When Vat-Grown Cold Cuts Come to Subway, Thank PETA

Foie Gras apologist Baylen Linnekin of the uber-tasty food blog Crispy on the Outside writes in praise of anti-carnivore group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which just announced $1 million contest to spur development of murderless meat, A.K.A. vat-grown or in vitro meat:

PETA claims the contest is a way to advance its so-called anti-cruelty agenda, stop harming the environment, etc.

I think it's really just an admission by the group of what carnivores and omnivores have always known: meat tastes good. So good that it seems the overwhelming majority of manufactured vegetarian food-plant life that didn't grow from the ground (or ocean)-serves little more than to provide calories that mimic the taste of meat....

 Bravo to PETA. This is exactly the sort of thing groups like PETA should have been doing all along. Not terrorizing or suing or intimidating what should be free choices made by peace-loving meat eaters. But putting their money where their breasts mouths are in order to effect voluntary consumer change. All while helping vegetarians eat better tasting food.

More here.

reason on vat-grown meat—it even sounds delicious!

Didn't the awful Subway chain miss a golden opportunity to have Warren "Enjoy Every Sandwich" Zevon become their posthumous pitchman? Move over, Jared, and tell Lon Chaney the news.

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  • Taktix®||

    I worked at Subway for a time in college, I think they already use vat-grown meat. Or anus-grown...

  • ||

  • ||

    Vat grown meat (mammalian cells) is the dumbest idea in I don't know how long. There is already a self assembling, self regulating, self powering, self reproducing meat machine. It is called a cow. It produces a high quality product, and when a cow dies nothing changes, it does not matter in any way, we have not lost a potential great american novel.

    And besides, US$1M ain't gonna get you far for this type of tissue engineering project.

  • Episiarch||

    If you grow it in a vat, where will you get the blood? If my steak isn't bloody, what's the point?

    Fucking anti-palette philistines.

  • ||

    If you grow it in a vat, where will you get the blood? If my steak isn't bloody, what's the point?

    Yep, and there are shit loads of problems like that. Basically you will be trying to reproduce all the functions that a mammals body provides. That will be extremely expensive. You will need to do all this (stuff no one can do yet even as a proof of principle) in aseptic conditions. It costs an enormous amount to culture a few CHO cells or fibroblasts, let alone do a full blown functional tissue engineering. This is so dumb it makes my head hurt.

  • T||

    SugarFree,

    Thus demonstrating yet again that PETArds don't understand how the world works in so many, many ways.

  • Episiarch||

    Thus demonstrating yet again that PETArds don't understand how the world works in so many, many ways.

    Well, I think it demonstrates that the PETArds are deceptive, lying cultists who have no intention of ever giving up that cool million and did this as one of their endless publicity stunts.

  • Oddity||

    I'm so out of it this morning I read the end of this as proposing Subway should have made Warren Zevon into a sandwich. But maybe a vat-grown human meat sandwich wouldn't be a bad idea?

  • ||

    T,

    I'm not so sure about that. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. They offered $1M under conditions they knew would fix it so that they wouldn't have to pay it out. PETA gets the free publicity, looks like they want a reasonable, scientific solution to killing animals for meat (as opposed to it really all being about forcing people to live the way they think they should (the goal of all authoritarians, right or left)), and they get to get to keep the $1M.

    They've played the media like a fine fiddle. Kudos PETA. You've won this round, fuckers.

  • ||

    GET OUT OF MY BRAIN, EPI!

  • ||

    You do know there's almost no blood in steak, right?

  • T||

    Epi,

    That works for me. According to Ingrid Newkirk, it's more important for PETA to generate publicity than to treat animals ethically. This is par for the course.

  • ||

    But maybe a vat-grown human meat sandwich wouldn't be a bad idea?

    In Wareen Ellis' Transmetropolitan he calls human meat companies "bastard farms." And a vice presidential candidate is grown in one so that he would have absolutely nothing embarrassing in his past to trip up the administration.

  • ||

    "Warren" not "Wareen"

    Somehow this is all Epi's fault.

  • T||

    But maybe a vat-grown human meat sandwich wouldn't be a bad idea?

    Rudy Rucker agrees! Eat a Wendy today!

  • ed||

    I thought tofu was the answer.
    It isn't after all?
    Somebody's got some 'splaining to do.

  • Episiarch||

    You do know there's almost no blood in steak, right?

