According to The Guardian, scientists are looking to take GMOs one step further in the name of going green. Their solution? Meat grown artificially in labs. Climate change scientists have been seeing an alarming trend with the cost of mass producing live stock and its effects on the environment, particularly with methane emissions and land waste. Researchers hope that by growing meat they can both help the environment, and feed the increasing world population.
Analysis by Oxford and Amsterdam Universities show that "lab-grown tissue would reduce greenhouse gases by up to 96% in comparison to raising animals," and "the process would require between 7% and 45% less energy than the same volume of conventionally produced meat," while using only "1% of the land and 4% of water."
There is the argument that cultivated (free-range and organic) livestock is a far healthier choice than something lab-grown. GMO's have infiltrated every faction of live stock and agriculture, with arguably disastrous health and environmental impact.
On the bright side, fake meat provides possibilities for providing cheap nutritional resources. As the world's population increases, so does the demand for basic necessities like food and water. This pressure is causing "rising grain prices, deforestation in the Amazon, increasing water scarcity" and the need for more land especially with practices from larger nations like China who are buying land from poorer nations in a process called "land grabbing."
Furthermore, lab-grown meat has been championed by animal right's groups, receiving donations from such anti-meat organizations like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Livestock production has long been a long-term enemy to these groups due to the industry's brutal, and inhumane, treatment of animals. It is hoped that this lab-grown process would one day replace traditionaly livestock cultivation, easing both the burden on the land and on our animal brethren.
Hanna Tuomisto of Oxford hopes that the first lab-grown meat would be seen in five years, depending on funding for research.
Image: "Demon Child" by MsBlueSky on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.