The environmental destruction wrought by the meat industry goes beyond the climate-changing methane mountains farted out by billions of bovines every year. Producing enough livestock to satisfy our insatiable carnivorous appetite also leads to water shortages and pollution, deforestation and an alarming loss of biodiversity.
But bacon, right?
What if you could eat meat that tasted like meat, looked like meat, smelled like meat – was meat in every respect – except that it was produced in a lab, causing no harm to the environment, animals or your health?
Welcome to the future of food: ‘clean’ (or ‘cultured’) meat grown in laboratories. It’s happening now, with start-ups like Memphis Meats already producing beef, chicken and duck straight from animal cells collected via a painless little biopsy. Basically, it cuts out the whole raise-feed-slaughter part of the process, while achieving the same result – only better.
Bill Gates, Leonardo di Caprio and Richard Branson are vocal supporters of the technology. Says Branson: "I believe that in 30 years or so we will no longer need to kill any animals and that all meat will either be clean or plant-based, taste the same and also be much healthier for everyone."
The cherry on top? Once it’s in mass production, clean meat promises to be a lot more affordable than its regular counterpart. (Presently, it costs a bomb. But hey, remember how much Blu-ray players were when they first came out?)
Australia is also getting in on the action, with Young Australian of the Year 2015 (Vic) Thomas King’s start-up Food Frontier leading the Asia-Pacific clean meat movement. Take note and moooove over, Barnaby Joyce…