it was a “historic mistake” to introduce herbicides as the first GMO (genetically modified organisms) products. Apparently the suicidal deaths of hundreds of Indian farmers in 2011 is “appalling publicity.” And yet the article adds (very next paragraph): “African scientists say, ‘Don’t you dare bar us from this technology.'”
Really? To desperately yearn for the same technology others have suicided to escape from? That’s mindboggling.
Is the world population growing rapidly? Yes. Is feeding everyone a challenge? Obviously. It’s estimated that 13% of the world is hungry.
But are we truly going to put our trust in fake meat and other genetically modified “foods?” In big corporations who claim they only have the benefit of the poor in mind? In scientists who say there are risks, but “we’re better able to monitor them than ever before?”
Those of us with food on our tables also tend to have computers, Internet access, and research materials. We can learn and study and find alternatives.
That 13% tends not to have the option.
Would they rather have bioengineered meat/food than starve to death? I’m sure they would.
But we–the rest of us–have a choice. Let’s choose wisely. Please. For the poor and hungry as well as for ourselves. Let’s choose alternatives that heal the planet, not turn it into a science fiction feature from which there is no return.