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Biotech The Almighty Buck

PETA Offers X-Prize for Artificial Meat 1130

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the surprisingly-practical dept.
Bored MPA writes "The Times reports that PETA is to announce plans on Monday for a $1 million prize to the "first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012." PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk addressed the controversial decision by saying, "We don't mind taking uncomfortable positions if it means that fewer animals suffer." An unexpected and pragmatic move from an organization that has a strong base of support from pro-organic vegans." The question I always had about this- if they can take one sample from one animal and clone it in a vat and feed this world, will the vegans be ok with that?
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PETA Offers X-Prize for Artificial Meat

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  • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday April 21, 2008 @09:24AM (#23141710)

    If it for health reasons

    Health reasons? There's plenty of meat that's quite healthy for you. Most fish is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Chicken is pretty OK. Buffalo tastes very similar to beef, but has lower saturated fat. Vegans are vegans for political reasons. These are people that don't eat gummi bears because it contains ground up bones, and don't wear anything that has leather in it. I've heard of extreme wack-jobs that won't eat honey because we've enslaved the bees. It ain't just about food.
  • Re:What about human? (Score:5, Informative)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @09:31AM (#23141876) Journal
    There are actually some really good medical reasons for not being a cannibal...Basically you're probably not going to catch anything from the cow, because it's a cow, but a human? Make sure yours is extra well-done.
  • by FrozenFOXX (1048276) on Monday April 21, 2008 @09:58AM (#23142488)
    Spot on. As a vegan I know I most certainly would consider that reasonable. Thing is, I honestly don't care about steak anymore so it's kind of a moot point.

    Sounds nifty and all but really once you go vegan it's not like you've got a jonesing for steak after awhile...you've got so many other interesting things to try.

    But hey, sounds like it would make a lot of people happy with no harm done.
  • My Vegan Girlfriend (Score:2, Informative)

    by artjunk (1088603) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:07AM (#23142702)
    My girlfriend of 3 years is vegan. I don't eat pork or beef... I never really did - but I eat occassional chicken, fish, dairy and egg products (I can't stay away from real chocolate chip cookies!) From what I've gathered from our discussions she chooses vegan diet for a variety of reasons. Some more belief based and others are more evidence based. And that is an important point to this conversation - as with everything in life - the reasons are many - not just singular. I think it mostly relates to animal kindness, environmental effects of raising animals for mass consumption (I can't really explain this one because I don't really know details) and health reasons. Ironically, we will tend to eat scientifically engineered products (boca burgers, THOUSANDS of soy products and various other products) So, I sometimes wonder about the health reasons. But recently we've tended towards more veggies, pastas and grains. As for replacement meat, I've found that Seitan http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/Seitan.htm [about.com] is one of the closest to the texture of meat (compared to Tofu) My concerns with this soy based diet are related to the concern of soy being a plant estrogen and it's concern specifically - to men's health... http://www.rheumatic.org/soy.htm [rheumatic.org] To answer (for her and other vegan's I know) the topic's question - I say: They would probably NOT eat it.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:12AM (#23142786) Homepage Journal
    Also no fat, gristle, tendons, blood vessels or bones to worry about.


    That will be one bland, inedible hunk of meat. Fat is where the flavor and tenderness comes from. Why do you think T-bones, delmnicos and strip steaks taste so good? They have ribbons of fat in them. Same goes for pot roasts. Loads of fat, loads of flavor. This is the same reason most pork nowadays is so bland. We've bred out most of the fat in pigs (except for the bacon portion).

    Flavor also comes from the bones. Marrow provides the flavor and is used when making stock.

    If we're going to manufacture meat from non-animals, I want my fat and bones. It goes along with my high fat, high sugar, high cholesterol way of eating. I want flavor! If I wanted blandness, I'd eat tofu.

    If nothing else, PETA is getting better looking representatives [mainichi.jp] when at events.

