The End of Eating Animals doesn’t Mean the End of Eating Meat

The End of Eating Animals doesn’t Mean the End of Eating Meat

Photo by Roam In Color on Unsplash

You’ll soon get a chance to taste a vegan steak made with a 3D printer, and experts say it’s awesome.

Dear Meat,
We need to break up. It’s not you – it’s us. –Really. You’ve been great. More than great: you’ve been awesome. For so many thousands of years, you’ve provided us with wonderfully varied amounts of tastes and textures… and so much-needed protein. We can’t thank you enough. Had it not been for you, we’d probably be extinct or at best, swinging from trees and on the verge of going extinct. You turbocharged our evolution. You were there when we moved into places around the globe as different as the Brazilian rain forest and the Siberian tundra. Thank you for everything; tastes, aromas, textures… it’s all brought us so much joy. And while the time has come for us to move on, we won’t forget you! It’s been amazing.

With an abundance of love, Humankind.

Foto von lilartsy von Pexels

That’s the Dear John letter we need to mentally write and literally act on. The time to break up with meat has come. Breaking up is, of course, hard. Relationship experts say the process can be aided by reminding yourself of why you need to move on. So here goes: Where once animal protein supplied desperately needed calories, today in many places it's a contributor to excessive calories that are expanding waistlines and shortening lives. Where once it was an industry that offered a pretty good trade – providing safety and security to animals as they wandered around our farms in exchange for an eventual end on a dinner plate, today the exchange has morphed into factory farming – a system so distasteful that most of us prefer not to think about it. Once we were grateful for animal fertilizing material, today the runoff from massive processing centers pollutes both land and sea. As noted in the letter, it really is us, not them. There are set to be 9 or 10 billion of us on the earth in a few decades. The math doesn’t work – using so much land, huge amounts of a dwindling freshwater supply, and creating so much pollution to bring a pound or two of meat to the table is unsustainable – for lack of a stronger term.

Continuing the analogy, an adage claims the best cure for an old love is a new love, and this wisdom is perhaps appropriate here. We need a new love. But while veganism and vegetarianism have become popular – even fashionable – with a segment of the population, it's by no means anywhere close to a majority. In other words, as much as some might wish for it, the masses haven’t exactly begun falling in love with taro and tofu. We have cravings that need to be satisfied – and happily, a group of new tech entrepreneurs understands this. The fancy ‘bleeding burgers’ out there are nice and all, but what if a company could provide, say, a vegan kebab that tastes, smells, and even cooks so much like the real deal, many can’t tell the difference? In fact, some even prefer it. Couldn’t that be the start of a beautiful friendship? We think so. As do celebrity chefs and barbeque experts. ‘Alternative meat’ is an entirely new class of meat substitutes made by people who get that taste comes first. This is stuff made by startups using 3D printers and AI software to create the closest approximation to animal meat ever invented. It’s set to hit store shelves globally very soon, and while initially perhaps slightly pricy, the estimates are it will reach price parity with animal meat by 2025 or earlier and then perhaps start giving old-school meat a run for its money (especially considering how animal meat prices are skyrocketing these days.)

If you were reading this article ten or even five years ago, the idea that ‘fake meat’ might soon replace real meat would have been laughable. But the level of sophistication of newly created high-tech plant-based meat substitutes is astounding, and already has the nod from tasters, chefs, and even butchers. ‘New meat’ is a “completely new animal,” as one of the firm’s taglines goes. Science is offering us a chance to have our cow and eat it too; in a totally mixed metaphorical sense. It’s a ‘best of both worlds’ solution. We get to continue to enjoy our ancient love of the flavor and texture of meat while saying goodbye to the negative health and environmental issues animal protein is today causing both us and our planet. As one author noted, “If you've got something that tastes like a kebab, looks like a kebab, and smells like a kebab – is it not a kebab?” When a barbeque expert tells a reporter that he gives ‘new meat’ a score of 9 to 10 – how soon will ‘new meat’ become simply, meat? –We’re about to find out.