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The public interest for in-vitro meat in the Netherlands is great, but the possibility to put it on the market here now appears to be very complicated for the time being. Are we missing the boat?
Every year at least 50 billion animals are slaughtered to meet our demand for meat. Nearly a fifth of the CO2 emissions on Earth come from livestock production. It remains immensely difficult to eat less meat: many people simply like meat and the global demand for meat continues to grow. That was the reason for entrepreneur and in-vitro meat pioneer Willem van Eelen to create ‘in-vitro meat’. After his death his daughter Ira received a phone call from Silicon Valley last year. CEO Josh Tetrick from the young company Just invited her to come and try in-vitro meat in the kitchen of their laboratory in San Francisco. The company had bought the patents from her father and was now in the starting blocks to actually producing and selling in-vitro meat.
But there are also opponents to in-vitro meat, for example the Ministry of Public Health, which views in-vitro meat as being a so-called ‘novel food.’ And The Vegetarian Butcher, which sees it as being ‘an unnecessary intermediate step in the production of protein-rich food’. With these opponents changing our global meat production and consumption has become a race against the climate clock.
On the contrary is the fact that meat from cultivated stem cells is ultimately durable, and for the production there is less ground, water and energy needed. It is also a completely safe food product according to its makers and no more animals have to be slaughtered.
In short: in-vitro meat is reality. It’s here and we can make it. The question is: do we really want it?