Is Lab Grown Meat Vegan?

Is Lab Grown Meat Vegan?

Veganism is all about reducing the harm we
cause to sentient beings to the best of our ability. This is why we don’t eat animal products.
It’s impossible to take the body part or secretion of a living being without
exploitation and pain. Or is it? If meat and other animal products could
be made without harming animals, would there finally be such a thing as vegan meat? Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan
and welcome to another vegan nugget. When it comes to lab grown meat,
there are vegans on both sides of the debate. With the potential for massive reductions in the environmental impact of animal agriculture and an end to the suffering and death
of trillions of animals every year, why wouldn’t every vegan be championing
the cause for test tube meat? Well like most topics I set out to cover,
cultured meat production is far more complicated than it may first appear. We’re going to
cover some of the pros and cons of cellular agriculture and why it’s a hot button within
the vegan community. As always, I’ll be barely scratching the
surface and will provide links to citations, further resources, and a full bibliography
on the blog post for this video linked in the description. The concept of growing and maintaining muscle
outside of the body is not new. Starting in 1912, biologist Alexis Carrel kept cells from
an embryonic chicken heart beating in a nutrient bath in his laboratory for more than 20 years.
In 1931, Winston Churchill wrote in a predictive essay optimistically entitled Fifty Years
Hence that, “We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat
the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Over the decades from NASA-backed fish fillets
made of goldfish cells to the 2013 taste test of the first ever lab-grown burger, the cultured
meat, well, culture, continues to grow. [See a brief but thorough timeline in the
‘In-Vitro Meat” section of this essay] The advantages of this method of meat creation
are obvious. Despite the efforts, hopes and dreams of vegans and activists alike, the
global demand for meat is on the rise with India and China leading the charge. With animal agriculture contributing as much
as 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions, using a third of the earth’s fresh water,
up to 45 percent of the Earth’s land, causing 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction
and serving as a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat
destruction, the environmental implications alone could be staggering. A 2011 study concluded that, “cultured meat
involves approximately 7–45% lower energy use… 78–96% lower GHG emissions, 99%
lower land use, and 82–96% lower water use depending on the product compared.” While
these numbers sound promising, the study was largely criticized for basing its numbers
on a not-yet-proven method of cultured meat growth. While still theoretical, a 2014 study accounting for other potential production methods found
that energy use for cultured meat actually exceeded current levels for beef production,
but had significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and land usage and was only higher
than poultry in water usage. The reality is that the actual environmental
impact of cultured meat remains unknown because it’s still in such an experimental phase.
The ground meat grown for 2013’s seminal burger was a relatively simple creation of
pure protein. It lacked any of the fat and blood that give meat its flavor or the firmness
of once-active muscle tissue. In order to create meat products of more substance, the
muscle, which is what meat is after all, has to be exercised and provided with artificial
blood flow, oxygen, digestion and nutrition. Some scientists speculate that this increased
energy demand may negate any reduction in land usage and agricultural input. Basically, when it comes to the environmental
benefits, it’s still too early to know. So what about the other main benefit:
an end to the suffering and death of trillions of beings every year? Here is where cultured meat has the potential
to shine. Maybe. Eventually. There are several significant hurdles to overcome before
lab-grown meat can be called anything near “cruelty and animal-free.” The major issues on the
ethics end are establishing self-renewing stem cells and finding plant-based materials
for the growth medium and scaffolding. To understand what that means, I’ll give
a very simplified version of in-vitro meat production. Initially, cells are taken via
biopsy from a living animal and deposited into a growth medium where they proliferate
and grow. Eventually, in order to produce meat products with more structure
than the ground patty, they will need a form of scaffolding
to hold their shape. The first ethical issues arise when considering
the long-term viability of the initial harvested cells. Professor Mark Post, the man behind
the famous taste-tested burger, has said that, “the most efficient way of taking the process
forward would still involve slaughter,” with a “limited herd of donor animals”
kept for stock. Others in the movement envision the establishment of a self-renewing stem
cell line, meaning only an initial biopsy would be required at which point the cell
line would replicate indefinitely. Yet another concern is that, given humanity’s
love of the new, different and exotic, we may start breeding specialty animals for cell
harvesting, which would still require the confinement and reproductive
control of sentient beings. As a side-note, Post’s famous burger was
made with egg powder to enhance the taste, introducing another level of animal suffering.
This is by no means, however, a necessary practice. The second major ethical issue and one that
isn’t widely addressed in most of the news reports on cultured meat, is the growth medium
into which the cells are deposited. At the moment, the most widely used medium is bovine
fetal serum. Fetal serum from an array of animals is commonly employed in a wide range
of experiments, including those for tampons, which I covered in my
“Are Tampons Vegan?” video. The harvesting of bovine fetal serum is far
from transparent. One study reached out to 388 harvesting entities with only 4% responding
with any kind of methodology data. Five sources explicitly declared
their harvesting methods to be confidential. Of those that did respond, the typical procedure
for fetal serum harvesting was “by cardiac puncture” meaning a needle directly into