    "Juice", blood, whatever. You still need blood to grow the cells.

  • ||

    As a generally anti-PETA vegan, I have to say that I think this is one of the best things they've done. Obviously you're not going to get in vitro meat tasting just like the real thing, at least not any time soon, but you very well could get something very tasty that can be produced with a lot less feed an water, since culture doesn't waste energy on bone tissue, movement, temperature control etc. To me, the issue of not torturing millions of cows is hugely important, but if you don't care there's also not contributing as much to soil erosion and global warming, and freeing up some currently highly subsidized water for use in cities.

  • Episiarch||

    Somehow this is all Epi's fault.

    Put down the one-hitter, NutraSweet, and pull yourself together.

  • ||

    And I despise Ingrid Newkirk, for the record.

    And think it's absurd that an organization that spends millions annually on vapid celebrity advertisements is setting up such a stingy, strings-attached science prize.

  • ||

    but you very well could get something very tasty that can be produced with a lot less feed an water, since culture doesn't waste energy on bone tissue, movement, temperature control etc.

    Do you think that mammalian cells will grow without temperature control etc? Where do you think that all the media components etc will come from?

    It is an idea of incredible stupidity. If you want a meat substitute make single cell protein. Just like there already is on the market.

  • ||

    Epi = [yawn]

  • Taktix®||

    To me, the issue of not torturing millions of cows is hugely important, but if you don't care there's also not contributing as much to soil erosion and global warming, and freeing up some currently highly subsidized water for use in cities.

    I'd torture a million cows for one filet mignon with a piece of bacon wrapped around it (although I guess I'd have to torture a million pigs as well).

    It's not my fault, I'm just higher on the food chain. Call me when humans stop torturing other humans, and maybe I'll give a shit about the ethics of eating Bessie.

  • Fluffy||

    Is growing meat from cultures the only way to accomplish the feat of having vat-grown meat?

    What if you instead just gen-engineered a cow that had no legs, no brain other than ganglia for respiration, and direct access to the digestive system for cellulose and such? Oh, and made it vaguely a cube for ease of industrial use?

    Wouldn't this eliminate the "empathy" problems PETA types have with eating meat?

  • jana||

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  • Jorgen||

    Do you think that mammalian cells will grow without temperature control etc? Where do you think that all the media components etc will come from?

    It's probably cheaper per pound to insulate an entire factory than it is to keep one cow at the right temperature in the outdoors. I expect that the media requirements for growing inactive muscle and fat cells in a fairly random orientation are far less than those for producing a functional body, but it very well may be impossible to pull off. If so, I'll just stick to my eggplant and tofu and be happy.

  • Smelly Hippie||

    We taught a lion to eat tofu!

    Cue starving sickly lion coughing

  • ||

    It's not my fault, I'm just higher on the food chain. Call me when humans stop torturing other humans, and maybe I'll give a shit about the ethics of eating Bessie.

    Good point. As long as there's someone, somewhere doing horrible things to someone somewhere else, you and I are utterly absolved of thinking about the morality of anything less bad than what that someone is doing.

  • ||

    What if you instead just gen-engineered a cow that had no legs, no brain other than ganglia for respiration, and direct access to the digestive system for cellulose and such? Oh, and made it vaguely a cube for ease of industrial use?

    I'd be down with that. And direct digestive access wouldn't be a problem; search for "fistula"

  • Episiarch||

    We covered this on a thread some months ago, but blowing the deer hunting season wide open and allowing for commercial hunting would achieve several of PETA's purported goals. The deer would never have been in captivity; their death would be swift and painless (unless the hunter is a bad shot); and they are using up resources anyway.

    Plus, I love venison so it's a great solution.

  • Taktix®||

    Good point. As long as there's someone, somewhere doing horrible things to someone somewhere else, you and I are utterly absolved of thinking about the morality of anything less bad than what that someone is doing.

    No, but it does mean I'm not going to worry about the plight of a lower species when our species is killing itself. Just a matter of priority.

    Also, cows are food.

  • ||

    Jorgen, you would need something like the roller bottle based factory used to produce mammalian cell expressed biologics. The cells are adherent and very expensive to culture. You need to control (not just insulate a factory) the temperature through out the production zones. You need similar media, and it is not just grass and water. It has many components and must be formulated. etc etc etc. Not feasable. Something like Fluffy suggested would probably become feasable a long time before this.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Saw venison on the menu at Roy Yamaguchi's restaurant in Tampa. Kind of a surprise, since it's a Polynesian-style restaurant.

