Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming more popular as more people around the world become more conscious about the impact their diet has on climate change. However, could lab-grown meat be a way for meat lovers to not feel guilty?
Now, your mind might immediately go to Beyond or Impossible products, but those are plant-based “meats.” Lab-grown meats are very different because it is actual meat, but grown from the cells of an animal instead of harvested from a living creature.
Not only does this mean no animal needs to suffer, but it also eliminates the emissions that come from the meat industry as a whole. The end result is a guilt-free meat that you can enjoy without impacting the environment.
Let’s take a look at what lab-grown meat is and how it can change everything.
What Is Lab-Grown Meat?
Simply put, it is animal meat that is grown from the cells of an animal in a laboratory setting. Looking for a more complicated explanation? Then keep reading.
Those cells are in an environment where they can replicate the process of growth inside of an actual animal body. This makes it possible to “grow” meat without any slaughtering or captivity of animals needed.
It is real meat, thus it is not vegan. However, only Singapore has actually approved the process of lab-grown meat. This means it is still not legal in the United States. But as the science around it has become more stable, it is very likely to change.
And that could lead to big shifts in the future.
Why Is It Such A Big Deal?
One of the biggest emission emitters in the world is actually the agricultural sector. For example, 11% of the United States’ emissions came from Agriculture in 2020. While this is a combination of many things, one of the biggest culprits is livestock.
Many think it is actually a joke that cow burps and farts are a serious threat to the climate, but it’s actually true. And when you literally have over a billion cows in the world, it becomes a significant emitter.
Not to mention all of the lands they take up and the water they use. Livestock is an extremely resource-intensive industry, but lab-grown meat can change that.
You won’t need to have billions of cows, pigs, and chickens that need food, water, medicine, and land to stay healthy. This will dramatically shrink the land usage and open it up for more crops or forests, which can help lower emissions.
This is especially important for farms on the western side of the US, where water levels have never been lower.
And more importantly, more countries will be able to produce their own food supply, which could revolutionize some areas. For instance, dish-based diets are more common on islands because they lack room to produce large quantities of beef, pork, or chicken.
It’s a game-changer, but still might be decades away from being realized.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.