  • by Swave An deBwoner (907414) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:14AM (#23142832)
    Will mess up your browsing - on purpose of course. Very cleverly hidden within what looks like a Yahoo URL but redirects to "slashblog.notlong.com" which then redirects to on.nimp.org. Strongly suggest you don't click on the link unless you're running a sandbox and want to examine it from there.
  • The Space Merchants (Score:3, Informative)

    by rpjs (126615) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:23AM (#23143092)
    By Pohl and Kornbluth if memory serves (can't be asked to look it up). Corporations control everything, including the government. Invasive advertising everywhere. That's 2/3. If Peta succeeds it'll be a full house!
  • by xaxa (988988) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:29AM (#23143254)

    Tofu is made from soy beans and so will not have the 8 essential amino acids that humans can't make themselves. And so it is not a viable replacement for meat.
    Actually, Soybeans are one of the few sources of all the essential amino acids [wikipedia.org].

    It's a non-issue anyway, since meals with a couple of vegetables often cover all the essential amino acids anyway (beans on toast is one often-cited example).
  • by aplusjimages (939458) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:36AM (#23143448) Journal
    This isn't a simple biological fact. I haven't eaten meat for over 6 years. What's supposed to happen to me if I don't eat meat? I don't take supplements either.
  • by HeroreV (869368) on Monday April 21, 2008 @10:39AM (#23143514) Homepage
    In vitro meat is not fake meat, just like cultured pearls are not fake pearls. In vitro meat is produced through the same cellular process, with the same animal DNA. Anybody who did 2 minutes of research would know that in vitro meat (aka cultured meat) is never called fake meat.
  • by hvm2hvm (1208954) on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:24AM (#23144510) Homepage
    yeah, but you would have to eat a lot more for the same amount of energy and nutrients. that's why we need to eat meat, because our way of life demands large quantities of energy that we can't get out of plants. herbivores spend most of their time eating: that is how much they need to eat.
    sure, there are vegan methods that should be able to sustain you but most vegetarians i know are less energetic and full of life than meat-eaters.
  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @11:35AM (#23144778) Homepage
    To begin with if one also supplements the diet isn't that a meat replacement?

    The human body can convert ALA to DHA and EPA, how effecient it is at that varies, I've seen numbers ranging from 0.2 to 15.2%. It seems to be better at converting it to EPA because at some place I saw values of 5% mentioned for EPA and 0.5% for DHA.

    The human body can also convert between EPA to DHA and DHA to EPA, but the former are much easier to do. Whereby EPA are seen as more important nowadays.

    Together that makes me belive that maybe the body just needed those 0.5% of DHA so that may be the reason because only that amount was made/converted.

    The amounts of EPA and DHA which are needed are quite low, the numbers I've seen spoke about 650 mg and atleast 200 mg of each. But then it's also suggested to keep the omega6 to omega3 ratio at something like 2-5:1, and most people consume way more omega6 than omega3.

    So anyway, what you say about DHA are simply completely wrong. It's true that most vegetarian fats don't contain any DHA or EPA, but since your body can convert ALA to them it's not a huge issue if you consume enough ALA.

    Also (some?) microalgea produce both fat acids, and it's that way the fishes themself gets them.

    http://www.water4.net/ [water4.net] sells vegan omega3 capsules made from algea, which are also free of the toxins and heavy metals found in fat fish since they don't grow it in the sea and it haven't been concentrated by the food chain.

    You can visit http://www.nutritiondata.com/ [nutritiondata.com] and look up the fat acid content among other things in various food types, for instant candula, flax, chlorella and spirulina.

    B12-vitamine are the real issue, and are produced by bacteria. It's easily available and cheap so not a big deal.