  • robc||

    One of my favorite Magic:The Gathering flavor texts was on the Gray Ogre:

    The Ogre philosopher Gnerdel believed the purpose of life was to live as high on the food chain as possible. She refused to eat vegetarians, and preferred to live entirely on creatures that preyed on sentient beings.

  • Taktix®||

    Pro Lib,

    That's the same reaction that I had when I learned there are deer native to some of the Florida Keys.

  • ||

    No bag limits on does would be a nice start. Fucking deers...I grew them tamaters for me, not them.

  • jtuf||

    Vat meat would be great. The lower costs means more people could get a high protein diet. Tissue engineered livers for transplants are already on the horizon. Apply the same methods to make edible livers should be relatively easy. The lack of immune system in the vat worries me, but scientists could probably find a way to prevent food poisoning.

  • robc||

    Due to the proliferation of Bison farms in my area, just about every restaurant I go to has Bison burgers on the menu. I like the addition of a new animal to my diet.

  • Episiarch||

    There is a bison farm in Canterbury, CT. I occasionally go and get liver, some cuts, and some ground. A little pricey, though. Same with rabbit. $13+ for a single rabbit at Stop & Shop? WTF?

  • Taktix®||

    I, for one, welcome the wider variety of animals for consumption. I have grown fond of gator since moving to Florida.

    Plus, how many cows just show up in your kitchen?

  • ||

    Call me a patchouli-oil smellin' hippy, but I do have a few moral qualms about eating factory-farmed animals. Not enough to stop eatin' 'em, but still...
    I feel much better about eating animals I've killed myself, therefore confronting the moral question directly, as it were. However, I also consider deer to be parasitic plants, not animals, and have no problem with weeding out as many of those as I can from my acreage. Yummy.

  • T||

    Epi,

    I get my bison from WalMart. Steaks and ground only, but it's still damned tasty.

    When I have the money for a splurge dinner, a place in town called Rainbow Grill usually has bison tenderloin and ribeye on the menu, along with a lot of other game meats. It's their stock in trade, and they're damned good at it.

  • T||

    Oh, and on the subject of the food chain, one of my favorite quotes of all time:

    Vegetables aren't food. Vegetables are what food eats.

  • ||

    But maybe a vat-grown human meat sandwich wouldn't be a bad idea?

    Where's Alferd Packer when you need him?

  • ||

    Actually Nick, thanks for the recipe. It looks pretty good.

  • ||

    I'd be down with that.

    me too. looking forward to the long pig, too.

    it's a very non-trivial issue, but i'll bet we have anencephalic meat animals within 20 years.

  • ||

    anencephalic meat animals

    I think that's called "escargot."

  • ||

    People Eat Tasty Animals

  • ||

    OK, I really don't know why it took me so long to make this connection. Every science program I have seen in the last ten years addressing humanoid evolution attributed an increased protein diet (meat) to early human brain evolution. Logically, then, vegan gray matter must be gradually de-evolving, eh? It would certainly explain a lot.

  • Zombie Overlord||

    Trog,

    So if more meat is good, more brains are better, right?

    Brains.

  • ||

    Hey, Taktix,

    Where did you hear that the deer are native to the Florida Keys? My mother lives there, and remembers reading about tests indicating that the deer were no different than mainland deer. (I don't have a reference.) They're smaller because there's limited food there. Everyone down there hates the Key Deer, because they eat landscaping and are the cause of reduced speed limits in their area.

    Thanks!

  • Dr. Logan||

    Get back in your cage, Bub Zombie Overlord, and think about what you've done.

    (clicks off light)

  • Mike Laursen||

    A.K.A. vat-grown or in vitro meat

    They need another $1 million prize for coming up with a more attractive name for it.

  • ||

    If we aren't supposed to eat meat, how come it's food?

  • T||

    They need another $1 million prize for coming up with a more attractive name for it.

    Shit, Chicken in A Biskit sells. Call it Chicken in a Tub or something.

  • ed||

    If you've ever seen how they make turkey roll, we're already halfway there.

  • ||

    1. Lab-Loaf
    2. Clone-cuts
    3. Pipetteroni
    Or we could just redefine "pot-roast"

  • Worthwhile Slate Article||

    Thanks, SugarFree.

