PETA to Offer $1 Million for Lab-Grown Meat
For the first time that I can recall in my lifetime, I actually approve of something that PETA is doing. The animal rights organization has announced that they are offering a one million dollar prize for the first person or company to create lab grown meat that’s good enough to fool meat eaters.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants to pay a million dollars for fake meat — even if it has caused a “near civil war” within the organization.
The organization said it would announce plans on Monday for a $1 million prize to the “first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012.”
New Harvest, a nonprofit organization formed to promote the field, says on its Web site, “Because meat substitutes are produced under controlled conditions impossible to maintain in traditional animal farms, they can be safer, more nutritious, less polluting and more humane than conventional meat.”
Jason Matheny, a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University who formed New Harvest, said the idea of a prize for researchers was promising. Citing the example of the Ansari X Prize, a competition that produced the first privately financed human spacecraft, Mr. Matheny said, “they inspire more dollars spent on a research problem than the prize represents.”
Now this is something I can get behind. After all, once the technique is perfected, the end product would be indistinguishable from naturally grown meat products. Indeed, I’d wager that once in vitro meat growth becomes viable, it will taste even better–perfect marbleization in your steak anyone? Not to mention that it’d be nice to be able to eat meat having one’s ethical sense troubled by the rather inhumane conditions that a lot of livestock are raised in.