Our reliance on animal products is wreaking havoc on our ability to make significant plans toward curbing anthropogenic climate change.
Why? Because our demand for meat and dairy only creates more open killing fields for animals that emit noxious gases, and the need for grains and water to keep them alive. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), global agriculture accounts for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is <well> above what the entire transportation sector puts out.
Raising chickens, pigs, cows, and the like contributes to climate change through the production of methane gas. Growing meat in the laboratory aims to reduce the impact on agricultural water, land, and resources. Because our demand for animal agriculture is expected contribute to an 80% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector, it would be wise to find solutions to our ravenous appetite for animals.
Luckily, we’ve got a few labs around the world working on this very issue.
Lab-grown meat — or “cultured meat,” as producers like to call it — takes muscle-specific stem cells from real cows and uses those cells to form fibers of muscle tissue. The fibers are then assembled to form a neat little hamburger patty. Steaks are a little more complex, but they’re working on it. Taste-testers give mixed reviews, but one thing is clear: It’s a good start.
Researchers believe the cultured meat will provide several benefits over field-grown meat. For one, the use of antibiotics is unnecessary, so you won’t be adding to the risk of increasing antibiotic resistance to bacteria in humankind. As well, you won’t be eating meat infused with hormones and additives that you neither need nor want. Another health plus is that the sterile environment of labs means the risk of viral or bacterial contaminants (such as E. coli and salmonella) is virtually non-existent.
Even the Terminator himself is down to eat less meat. World-renowned bodybuilder, former California governor, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is urging people to replace one meal with a vegetarian option each day to help lessen the burden on our environment.