the beating heart of the fetal cow. They specify that, “Fetuses should be at least 3 months
old; otherwise the heart is too small for puncture.” The general process is as follows: “At the time of slaughter, the cow is found
to be pregnant during evisceration (removal of the internal organs in the thorax and abdomen
during processing of the slaughtered cow) … The calf is removed quickly from the uterus
[and] a cardiac puncture is performed by inserting a needle between the ribs directly into the
heart of the unanaesthesised fetus and blood is extracted.” This bleeding process can
take up to 35 minutes to complete while the calf remains alive. Afterwards, “the fetus
is processed for animal feed and extraction of specific substances like fats and proteins,
among other things.” The study continued with a detailed debate
as to whether the fetal cows can feel this procedure and their possible slow death from
anoxia, meaning lack of oxygen, from placental separation, and estimated that between 1 and
2 million fetuses are harvested annually for serum. All in all, fetal serum from any animal is
not, by any stretch of the imagination, cruelty-free. The good news is that the champions of the
cultured meat movement seem to be invested in finding plant-based medium alternatives with both algae and mushrooms providing promising options. Fetal serum’s drawbacks don’t
stop at the ethical line. There are scientific concerns as batches vary considerably in their
composition. It also poses the threat of pathogen introduction, is not environmentally friendly
and is cost-prohibitive. Dr. Neil Stephens of Cardiff University states that: “Everyone
in the field acknowledges this as a problem … It currently undermines a lot of the arguments
that people put forward in support of in vitro meat.” This leads into two of the additional pros
of cultured meat, both revolving around human health. Though I personally believe that health
is the last worry when it comes to producing a possible alternative to mass animal slaughter,
it’s worth noting that the composition of cultured meat can be altered to provide superior
nutritional benefits. The level of fat and type of fat can be selectively controlled.
The threat of food contamination and spread of pathogens would also be greatly reduced,
as cultured meat would not involve all the biohazards of traditional slaughter.
So if scientists are able to create a self-replicating cell line, thus eliminating the enslavement
and potential slaughter of animals, and find a suitable plant-based growth-medium and scaffolding,
thus eliminating the cruelty of fetal serum and other animal byproducts, what objections
remain against going after this concept in full force? Two of the largest are cost and what’s best
described as “the ick factor.” Surveys involving every range of dietary practice
seem to indicate that the majority of people are put off by the concept of lab-grown meat.
Interestingly enough, those people with the highest rates of meat consumption appear to
be the most sensitive to disgust. Of course cultured meat proponents emphasize
that “lab-grown” is a bit of a misnomer. While in the testing stages, the meat is grown
in laboratories. However, were it to go to commercial production, it would be made in
factories just like all of our packaged food items, and some could argue, would be more
natural than other chemical concoctions the public readily consumes. [see blog for an illustration
of potential production methods]. Also, given what all we inject into our food
animals from hormones to antibiotics, to our outright manipulation of their genes, one
could ask just how natural “standard” animal products really are. While cultured meat doesn’t require the
use of GMO’s, it’s possible that genetically modifying cells may allow them to reproduce
faster and thus prove more economical. Speaking of cost, Mark Post’s initial burger
in 2013 cost approximately £250,000 (over $350,000) to produce. However, by 2015, Post
stated that the cost is now down to £8.00. As with any new technology, the initial cost
investments will be steep, but Post and others in the movement see cultured meat eventually
attaining a competitive price to traditional products, though most likely not for at least
another decade. The vegan community is most dramatically torn
on either side of this issue. Some feel that any product derived from an animal remains
a form of exploitation. Others believe that with the insurmountable fight against the
ongoing animal holocaust and more non-vegans being born every day, we need to search for
practical and viable solutions to replace humanity’s rising demand for meat. The vegans on the pro-cultured meat side I’ve
come across through my research say their motivation is putting the animals’ interests
above all else. They believe it’s unrealistic to expect humanity on a global scale to cease
or even reduce their consumption of animals. Thus, providing an alternative that not only
looks and tastes like but actually is meat could be, with the proper harvesting method
and growth medium, the most immediate path to animal liberation currently available.
With the concurrent rise of research into milk and egg-producing yeast and cell-culture-grown
leather and other animal byproducts, could it be that the laboratory and not the picket
line will be the ultimate genesis of a vegan world? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this hot
debate in the comments below. If you’d like to help support Bite Size Vegan so I can keep
putting in these long hours to bring you this educational resource, please check out the
support links in the video description below where you can give a one-time donation or
receive perks and rewards by joining the Nugget Army on Patreon. I’d like to give a special
thanks my $50 and above patrons and my whole Patreon family for making this and all of
my videos possible. If you enjoyed this video, please give it
a thumbs-up and share it around to spark debate. If you’re new, I’d love to have you as
a subscriber. I put out fresh vegan content every Monday, Wednesday, and some Fridays. Now go live vegan, put the animals first,
and I’ll see you soon. I know I didn’t have much time, I like tacked it on
at the end there, but there are people who have made yeast that produces the milk of a cow. And yeast that produces egg whites without a chicken. That’s molecularly identical.>From yeast. You’ve got the milk yeast…and the egg yeast. Maybe we can make a meat yeast? Probably not. Subtitles by the community

