PETA Launches Contest to Create Lab-Grown Meat

April 25, 2008 10:45 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
PETA has offered $1 million to the first person who can create chicken meat from animal stem cells, and have it ready to sell by 2012.

30-Second Summary

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) believes its in vitro meat solution could spare animals from being killed to satisfy “America’s meat addiction.”

The organization reports that more than 40 billion chickens, fish, pigs and cows are slaughtered in the United States annually.

In vitro meat could be created using animal stem cells that would be placed in a medium to grow and reproduce, PETA said. Tissue would be created, but without a central nervous system it would be without consciousness and unable to feel pain.

The idea may disturb some people, but scientists have studied in vitro meat before.

Slate Magazine says it is “no freakier or more far-fetched than what you’ve been hearing from politicians about stem cells and what they can do for people.”

Anyone accepting PETA’s challenge must produce test tube "chicken" that could be sold in U.S. supermarkets by 2012. The meat must also taste like real chicken and be fairly competitive in price.

Whether their challenge will be met is another matter. This project would take years of testing and research, and require lengthy approvals before the meat could be fed to the public.

Making the chicken cheap could be another obstacle because in vitro meat technology is new and expensive. Producing a 250 gram piece of beef would currently cost $1 million.

If successful, in vitro meat could do more than just save animals. U.S. News & World Report writes, “With a global food crisis brewing, the topic has perhaps never been more timely.”

Headline Links: Making meat from stem cells

Background: Exploring the idea of lab-grown meat

Reactions: Divisions among PETA members

Related Topic: Lab-grown meat a solution to the food crisis?

Reference: Dietary preferences, PETA


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