WHY A FILM ABOUT CULTURED MEAT?
Animal agriculture is one of the most environmentally destructive industries in the world, responsible for anywhere from 14 to 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions. A conventionally-produced hamburger requires roughly 660 gallons of water. One-third of the arable land on earth is currently devoted to animal agriculture. With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, and meat production expected to double in that time, organizations like the United Nations are urging populations to eat less meat. But all indicators suggest that meat demand will continue to rise despite these warnings.
Since the post-war period, increased demand for meat has forced suppliers to make meat production more efficient. While this has allowed meat supply to match meat demand, it is often done at the expense of the hundreds of billions of animals raised for food. The advent of clean meat, otherwise known as cultured meat, would present a cruelty-free alternative, without slaughter.
In recognition of the catastrophic perils of climate change, and with the increase in demand for protein – entrepreneurs, NGOs, corporations and governments alike are working to find solutions.
The concept is revolutionary: growing animal flesh for consumption, without using the full living sentient animal. Cultured meat is also referred to as clean meat, cell-cultured meat, in-vitro meat, and lab-grown meat. It is meat grown in cell culture. If scientists can grow human tissue from stem cells for use in medical procedures, then why not a similar process to “grow” or “brew” beef, chicken and pork? The technology behind growing organs for human patients is quite similar to that used to grow meat:
“Starting cells are taken as a biopsy from live animals, they are put into a culture media where they start to proliferate and grow, independently from the animal. Theoretically, this process would be efficient enough to supply the global demand for meat. All this would happen without any genetic manipulation, i.e. without the need to interfere with the cells’ genetic sequences.” (Futurefood.org)
Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of the Good Food Institute and Managing Trustee of the venture capital fund New Crop Capital, says animal advocates have historically been focused on educating consumers about the harms of animal agriculture: “But most people make their dining choices principally around the factors of taste, price and convenience,” he says. “We’re focused on making plant-based and cultured meat alternatives tastier, cost competitive and more convenient.”