100 thoughts on “Is Lab Grown Meat Vegan?”

  1. super meat isn't vegan. biospys without pain killer hurt. it's theft. impossible burger and beyond burger are better. cultured meat reportedly doesn't taste the same.

  2. As a side benefit of in vitro meat cows, pigs, and chicken can go extinct since people won't be growing them and bleeding heart vegans won't have anything to cry about. BTW, I choose vegan food selfishly because I'm in it for my health. I don't care about the sad eyes. Does that make me a bad vegan?

  3. And just to inform you where this fake meat is going to – all the abortions many of you even advocate are not discarded , but all their tissues and body parts are used, a lot of them are used for stem cells , so when you wonder where do they get these from , just have a clue how wicked this FUCKING WORLD IS.
    TO ALL OF YOU, who say that there is no objective right and wrong ( hence GOD ), then you are in no freaking position in criticizing anybody for anything, you do need God to say that animal's life has value – relativistic evolution will give you only justification for killing and exploiting those , " who deserve to be , because they are weak.

  4. You can't make everyone vegan. Lab grown meat is a much better alternative. Good for the animals AND the environment

  5. This is one of the most balanced, informative videos I've watched on this subject, even if it is a little old.

    Major concers I haven't seen covered thus far are:

    1. The technology for synthetic meat will be patented and exploited by the rich elite.
    2. Developing countries will not be able to afford / acquire the tech.
    3. Religious groups may abstain. Technically this is halal but the views of western muslims is much less conservative than those of the east.

  6. Going VEGAN doesn't stop people from killing mass quantities of animals every year so what's the point? no hate just a question

  7. Vegans, stop talking and start building vertical aeroponic farms to provide the world with the required vegetables.

  8. Even if it were 100% cruelty-free and didn´t harm the planet, meat is still unhealthy. Why would we want to it in a lab if it makes us sick?

