In 2013, Dutch scientists announced that they had produced a lab-grown hamburger. Scientists generated the muscle cells comprising the burger—no animals were killed as part of the process. Many are hopeful that this “cultured meat” is the solution to many societal problems. Earlier this year, author Paul Shapiro and director of The Humane Society released a book called Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals will Revolutionize Dinner and The World. The book provides a history of the development of meat produced in labs and discusses the moral benefits of a future that includes meat produced in this way.
As the human population increases exponentially, a new pressure has fallen on traditional sources of food. Growing demand in the United States and the rest of the world has brought the issue of meat production into new prominence–especially as antibiotic use among livestock and poultry reaches an all time high. While antibiotics keep herds healthy–and thereby fiscally beneficial–they come with risk: the possibility of antibiotic resistance.