  • Mike||

  • LarryA||

    And Corfam was going to replace leather.

  • ||

    Wait if we can make vat grown meat why grow beef, mutton or poultry when we can simply grow human flesh...it should have all the nutrients and proteans we need in all the right amounts.

  • Naga Sadow||

    I used to think tofu was as close to a meat substitute as we humans could create . . .

    Hmmmm . . . I could market tofu in a new way:

    Free Range Tofu

  • ||

    Saw venison on the menu at Roy Yamaguchi's restaurant in Tampa.



    Unfortunately that venison is probably pen-raised and quite likely from as far away as New Zealand (not quite the Polynesian connection anyone had in mind, I think).

    Without hunting it yourself about the only way to get wild killed venison is to qualify to get yours at a food bank or pantry (whatever they call your local one). In many communities hunters donate their surplus to such organizations.

  • ||

    I don't think that Venison is pen-raised in NZ Isaac.

    Grazed and free roaming I suspect.

  • ||

    Oh, and yes, PL, I think it's very important to delineate the UF Gator hunting exception.

    After all, down in Miami a few years ago some sporting types took the term "tourist season" a little too literally.

    Oh, and yeah, dbcooper, you're right. I meant farm raised, sorry. Nevertheless, in fenced enclosures (however large) and at probably higher densities than are found in the wild.

    I believe most elk meat is raised in western states like Montana and Wyoming.

  • ||

    Had Bison burgers from Whole Paycheck last week, yummy. Unusual for me visitors from Canada paid for them. I just grilled 'em.

    They seemed pricey to me but with the way the dollr is now I think they paid about 89 cents Canadian for them.

  • ||

    Yep, typically farm raised. Wild venison is available but is generally rather expensive and hard to find.

  • lunchstealer||

    Can't we just harvest the meat from giant alien whales we keep trapped and drugged in warehouses?

  • ||

    Wild venison may be hard to find, but wild deer aren't. At least, not anywhere I've lived. joe probably hasn't seen them in his safe, 'gator-and-other-wild-animal-free cocoon, but that's another thread.

  • ||

    Wild venison is available but is generally rather expensive and hard to find.

    Hard to find? There were half a dozen mule deer within rock-throwing distance earlier this morning.

  • Episiarch||

    Can't we just harvest the meat from giant alien whales we keep trapped and drugged in warehouses?

    Why not just go back in time on a captured Klingon Bird of Prey and bring some whales back to the future to repopulate the species for maximum whale consumption?

    NUCLEAR WESSELS.

  • ||

    Wouldn't this meat have the same vegan moral issues as wearing synthetic leather? (glamorizing leather, even fake, is bad...)

  • ||

    Wild deer always seem to be around when you're just driving along the highway but when you're in the woods with a more suitable deer-killing implement they seem to dissapear.

    I seem to have spent a lot more time as an armed hiker than as a hunter.

  • ||

    P Brooks, I was talking about New Zealand wild venison.

  • ||

    Very well, we clearly need a road trip to New Zealand. Perhaps the Reason Foundation can fund it?

  • ||

    Nobody's mentioned Moby's Disco Lies video, where a Psycho Chicken does in the Colonel. Really stupid.

  • ||

    Are you kidding me? Come on dudes, they aren't talking about fois gras, they're talking about chicken nuggets and hamburger meat. Eventually this could be cheaper than regular meat and less cruel.

    So Peta finally gets one right and you guys pile on.

  • ||

    Great Idea Fluffy,

    I've been thinking about the same thing. You can just genetically re-engineer a cow to have only a brain stem to regulate basic functions, no legs, only the most delicious parts of meat. No pain, no conciseness, just an impulse to bounce around in a container to keep its meat toned and tasty. The creature can have gills and simplified digestive track to consume nutrients almost like a plant.

    You can also re-engineer other types of animals, seafood critters, and birds using the same model to produce meat of different tastes and varieties. It would be a new type of creature - not a plant and not an animal but something in between.

    I am a meat eater and the only valid reason to become a vegetarian, as I see it, is humanitarian. However, it is too much of a price to pay to give up meat. If there is an alternative, then a lot of people would take it.

  • ||

    I'm in favor of vat-grown meat and vat-grown organ research, I'm just dubious whether PETA really means to help spur such developments. The prize would seem very unlikely to stimulate anything that isn't already underway.

