This weekend marked a turning point toward ending the single greatest source of suffering on the planet. On December 19, four school kids walked into a restaurant in Singapore and for the first time in history, ordered lab-grown meat. It looked the same as chicken, tasted the same as chicken, and was molecularly identical to chicken, because it was chicken. But no chickens were killed. It was instead grown in a bioreactor from chicken stem cells.
While some may balk at food grown this way, it is cleaner. Unlike farmed animals, cultured meat is free of e-coli contamination, disease, salmonella, and other contagions. Technology isn’t just revolutionizing our lives; it will revolutionize — and spare — the lives of billions of animals each and every year. Someday — hopefully within our lifetimes — the technology will allow us to feed billions of people and millions of pets without a single chicken, pig, turkey, or cow being killed. That day cannot come soon enough.
From the moment they are born to the moment their necks are slit, the vast majority of animals raised and killed for food will experience lives of unremitting torment. They will not know contentment, respite, safety, happiness, or kindness. Instead, they will live a short life characterized by inescapable discomfort, social deprivation, the thwarting of every natural instinct and constant stress, all punctuated by moments of agonizing pain, terror, and the deliberate infliction upon them of harm, cruelty and eventually, a brutal and untimely death. Cultured meat would eliminate this suffering.
Until then, whether we are working to end the suffering of animals on “farms,” in “shelters,” on our roads, in laboratories, in mills, on tracks, or wherever else they are killed, let us continue our noble work on their behalf. And together, not only will we save lives; we will create a future where every animal will be respected and cherished, and where every individual life will be protected and revered.
Onward and upward…
If you don’t want to wait for cultured chicken to come to the U.S., All American Vegan, my first cookbook, has a veganized fried “chicken” inspired by a recipe from Claudia Sanders, the wife of the Colonel. A reviewer said that it was so delicious, it made him cry
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