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Artificial meat

PETA Offers $1 Million Prize to Producer of Artificial Meat

Saturday, August 30, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: artificial meat, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has announced plans to offer $1 million to the "first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012."

In vitro refers to something taking place outside of a living body, in an artificial environment. In this case, PETA wants to encourage the artificial synthesis of animal muscle tissue cultures, without a living animal having to be born and die.

The idea is already under development, and a symposium on in vitro meat production was recently held in Norway. Researchers say that the muscle tissue grown in laboratories could be given the proper tone, shape and texture by means of food additives that are currently used to give those same qualities to vegetable-based artificial meat projects such as soy burgers.

Jason Matheny, founder of the artificial meat-promoting nonprofit New Harvest, greeted the news with pleasure. Research prizes "inspire more dollars spent on a research problem than the prize represents," he said. As an example, he cited the Ansari X Prize that encouraged the development of the first privately financed human spacecraft.

Researcher Bernard Roelen of Utrecht University in Norway, however, said that money is not necessarily enough to remove the obstacles that remain to making synthetic meat commercially viable on PETA's timeline.

PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said that she has wanted the group to promote in vitro meat for more than 10 years. She acknowledged that some people have strong concerns about artificial meat, including many within PETA.

"We will have members leave us over this ... [but] we don't mind taking uncomfortable positions if it means that fewer animals suffer," Newkirk said.

Lisa Lange, a PETA vice president, was one who opposed the award. "My main concern is, as the largest animal rights organization in the world, it's our job to introduce the philosophy and hammer it home that animals are not ours to eat," she said.

"I remember saying I would be much more comfortable promoting eating roadkill."

Sources for this story include: www.nytimes.com.

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