PETA offering $1m for in-vitro chicken

CNN reports that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA are offering a prize of $1million to the first team of scientists who develop lab-grown chicken meat which is commercially viable and indistinguishable in taste from the real thing.

The group said the scientist had to be able to produce the meat in large enough quantity so it could be sold in 10 U.S. states — at a price competitive to the prevailing chicken price.

Further, the meat had to have “taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh to non-meat eaters and meat eaters alike.”

This potentially can provide people with all the meat they want, and all the vital nutrition that comes from consuming it, at a lower price. Rather than having to care for chickens, lab-grown meat involves growing tissue from stem cells and stretching the meat periodically to simulate the effects of exercise.

I remember reading about lab-grown meat in an article several months ago. The article wrote using quite emotive language – about how lab-grown meat would lead to a situation where we’ll all consume corn-fed beef in rich countries whilst those from lower income backgrounds would be eating Frankenstein meat.

But come to think of it, I don’t think it’s a bad idea at all. I would hesitate before eating meat which was grown inside a laboratory. But to be honest, I think if it was proven to be safe and I’d eaten it before, I would definitely eat it again. For some of my vegetarian friends, it would allow them to consume meat without what they see as the ethical implications of doing so.

Lab-grown meat certainly sounds unattractive when you describe it using words such as “frankenstein”, “test tube chicken” or as the IHT describes:

commercially viable “in vitro chicken” — taking stem cells and growing them into poultry flesh, presumably without the feathers and bones

But once we’ve seen it and tried it, I can’t see why it won’t take off.

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