INDIA ROSE KLAP
Will I serve meat tonight or not. It is a question that often haunts me. The way people look at meat is rapidly changing in the world around me. More and more people are becoming vegetarian, flexitarian or vegan. I and I fear many people choose an easier solution; the ostrich approach. With my head in the sand I ignore everything that I would rather not know. But the problems that are stuck to our sausages and meatballs are becoming increasingly apparent. Little sand is left to put my head in. Certainly the poor living conditions of the animals in the bio-industry is something I can hardly ignore, I feel guilty that I eat meat that comes from here and yet I still do it. Incidentally, I am not the only one in Marijn Frank, known from the Dutch television prgoram; Keuringsdienst van Waarde, made the documentary: Need for meat (2015) about it. In the documentary, she looks for where her desire for meat comes from, but also how she can get rid of it or lead it in better directions. She speaks with slow food chefs, psychologists, food historians, a cook who prepares meat of special varieties to protect them from extinction and a cultured meat developer. Cultured meat is therefore one of the solutions that emerges in the documentary. Cultured meat can offer a solution for animal suffering, ground shortage and greenhouse gas emissions. In vitro meat may cause me to explain to my grandchildren in 40 years' time why we were so bad with animals when we were their age. But what exactly is cultured meat?
Cultured meat is meat made from animal cells grown in a laboratory. Whether it is feasible on a large scale is the question. For the time being, cultured meat may not be consumed on a commercial scale. In addition, cultured meat is not yet completely free of animal suffering since the cells are grown in fetal calf serum. This is one of the aspects of cultured meat that needs further development so that it can offer a completely animal-free and sustainable alternative to the current meat industry.
The virtual cultured meat restaurant Bistro in Vitro was set up by Next Nature Network in collaboration with a number of artists and scientists, including Mark Post (University of Maastricht). The fictional restaurant has prepared a menu of cultured meat dishes that may one day end up on our plates. The cultured meat burger is also on the menu, a not so fictional invention of Post1. In addition to the cultured meat burger, we also find lab sweetbreads, meat oysters and dodo gadgets.
“By exploring and pushing the boundaries of our food culture, we want to ignore the idea of cultured meat as an inferior meat replacement. That is why we serve you a digital selection of sustainable, animal-friendly, exciting and tasty dishes that invite you to think about and discuss cultured meat. ”- Bistro In Vitro
Personally, I hope to be able to reserve a table in a restaurant like this in ten years. But I also hear the contradictions; it would be a solution for people without a moral backbone and it would alienate us even more from nature. I believe that improving the living conditions of the animals and reducing the ecological footprint are pretty good ideals to fight for, I would rather not see myself as someone without a moral backbone, but I do understand the criticism.
1. In 2013 Mark Post unveiled the first hamburger made from cultured meat. A prototype built from 20,000 muscle fiber threads. It cost € 250,000. As the technology continues to develop, the culture meat burgers will eventually become so cheap that they become the standard in the snack bar. Post hopes for a transformation in the meat industry, where cultured meat replaces the entire herd. He hopes to make meat that is cheaper, healthier and more sustainable than the original.