    Also over here in Scandinavia and at similair distance from the equator it may be a good deal to supplement d-vitamine because sunlight of the right wavelengths don't hit us that much during the winters. That's not vegan specific thought and here in Sweden d-vitamine are supplemented by law in milk, butter and margarine AFAIK, all of them contains supplements of it. But since you don't eat those as a vegan you better make sure to supplement that on your own aswell.
  • by DreadPiratePizz (803402) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:06PM (#23145548)
    In their raw form yes. However when processed and integrated into food, all of those amino acids and proteins are broken down, leaving it useless. Soy also prevents the body from being able to properly absorb zinc, which is why some scientists think that autism is on the rise (lots of parents use soy milk to feed their children, and zinc is a key element in brian development). I can provide references for this that are NOT wikipedia, and are peer reviewed. Howell, E, MD - - - Enzyme Nutrition Avery 1985 Twogood, D - - No Milk - - Wilhelmina Press 1992 Price, W DDS - - - Nutrition and Physical Degeneration Keats 1999 Leviton, R - - - Tofu, Tempeh, Miso, and Other Soyfoods p.12 Keats Publishing, 1982
  • by Rei (128717) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:12PM (#23145668) Homepage
    I know a lot of fat vegans. I don't know how they do it

    Silly person, picturing that vegans and vegetarians must just eat a lot of greens or whatnot :) If you don't get enough calories, you don't feel sated, so you eat whatever makes you feel full. Which means enough calories. Which means things that have calories -- carbs, proteins** and fats. That's not just hummus and pitas -- it's pasta, lentils, stir fry, rice, beans, couscous, breads, potatoes, cereals, and on and on and on. I had a bowl of trail nut crunch cereal for breakfast this morning. Last night, I had a red bean jambalaya with bread for dinner. For lunch, I think I had some sort of pasta dish. I eat things like potatoes wedges with carrots and onions covered in olive oil, paprika, garlic, salt and pepper, all roasted until they crisp on the outside; spanish rice burritoes, with black beans, olives, chili powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and whatever else I feel like throwing in; and on, and on, and on. I could recite recipies all day. I'm a vegetarian, not a vegan, but just my list of vegan dishes is quite extensive. And never, after eating them, will you still feel hungry or not have gotten enough calories.

    ** It's a big surprise to a lot of people that the most protein-rich foods are vegetarian, as most people associate "protein" with "meat". Look up the protein stats on, for example, tempeh or gluten. I could give you a big long list of a couple dozen common vegan foods that contain more protein per unit mass than the most protein-rich meats.
  • by Rei (128717) on Monday April 21, 2008 @12:20PM (#23145836) Homepage
    Awh, man, I'm so sorry to have to be the one to break this news to you, but mortality rate [wikipedia.org] is "a measure of the number of deaths (in general, or due to a specific cause) in some population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit time. Mortality rate is typically expressed in units of deaths per 1000 individuals per year; thus, a mortality rate of 9.5 in a population of 100,000 would mean 950 deaths per year in that entire population."
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Monday April 21, 2008 @01:01PM (#23146764) Journal
    See, fish aren't warm and furry and have big doe eyes. They fail the cuteness test, so it is OK to eat them.
  • by confusednoise (596236) on Monday April 21, 2008 @02:25PM (#23148260)
    Are you kidding me? How much of the meat that people eat day to day is from hunting?

    Answer -- an incredibly insignificant amount compared to that which is produced by factory farming...which is responsible for the environmental damaged cited above.
  • by t0rkm3 (666910) on Monday April 21, 2008 @04:10PM (#23149896)
    Problem is that although the bio-availability of soy is 100 (equal to egg) the ratio of amino acids lead to an imbalance in your blood amino acid profile which decreases overall protein synthesis and increase waste load on the kidneys.

    For those of us that are serious athletes (even as a hobby) the dietary inefficiency and possible consequences of refined plant proteins (the only sort of plant protein that gets close to a protein per pound ratio of meat) is too great.

    I personally consume over 600grams of protein per day, mostly from meats. I also consume 6 cups of spinach, 6cups of brocolli, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds, 1 cup of walnuts, 1 cup milled flaxseed. I will mix in kale, mustard greens, collard greens on low-carb days. Pumpkin, sweet potato, apples, or berries on high-carb days.