  9. I think that the clean (lab-grown) meat companies, as well as plant-based meat companies, are primarily targeting omnivores. Omnivores, because of their relatively large population size (and possibly without their even knowing or caring), will do the heavy lifting in solving the animal welfare, environmental, and food borne disease problems associated with conventional meat production. But first, the companies will have to refine their processes and products. Hybrid companies that employ both clean-meat and plant-based methods, may also play a part. The main thing is to provide a product that is compelling to meat-eaters, but is also healthy, animal-friendly, and environmentally-friendly.

  10. So do new harvest not use animals now that they've extracted initial cells or are they not at that stage yet? I'd like to donate to lab-grown meat but I want to know I'm not supporting animal usage. If they happen to have already used animals but no longer will then I've no problem with that. Past-oriented ethics is a fallacy.

  11. Until all meat is replaced with Lab meat I wouldn't trust a "lab meat sticker"
    But I'd probably not eat it.
    My stomach might not be able to handle meat after not having it for years.

  12. No lol, it's literally meat that grew out of muscle cells. Vegans don't eat eggs, milk or anything else that comes from animals.

  13. if you're vegan or something like that well. That product is focus on people who eat meat NOT VEGANS!!. It will stop industrial farms and slaughterhouses which are by far hell on earth, so if you are vegan and don't support a few biopsies(PLEASE SEARCH FOR IT BEFORE SPEAKING ABOUT IT) instead of billions of deaths then you're worse than people who eat meat and hunt( in the case of chickens or ducks they will use a SINGLE feather) PLEASE SEARCH for serious information. just watch (you gotta be fucking dumb to be vegan and not support this opportunity to close slaughterhouses standing in front a farm animal and telling him "sorry It will take 400 years at least to stop your slavement and torture instead of a couple biopsies or even just one since the cells multiply infinitively. if the cow could, he would spit on my face asking me if we are stupids) am I the only one who see this as selfish?

  14. So, am I not vegan when my main reason is environmental reasons and not "not causing harm to animals"? Like, it's a nice bonus to not harm living beings and a part of good environment to have heterogeneous fauna… but I always feel a little bit marginalized at vegan communities for having the environment as my main motive :'D

    Ps. I made this comment based entirely on her first sentence of "definition of vegan".

  15. If humanity goes vegan the cultured meat would be an excellent alternative for captive carnivores. Pet owners and sanctuary workers can feed their animals what they need without killing other animals.

  16. Humans are not the only consumers of meat. There are our fellow cats, dogs, snakes, bears, and other protected carnivores.

  17. If it stops people killing sentient creatures great bring it on. Is it Vegan? I'm really not sure? Would I eat it? Well I went veggie aged 13 and vegan at 26 and hated meat as a child. If I hated meat as a meat eater so I can't think I would want to eat anything which tastes like it ever again. But for the carnivores? Yes lets go for it.

  18. 90%! I thought it was 15%>
    People should be eating no meat or at least eat less meat.

  19. I think this is good. I mean there have been people who try the vegan diet, did it right and felt worse. Should they suffer too? No, but neither should the animals. I read that hunting is better then getting your meat from the farm. Yes I know that "hunting is still murder".

  20. There are issues, a lot of them. Is it vegan? I don't think that matters. As we progress, and the process gets better, which you mentioned is a major concern of the researchers, I can't see it as a bad thing.

  21. Vegan is not about that. If you watch other videos, it's mostly about don't liking meat, being sick eating meat and those vegans who are not in that category admit they would eat a lab-grown meat. Because if harm is removed, what's there left? Only dislike/being sick of meat. Also it's not vegan world when you eat lab-meat in the future. It's meat lover world.

  22. I think there are more problems with the cultured meat than appears on the surface. Even if meat eaters magically all buy only the lab grown meat(an idea probably as unlikely as them all going vegan), this will make life even harder for the vegans than it is now. Then people will be asking vegans why they don't eat the cultured meat because no animals are harmed. The educated vegans will know that Fetal Blood Serum is used in lots of commercial lab grown meat and will have the additional burden of explaining this to the carnivores. Unfortunately lab grown meat just makes meat eaters feel better about doing something wrong. This reduces the chance of them going vegan or even vegetarian because they'll see nothing wrong with it.

