You can now eat meat grown from human cells, and scientists insist it's not cannibalism.
Over the last few years, humans have been looking for more sustainable alternatives to meat. However, not everyone is ready to give up meat just yet.
For this reason, experts are developing 'cruelty-free' meat in the lab, and the concept has been gaining a lot of traction.
Recently, some experts have decided to look beyond the hype by growing human steaks.
Is Lab-Grown Meat Really Sustainable?
For years, the meat industry has faced criticism from activists for its cruel and unethical treatment of animals.
This backlash has prompted scientists to ask the question: can we still produce meat without causing harm or killing the animals?
So, that's how lab-grown meat came to be.
According to experts, this alternative meat source eliminates many ethical issues with the way we traditionally produce meat.
In fact, scientists say this method could also reduce the environmental impact of animal farming.
Also, lab-grown meat products could satisfy food demand by our ever-increasing population, scientists say.
Despite that there are no animals lab-grown meats on the market yet, the industry is already worth millions of dollars.
How Do You Grown Meat?
Before we dive into the idea of lab-grown human steaks, let's take a look at how scientists actually grow animal meat in the lab.
Get a muscle sample from an animal and then collect the stem cells from the tissue.
Multiply them and then allow them to differentiate into primitive fibers. These then bulk up to form muscle tissue.
One tissue sample from a cow can make around 80,000 quarter-pound burgers, experts say.
The idea of human steak came from some American scientists who developed an interesting concept, 'grow-your-own steak kit.'
So, instead of using animal tissues in the lab, you replace them with human cells and blood. The scientists are calling this concept The Ouroboros Steak, after an Egyptian snake that eats itself.
According to these experts, the human cells come from the inside of your cheek. The blood, on the other hand, comes from expired blood donations.
These experts have already succeeded in their project. The bite-sized samples of human steak are currently on display at the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition.
But Why Human Steaks?
The lab-grown meat industry often claims its product is ethical and cruelty-free. However, human steak scientists don't entirely agree with that statement.
According to them, the process still relies on fetal bovine serum (FBS), which comes from the blood of calf fetuses. Meaning, you'll need to slaughter the mother cow or goat to get it.
Additionally, lab-grown meat is an expensive process as one liter of FBS costs between $350 and $830.
Andrew Pelling, one of the scientists who developed the human steak, claims that not only is FBS expensive, but it also doesn't save the lives of animals.
"Some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem. However—to our knowledge—no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims."
Therefore, Pelling and his team created human steak to expose the constraints of the lab-grown meat industry.
More importantly, they wanted people to see beyond the hype.
Is Human Steaks Cannibalism?
According to researchers, eating human steaks isn't technically cannibalism. However, they aren't promoting that we 'eat ourselves' as an alternative to satisfying our protein needs.
Instead, they created the steak as more of a thought-provoking product.
"We are not promoting 'eating ourselves' as a realistic solution that will fix humans' protein needs."
"We rather ask a question: What would be the sacrifices we need to make to be able to keep consuming meat at the pace that we are?"
"In the future, who will be able to afford animal meat? Plus, who may have no other option than culturing meat from themselves?"