  • ||

    Very well, we clearly need a road trip to New Zealand. Perhaps the Reason Foundation can fund it?

    Hey, add in the Cato foundation and we can prepare a Reason article and a white paper on the benefits of free market agriculture to pay the way.

    Next stop Barolo to investigate the legendary Piemonte beef.

  • ||

    Junket time, baby, junket time! I need to research Roman villas in Umbria. I believe they were built in some sort of libertarian manner.

  • ||

    Interesting link:

    http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/rural-nz/overview/nzoverview010.htm

  • ||

  • Geotpf||

    I liked it better when they just made posters with naked supermodels.

  • Urkobold™||

  • Geotpf||

    Fluffy's idea reminds me of the "square pigs" in this movie:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120199/

  • KenK||

    Well hot dog, the giant chicken heart is just around the corner!


    The 1953 sci-fi novel "The Space Merchants" features the idea that most of the world's meat supply comes from a giant chicken heart named Chicken Little that gets harvested every day as it grows and fills its concrete vault.

    http://aaronbsam.blogspot.com/2008/04/peta-and-tube-meat.html

    Space Mercants
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0312749511/reasonmagazineA/

  • ||

    With all due respect to Fred Pohl, whose books I enjoy reading, invocations of "chicken heart" always bring to mind the giant Chicken Heart menace from Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. Hey, hey, and hey.

  • ||

    I disagree with the 2:02 suggestion that we breed the conciseness out of our cattle. I prefer my cattle terse, laconic, even.

  • ed||

    Has anyone tried dolphin? The mammal, not the fish.
    It's tasty and really smart.

  • Urkobold™||

    THE URKOBOLD HAD RELATIONS WITH A DOLPHIN, ONCE. THE MAMMAL NOT THE FISH.

    GOD DAMN TEQUILA! GOD DAMN IT TO HELL!

  • ||

    I must confess that when I first went to Florida and saw dolphin on the menu I was taken aback.

    It must have shown, too. My dinner companion said, "It's a fish, not Flipper."

    I think that's had a lot to do with the wider use of Mahi Mahi.

  • ||

    The word MahiMahi, that is.

  • ||

    I think verbose, even logorrheic, cattle would be better. Maybe they could talk me out of eating them then.

  • ||

    "THE URKOBOLD HAD RELATIONS WITH A DOLPHIN, ONCE. THE MAMMAL NOT THE FISH."

    I thought I saw some really strange creature swimming in Tampa Bay once. I wondered where it had come from.

  • ||

    Sounds like a trollphin. You see those occasionally on the Atlantic coast, too. They look just like dolphin, except that they insult you gratuitously while jumping through the air.

  • ||

    chortle!

  • Mike Laursen||

    Shit, Chicken in A Biskit sells. Call it Chicken in a Tub or something.

    Chicken-Free Chicken? Beef-Free Beef? etc.

  • Mike Laursen||

    This is great. The banner ad at the top of the page is showing a Denny's ad feature much baconage.

  • ||

    I followed the link breasts, expecting to find pics of Pam.
    Sure enough, there she was, in all her mammalian glory.
    The 5th pic down the page shows her smiling, baring her left canine.
    Why do we have canine teeth, anyway?

  • ||

    Mahi-mahi is a good thing, whatever they call it. I caught a big one offshore on a trip to Cabo (strange that I had to go there to catch one--my brother catches them in the Gulf all the time), and I had some nice macadamia-nut encrusted Mahi-mahi at Roy Yamaguchi's restaurant last weekend. Along with a pomegranate mojito made with tequila (which is very tasty).

  • Andy||

    In vitro meat is still torture, says a biologist:

    http://nottheknowingone.wordpress.com/2008/04/22/faux-meat-sooooo-not-a-recipe/

  • Mike Laursen||

    I don't see where he mentioned torture. He was raising concerns about using growth hormones in vat-gro--err, meat-free meat.

  • MMA||

    Rather than invade Iraq, the United States should have gone to the United Nations and sought a 20th resolution because such a resolution would surely have DONE NOTHING BUT WASTE A LITTLE TIME AND MONEY, AND WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN NO ONE'S DEATH OR THE DESTRUCTION OF ANY PROPERTY--IN THE MIDDLE EAST OR ELSEWHERE, AND DEFINITELY NOT IN AMERICA.

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