The death of organic farming

By generating strips of meat from stem cells researchers believe they can create a product that is identical to a real burger.

The process of culturing the artificial meat in the lab is so laborious that the finished product, expected to arrive in eight months\’ time, will cost about £220,000 (EUR250,000).

But researchers expect that after producing their first patty they will be able to scale up the process to create affordable artificial meat products.

Mass-producing beef, pork, chicken and lamb in the lab could satisfy the growing global demand for meat – forecast to double within the next 40 years – and dramatically reduce the harm that farming does to the environment.

Because if we don\’t have the animals to produce the shit then we cannot have organic fertilisers.

The very thing which means that we don\’t need to limit ourselves to the low meat diet which organic farming implies (given the land hunger of the technique) is the very thing which make organic farming impossible at any scale.

24 thoughts on “The death of organic farming”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I suppose this is not the right time to point out that organic farming does not need animal shit. At least not from cows, pigs, sheep or horses.

    To quote that famous proponent of organic farming, Mao Zedong:

    “We must tell then openly, “Your dogma is of no use,” or to use an impolite formulation, “Your dogma is less useful than shit.” We see that dog shit can fertilize the fields and man’s can feed the dog. And dogmas? They can’t fertilize the fields, nor can they feed a dog. Of what use are they?”

  2. Organic farming won’t be affected by this in any way. It’s a luxury industry that includes livestock farming and can produce its own shit.

    People wanting ‘naturally’ produced food aren’t going to buy the lab-grown stuff, they’ll continue to buy organic meat produced from animals with holes at both ends.

  3. It’s interesting to speculate on where this will take us with new meat products. Will the English be able to overcome their horse meat aversion , how about roast swan for Sunday lunch, elephant steak anyone ? On the matter of organic farming if you can produce artificial beef why not artificial shit ? On an industrial scale that would make animal manure cheaper and easily obtained so maybe not time to write off organics just yet.

  4. “if you can produce artificial beef why not artificial shit ?”
    Depends on the feedstocks for the beef. As that’s most probably organic, all that would achieve is shifting the nutrients from one form to another.
    But as the culture process is using the same metabolic processes as the animal the cells originate in they will be effectively ‘crapping’, themselves. The waste products should be similar to genuine poo.

  5. The term “organic” really brings out the pendant in me. Carbon based? Yes, all food is carbon based[1]. Biological? Yes, all food is biological.

    Really winds me up, so it does.

    [1] Except salt, our solitary mineral food.

  6. IanB which is why most other languages refer to “ecological” rather than “organic”.

    If meat can be made in factories and the globe’s sustainable population increases hugely, the loons will have to think of something else to get upset about.

  7. “If meat can be made in factories and the globe’s sustainable population increases hugely, the loons will have to think of something else to get upset about.”

    Oh, I seriously doubt that. I have a friend who is a hard-core vegan (the only alcohol he will drink is wrong as, apparently it is the only alcohol that doesn’t involve the abuse of animals. And his definition of ‘animals’ is very, very wide).

    If the original stem cells in this process come from a real live animal, people like him will have nothing to do with it, as you will have had an immoral origin.

    Best just to ignore them and get on with it.

  8. Stuck record @16

    Clone him. He can’t complain then. Or Geldorf. Then he really could “Feed The World”

  9. I’m trying to think of how the production of other alcohol apart from rum, involves the abuse of animals even with a very wide definition of animal. Is yeast an animal ?

  10. I’m just wondering what are the inputs and outputs of this meat-growing process? Presumably the muscle needs to be kept alive while it’s growing, which can be no mean feat.
    Will the raw ingredients of Meatoo (anyone think of a good name?) be petrochemicals, or maybe just glucose? Similarly, there are most likely by-products, which will be heavily carbon-based, no doubt a huge amount of CO2.

    I would have thought eggs would be easier to grow than meat, but what do I know.

  11. @Thornavis

    Finings, used to clear beer and wine, is made from animal products. Apparently some soft drinks as well.

    Not sure about spirits.

  12. I ate horse for the first time in my life last year. Delicious!
    Will I go and buy horse steaks from the supermarket? No.
    I can’t say why and I’m a bit ashamed of this.
    But I think lots of people will feel the same way about stem-cell meat, so the demand may not be there to bring the cost down from $200k per burger any time soon.
    Perhaps I should start riding to hounds so I’d know it is better than fox.

  13. JuliaM,

    Isn’t carnivore crap the wrong sort of thing to be using for fertiliser?

    I think carnivore crap is fine for fertiliser. My guess is you’re thinking of mad cow disease; Britain’s epidemic was apparently caused by giving food made from animal products (‘meat and bone meal’) to cattle.

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