  23. Of course if they can use something 100% plant based in place of the serum from blood, then yes technically maybe it would be vegan. But how is the customer supposed to know which brand of meat was grown using which method? Furthermore how can someone even know whether the meat is cultured or came from traditional factory farming? We could be lied to and not know it.

  24. good idea… lab grown meat.. but NOT SO GOOD AGAIN!! as it seems in the long term.. if practiced and becomes successful there will be no cattles after 50 yrs… why will be required anyway.. cattles will be like rare bisons or lost Aurochs.. after all this idea directs only humans to live and rule earth..not to mention food quality abuse that can go wrong with everything humans tried.. right from packet food to pest filled vegetables… yah large scale vegetables.. cancerous food..
    better idea eat less meat and do humane animal slaughter.. animals will remain with us.. their pain to be lessened..

  25. I am not a vegan nor vegetarian. In fact, I consume meat on a daily basis. But if there is a way to produce meat that does not harm animals, I will support it 100%. I love animals, unfortunately, I also love eating them. If there is a way for me to have both, then it will be a joyous occasion indeed.

  26. So why support lab grown meat when they are already lots of vegan alternatives? EASY!! Because some people are TOO picky and don't find these alternatives at all delicious and not the same! Also everyone looks happy to have their cheese, burgers, ice cream, bacon, fried chicken and everything else and CANNOT imagine a world without them. Yet it's causing pain, suffering and environmental problems but what the world needs is compromise. How could we enjoy foods we love and grew up with and save the environment and the suffering animals at the same time? Lab grown meat is that step toward it all. It might look gross and expensive at first but once it's out and successful maybe our minds will change and it will become less expensive. Vegans DON"T HAVE to support it cause this is for picky eaters who find veganism food disgusting.

  27. Would cows and chickens and pigs go extinct without us growing them for food? These animals haven't been wild for thousands of years. Where would they live?

    Also veganism also changes the body's ability to digest meat. Is that part of being vegan?

  28. id eat it or try it. if it taste great then yea id switch 100% to none killing meat. One thing to think about though, if we did switch to lab grown meats and such. what would happen to all the farm animals? im guessing some farms would still exsist but the amount would be drastically lowerd which is a win really but still we can just let thousands of aniamls loose without damaging echo systems so some plans would need to be made as to what to do with the last of the meat animals before this was implemented.

  29. Given that pesticides are used in most plant agriculture, how is plant-derived food 'cruelty-free'? Not trolling.

  30. This covered a lot of stuff I didn't see in articles on the topic. Wonderful video. wonder if this is worth revisiting now that it looks like it's about to hit supermarkets in the next couple years?

  31. I feel like all the comments saying, “Just eat plants!” are pretty narrow-minded. People always underestimate the personal impact food can leave on someone. Food, including meat, is not just a source of nutrition, it is an integral part of heritage and culture for billions of people. For instance, Japanese dashi is traditionally made from bonito flakes, which gives a vey unique Unami flavor that cannot be replicated. Without dashi, so many Japanese dishes simply wouldn’t taste like the originals at all. I’m not saying that it’s right to value culture over anima lives, but people need to be more empathetic to these people because it can be really hard to let go of such a big part of one’s life. Lab-grown meat is a solution that allows people to hold onto their traditions while saving the lives of animals.

  32. I fully support the cultured meat movement. The long-term viability of "ranched" meat production is very much in doubt and alternatives are a must.

  33. Eew, I bet it comes from animal biopsies. Agriculture is so heartless I can easily imagine them doing live biopsies over and over – its gonna be just as cruel as standard processing of animals.

  34. It's good for animals, but not so good for humans to consume. This is why I consider myself whole foods plant based, not necessarily vegan. Vegans will also eat processed junk food, which I won't.

