Just when I thought I had seen it all. This week I read an article about scientists “growing” a hamburger in a test tube. I don’t know about you but this just sounds so wrong on so many levels. The article went on to say that while the taste was close to the real thing, they had experienced problems with the color.
Later I saw a TV news segment. One of the taste testers said the flavor wasn’t quite right and the burger was very dry. They also featured a quote from an animal rights activist masquerading as an environmental expert about how great this was because it would move the world away from animal production and the environmental concerns he imagined animal agriculture to have.
Wow, my guess is this is one of those experts who have a problem with gmo crops and now he is touting the benefits of man-made, test tube meat? I don’t know about you but I have far fewer concerns and much less problem with eating a gmo crop than I do consuming a synthetic, lab generated hamburger. It also gives us a look at the double standard these activists adhere too.
Don’t get me wrong. If this test tube meat is approved by the USDA after running the gauntlet of tests gmo crops are subjected too and approved, I will not stand in the way of anyone who wants to consume it. However, I am quite confident that real, cow-made, corn-fed beef will outperform it in any and all taste tests.
Oh did I mention that the burger cost about $325,000 to produce. Production costs may be rising all the time out here on the ranch, but I am quite sure that we can still produce a good old bovine sourced burger for about $324,999 less and that is a very conservative estimate. As for the environmental factor, I just can’t see the faux burger being a real “green” endeavor to produce. Given that our feedlots take extreme measures to protect the environment around them and that they are under a great deal of regulation regarding the afore mentioned environment, I think the nod goes to the cow versus the test tube.
The hype around test tube burgers is just another example of how far removed most people are from the farm and ranch. They do not have a clue about where their food comes from, nor do they fully understand the hypocrisy of opposing gmo crops and embracing test tube meat. We have been genetically altering plants and animals since Adam and Eve were given the deed to the Garden of Eden. Sure over the years our methods have become more sophisticated and the advances have come more quickly, but every plant or animal we grow for food has been genetically modified.
Yes, all of our crops and livestock are genetically modified. Most of it is through the time tested method of selective breeding, it wasn’t until recently that we developed technology that took us beyond selective breeding. That takes us right up to now when scientists can grow a hamburger using the stem cells of a cow. I say great, because the world is issuing agriculture a challenge, we must feed an ever growing world population with less land, less labor and with fewer inputs. That calls for all hands on deck.
As I said, I will not stand in the way of test tube beef production, I just don’t plan on eating a McFake burger anytime soon. I prefer my beef to taste like the real thing. However, if they do figure out how to produce this meat at a reasonable cost, it is proven safe and has the same nutritional value as my beef I will endorse it whole heartedly. If we can do anything to save even one person from starving we should pursue it.
I also promise that I will try and compete with synthetic burger in any way I can. Those of us in agriculture relish the opportunity to meet any challenge we can. I will continue to work each day to produce an even safer, healthier, more affordable hamburger while protecting the world around me and caring for the animals I am entrusted with. All the while, I will enjoy hamburgers produced the old fashioned way.