    So, now, tell me how, without resorting to a highly processed food powder, do I get that much protein without going over 70 grams of carbs per day?

    You can't do it on a vegetarian diet.

    So, if you're carbohydrate intolerant, as northern europeans tend to be, or if you tend toward zinc deficiency (very common in athletes) or EFA deficiency, vegetarian diets can be detrimental to your health. There are non-meat sources of the above nutrients but they tend to be less well absorbed than the animal versions of the same.

    Also you may want to note that the more intelligent a primate gets the more efficient it becomes at obtaining animal protein sources, this is shown by homo habilis, homo erectus, and the chimpanzee. Gorilla's our large and folivorous/frugivorous buddies have the benefit of more durable teeth and a longer digestive system with more varied intestinal flora to allow them to meet their caloric needs on a restricted diet.

    For the average sedentary individual the vegetarian diet will probably be beneficial in that the increased fiber consumption will increase satiety which in turn will decrease 'empty' calorie consumption. This in turn will lead to a loss or stabilization in bodymass.

    When you eat meat, I encourage you to stick to game, and grass-finished meat as much as possible. If you are an athlete, embrace vegetarianism at your own risk.
  • by inicom (81356) <aem AT inicom DOT com> on Monday April 21, 2008 @04:26PM (#23150200) Homepage
    PETA != Vegan

    Why do people confuse these? PETA is an animal rights group. Vegans are non-animal-eating people. Some Vegans are PETA members. Some PETA members are Vegans. Some Vegans are Republicans too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2008 @06:57PM (#23152240)
    Pretty retarded point:
    1. no lettuce in my fridge, but I do have a kielbassa, turns out my teeth cut that pretty well too..
    2. if I did have some lettuce, I could cut it with a steak-knife too, still nothing proved...
    3. neither my analogy nor yours are appropriate comparisons, for an equally pointless analogy, try cutting a steak using a rolling pin...


    In any event, neither your statement, nor mine are valid comparisons for the purposes of determining voracity (dunno if that's really a word). Instead, you should compare actual herbivore teeth with those of humans and you will find that, compared to our own, they tend away from sharpness and toward large, rough, crushing and grinding surfaces. Comparing our teeth with carnivores' teeth, on the other hand, you will find that theirs tend more towards sharpness and have surfaces designed for cutting, piercing and tearing.

    Not surprisingly, our teeth tend to have "a little from Column A and a little from Column B", but, since our teeth need to be able to perform both functions we are not as well developed towards either end of the spectrum -- as with most compromises, we don't do either one as well as the critters who've become specialised in such things.

    So yes, our sharp teeth CAN cut through lettuce just as you can use a steak-knife to cut-through lettuce, but saying that does nothing to aid our understanding of our ability to make digestive use of said plant-matter.

    Cellulose is a tough fibrous material that needs to be thoroughly ground and enzymatically processed in order for nutritional gain to be had from it and we lack the digestive tract to accomplish this feat. (Cellulose is more commonly known as "dietary fibre" in food products and in humans, is passes through the digestive tract essentially unscathed.) In fact, it turns out, when you look at it, that our dietary tract has elements slightly in common with some herbivores, and also with some carnivores, which is perfectly in-tune with what you'd expect from a creature designed to be a little of both.

    Did you know that pigs/hogs are considered exemplars for omnivorous characteristics, and that in archeological digs, broken human teeth and broken pig teeth are the ones most often confused with eachother? If we're "naturally" herbivourous why do you suppose that is?

    Early humans and proto-humans (and chimpanzees!) evolved to be able to utilise whatever food sources presented themselves. Before we were hunters, and long before we were gatherers (by which I mean agriculturalists), we were opportunists and that made us survivors, and also, Omnivores.

    Try adding a little reality to your life, you never know, you might like it.

    -AC

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