  35. Since veganism is refraining from consuming anything from an animal origin, lab-grown meat is definitely out of the question since it comes from cells of the animal.
    That's why lab-grown chicken taste like chicken, because it came from the cells of a chicken. There's your answer folks Meat is meat. Animal products are animal products regardless if they are made merely from the cells of the animal. or the actual animal themselves
    Another serious question is what all are they adding to the so-called lab-grown meat that we don't know about that could possibly be hazardous to our health, now and or in the future. Is anyone addressing this question? I don't think so

  36. Great 👍🏻 fantastic fabulous 💡 save animal 🦓 our plants 🌱 environment No more blood.clean meat s 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👏👏👏👏👏💕❤️💕

  37. I didn't know that this existed, but I still had the idea so I was planning out in my head how i was going to make it happen when i grow up. now my future is ruined… but it's ok though because i only came up with it yesterday.

  38. The question is do we really want anymore frankenfoods introduced into our diets?
    The idea of having my food grown in a lab and that kind of setting scares the peachybbies out of me. let's get back to where we belong, and bracing nature working with her. She will provide for us if we treat her with the love and respect that she deserves but the more we continue to kill her the sooner she's going to kill us all off and purge herself of an infestation called humans

  39. I don't consider it vegan because you don't sign a contract with the animal to get its cell. Same reason that honey is not vegan to me. I didn't sign a contract with the bee.

    Yet I do think it is vegeterian, because no animal died in the process.

  40. I think lab grown meat is brilliant. The perfect solution for those who will never give up meat. When it's sold in stores, it will change the world.

  41. I'm a nutrition major doing a debate about lab-grown meat. I was assigned to be against it and this video helps SO much. I love all the evidence you've provided. Thank you for your effort and spreading of awareness.

  42. Lab Grown Meat will be an answe for people to continue to eat meat, no matter how hard you try to push VEGAN FASCISM, people have right to choice what to eat, no matter how hard you try people will be their own thing

  43. One question i didnt see you answeared is this: What happens to the animal protein in the syntethic meat? Is it still unhealthy? Or it is modified at a certain point that wont produce diseases?

  44. The word vegan is basically meaninglesss these days. If vegans don't eat animal products, why would a vegan eat lab grown meat that is made from animal cells? No real vegan eats animal prosucts. At the same time I believe all non-meat eaters would support lab grown meat if they care about animals or the environment.

  45. I looked it up.
    Meat from yeast is possible and is part of what they do for this

  46. I actually foresee a future where "meat" will be a term that refers to either plant based meat or lab meat.
    Side note: I find egg yeast more icky than lab meat but thats just me.

  47. Im a plant lover/Buddhist and my dream is one day you all will stop hurting plants and trees, they feel, bleed and die too)
    And hope we all will eat only pink paste. Ty

  48. ew that serum extraction stuff is terrible, so is this the only way to grow meat?? Why can't the liquid be extracted right after it's dead ?

  49. You actually make a great argument and i am strongly against gmos.gmos today are not great in plants there are several weeds that have become resistant to the herbacide and seveal bugs that are recistant to the pestacide. Simeralar stuff could happen with gmo meat you have no idea what it will do to humans which matter to.

  50. Cultures meat is awesome news for the environment and the future of humanity. We can grow the chicken breast and not the chicken 🍗

  51. Ppl opposed to this are delusional.
    Lab-Grown meat is the first step towards making humans vegans.
    The difference in suffering between farm and lab made is undeniable.

  52. Why cant meat-lovers make patties with plant ingredients? If need be, use products which emulate the taste and texture of meat.

  53. Lab meat is not designed for vegan… The very first purpose of lab meat is to reduce the natural resource which used for meat farming. With the lab meat we can use less natural resource and save the planet. Vegans only consider the animals’ feeling and right not the sustainabiliy of the earth.

  54. It looks like lab grown meat is purely beneficial… For everything but initial cost investment.

    May not be perfect, but it doesn't need to be. Just need to be better than what already exist.

  55. You just care about animals…. Our ancestors eat meat for survival… It's our human nature….. You can't change that…

  56. Why you look so exhausted, you are the one very important person for Vegan movement. please take care your health and create powerful look.

  57. How about seeing it the other way around "Id so like to have a needle pierced through my ribs into my beating heart to… by a an animal for their plasure" sarcasm 💯

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