Researcher Jamie Hollywood and Adam Smith Institute President Dr Madsen Pirie discuss the potential for lab grown meat to save lives and the environment.
- Demand for meat has grown along with incomes. During the 1960s meat consumption in East Asia stood at just 8.7kg per person, thirty year later that figure was 37.7kg – an increase of over 330%. This increased demand has meant huge swathes of land given over to meat production. While 19 people can be fed from just a single hectare of rice, only one can person can be fed per hectare dedicated to cattle.
- Lab grown (or cultured) meat could mean a cut in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions of 78-96% while using 99% less land.
- While growing meat in a lab has been difficult to master, and costly to engineer, the price has been falling. Just five years ago the cost of a burger made with meat grown in a lab stood at $250,000, but now the price tag has dropped to just £8.
- Cultured meat has the potential to solve the looming antibiotic resistance crisis. With farming using up to 70% of antibiotics critical to medical use in humans, cases of resistance are on the rise, driven by intensive farming practices.
- Cultured meat will also reduce cases of food poisoning as, unlike on farms, growth takes place under controlled conditions.