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The Crusade for a Cultured Alternative to Animal Meat: An Interview with Nicholas Genovese, PhD PETA

Kris Notaro

Ethical Technology

October 05, 2011

A cruelty-free, cultured meat is on the horizon that will help save a large percentage of the 27 billion animals slaughtered each year for food.


Complete entry


Posted by feol  on  10/06  at  07:08 PM

Nice interview! You compared environmental impacts and costs between in vitro meat and the current harm-and-kill meat. But how does in vitro compare to vegetarian food in terms of nutritional content, production efficiency, cost and resource and environmental impact?

Posted by feol  on  10/08  at  05:14 AM

Nick: thanks for the reply.

“In terms of costs, cultured meat will be at least as competitive as vegetarian meat analogs if it can be priced within the range of conventional meat products. Vegetarian meat analogs, in general, tend to be more expensive than their conventional meat equivalents.”

The real comparison point is the costs and negative impacts of these two alternative in high volume scenarios. I had the impression that non-animal analog costs are mostly due to low scale of production. The ingredient costs must be extremely low compared to animal based products. Much more soy is likely used as feed in the process to produce the average meat burger compared to the average soy burger.

So what’s you take on that: if we assume great global demand and so great production volumes for either product, which one of the two (soy meats vs in vitro meats) would then have the upper hand?

“While an individual may personally choose to adopt a vegetarian diet, this strategy falls short on a broader, global scale to reduce environmental impacts.”

I accept a moral rights view for humans and animals so the environmental impact is of secondary importance. I worry somewhat that the in vitro message will crowd out the pro veg messages.

Posted by PeterW  on  10/11  at  10:58 AM

Thanks Nick this symposium looks very promising.

Posted by Christian Munthe  on  10/16  at  04:18 AM

Nice and informative interview, but one things gets a bit overstated. It is difficult to say that in vitro meat (IVM) diet and production will in fact save any of those animals currently tortured and killed in the meat industry. This since the effect of IVM being taken up on a broad basis would mostly mean that most of these animals would never come to exist in the first place. This does not imply, of course, that there are no good animal welfare arguments for IVM - there are (in terms of reduced suffering). But the argument should not be overstated, lest it risks to backfire.

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