Cultured meat is meat grown in cell cultures instead of in animals. So basically, cells are taken from actual animals, and then grown in labs. Since only a small amount of cells is needed, the popularization of cultured meat could mean the end of factory farming. The following is part of a Twitter DM conversation I had with Hampton Creek:
In regards to the attached questions, producing clean meat does not require any animal-derived inputs beyond the initial animal cells which can come from, for example, a single feather from a chicken roaming free in a sanctuary or a single egg laid by that chicken. The cells can grow by being nourished with plant-based nutrients, and can in principle continue growing indefinitely without the need for any additional animal-derived inputs. Our goal is to produce meat and seafood that is sustainable and eliminates the need to confine or slaughter any animals.
So would vegans eat cultured meat? Since by definition vegans avoid, “as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food”, and because the meat is created by taking cells from animals, as Simon Cowell would say, It’s a No. Also, just because Hampton Creek uses an example of the animals being kept in sanctuaries, that won’t necessarily be the case. I do think if there’s proof the animals are well cared for, some people would stop being vegan to make use of these products, especially those who identify as vegan but are simply on a plant-based diet. Cultured meat can be produced without growth hormones or antibiotics. It’s also possible the lab-created meats could be made to contain significantly less saturated fat.
It’s also estimated the land needed to produce meat would be reduced by 99%(!!!). The amount of associated water needed could be reduced by 90%, not to mention a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. This is good, and (again, if the animals are treated well) something most vegans will be happy about and support to some degree, even if we don’t support the product financially by purchasing it for consumption.
It should probably also be noted that most ethical vegans are pretty grossed out by the idea of eating flesh, which this will still be. Maybe some other vegans can chime in below in the comments. What do you all think??