Our Meat Might Not Moo in the Future | HumorOutcasts

Our Meat Might Not Moo in the Future

May 25, 2011

Cows © by macieklew

Getting ready to chomp down on your first juicy burger of the barbecue season?  Well, right now you know where that meat came from, but in a few years, that might not be the case. Yes, the scientific community, and it is a community — not just one rogue scientist hiding away in Norway or Sweden somewhere, is developing test tube meat.  Technically, it’s more of a Petri dish meat, but the concept is the same.

This is how it works: Cells are grown into muscle tissue which eventually becomes edible meat.  For lab meat to be feasible, the muscle tissue has to be stimulated to grow much like human muscles need to be stimulated or exercised in order to grow. While scientists have so far grown a piece of meat the size of a contact lens, they realize that this is not going to feed the world.  They are investigating a variety of cost-effective methods that will grow muscle tissue that will lead to steak and burgers that most of us will be proud to eat.

I know that your first reaction is “Yuck!”  When we bite into that cheeseburger or hot dog we want to know that at one time it went “Moo” or whatever sound a hot dog makes before it becomes a hot dog. We want to know for some warped reason that our food was alive and kicking.  Scientists do say that the Petri dish meat offers many advantages to real-animal meat. First, it will eliminate or at least greatly reduce the need for slaughterhouses, and that’s a nice thing. I admit that I am an omnivore hypocrite. I like a good burger once in awhile but I don’t want to know what happened to that meat before it wound up on my plate. I like the fact that by the time I get the burger, it is all nicely cooked and sitting on a bun with no sign of a head or a hoof.  This is why I can’t go to pig roasts. I don’t want to see an entire pig sitting in front of me waiting to be carved.

 I went to a roast once, not knowing that the whole pig would be displayed on the table, and I literally got queasy when people started to slice into it.  I have friends who have pigs for pets, and when I saw that roasted pig’s face, it was like my pig friends were looking at me and crying, “Why, Donna Why?”

Scientists also argue that lab meat will help to reduce gas emissions. At first I thought they were talking about gas emitted from animals but it turns out they are talking about the gas-house emissions that result from the resources needed to sustain the agricultural industry. And reducing emissions would be a good thing too, but I still have questions about this process.

What happens to all the animals? Are they all unemployed then?  Are they put on strict birth control regimens so they only produce one calf or pig or chick because there is no reason for them to really reproduce?  If they are not going to be fast food meals for us, are they not going to exist?  Will the expense to keep them on farms outweigh their usefulness?

My next concern is this: As the generations go on and view lab meat as their primary food source, will our descendents not realize that meat came from animals?  And what about the deer that are out there? Don’t you think they are going to feel slighted?  Sure, the cows and pigs get out of being slaughtered, but the deer run free. Hunters are not going to want to go into a lab and shoot a Petri dish?  Somehow, I think that might take the thrill of the hunt away.

Lastly, what about the farmers and ranchers? What happens to them?  Does Mr. Perdue go out of business?  What about the cattle ranchers out west?  Do they convert their ranches and chicken farms to labs? Will they make the lab meat?  I will admit that the Petri Dish lab meat has promise, but there are a lot of issues that need to worked out before I toss one of these puppies – and I don’t mean that literally – on the grill.


Donna Cavanagh

Donna Cavanagh is founder of HumorOutcasts.com (HO) and the partner publishing company, HumorOutcasts Press which now includes the labels Shorehouse Books and Corner Office Books (HOPress-Shorehousebooks.com). As "den mother" to the more than 100 aspiring and accomplished writers, producers, comics and authors, Cavanagh's goal is to allow creativity to flow. She is a former journalist who made an unscheduled stop into humor more than 20 years ago. Her syndicated columns helped her gain a national audience when her work landed in the pages of First Magazine and USA Today. She teaches the how-to lessons of humor and publishing at conferences and workshops throughout the country including The Philadelphia Writers' Conference and Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop. The author of four humor books, Cavanagh hopes her latest book, How to Write and Share Humor: Techniques to Tickle Funny Bones and Win Fans, will encourage writers not only to embrace their humor talents but show them off as well.

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12 Responses to Our Meat Might Not Moo in the Future

  1. Deb Martin-Webster
    May 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I’d probably eat Mr. Perdue if he was on sale. Petri Dish lab meat . . . it’s what’s for future dinners. LOL

  2. Jack Sass
    May 27, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Ole MacDonald had a test-tube, e-i-e-i-o! 😉 I’m thinking, um, yuck!

    • May 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

      I don’t know Jack. They say that you would never be able to taste a difference. I think they should use you and Eric as taste testers. You both love your meat!

  3. Stephanie Queen
    May 26, 2011 at 7:15 am

    A lab hot dog? Well, when you think about it, it has to be better for you than the real thing. Right?

  4. lbwoodgate
    May 25, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Now you know that hamburger you eat didn’t come from those happy California dairy cows in your picture. Cows aren’t slaughtered anyway. They donate their bodies to meat packers after living a carefree life on the open ranges. 🙂

    • May 26, 2011 at 7:55 am

      Really? That is the true life of a cow? I feel so much better now.:)

  5. May 25, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I think the only reason that cows haven’t gone extinct is because they are delicious.

    • May 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Well, they are cute too! Aren’t they in a homely sort of way. I think so. I would keep them around for looks only.

  6. May 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I guess if they can make test tube babies, then test tube burgers is certainly “conceivable”.

    • May 25, 2011 at 1:51 pm

      HA HA Matty, great play on that word! Yes, I do see the advantages of lab meat, but I have to admit that it creeps me out a bit.

  7. Mayor Lund
    May 25, 2011 at 7:31 am

    I wonder if this invention will help me with my problem? I’ve been spending 1,000’s of dollars on products every year to try and make my meat larger and I’ve yet to find a product that actually works. This might be just the ticket for me!

    • May 25, 2011 at 8:30 am

      Um, I heard it requires electrical shocks. Is this something you really want to undertake? I would think twice Mayor!

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