We raise and treat our food source animals horribly. Overfishing is a real issue. Global warming due to animal agriculture is a big problem. Alternative protein products are escalating at an incredible speed. But their success must not let us forget about the real problem that is industrialized animal agriculture or factory farming.
Technology is creeping into how we look at meat and its alternatives. Consumers are ripe and eager to dig into this new form of food. Similar to how margarine was the latest thing 50 years ago, our ability to create new food styles has given our economy and food system options we once thought were unthinkable.
The idea of possibly eating a plant-based hamburger, one that tastes just like a real hamburger, which is made of pea or soy protein or possibly cow cells, would have struck as fantasy 30 years ago. Heck, even 10 years ago! Change is afoot and this new world, where even Burger King and Tim Hortons now offer these meat alternatives which have altered the way we once defined meat.
But with this advancement, so were cuts to quality of life for the animals. Feed was changed. Environments were compromised. All in the name of profit. Soon small run family farms went out of business, as they were left to be swallowed up by large corporations. Think Tyson or Purdue.
Throughout this transformation we eventually lost sight of our ability to understand that what we were doing was wrong. Chickens shouldn’t be kept in cages the size of a piece of paper. Cows shouldn’t be eating corn. North Carolina shouldn’t have tailing ponds the size of swimming pools.
As per The Guardian:
“They fill massive lagoons with [waste] and they take that lagoon stuff and spray it over fields,” he told Pod Save America, recalling a trip to North Carolina late last year. “I watched it mist off of the property of these massive pig farms into black communities. And these African American communities are like, ‘We’re prisoners in our own home.’ The biggest company down there [Smithfield] is a Chinese-owned company, and so they’ve poisoned black communities, land value is down, abhorrent …This corporation is outsourcing its pain, its costs, on to poor black people in North Carolina.”
We’ve created an agricultural disaster, and in doing so, all we’ve come up with is chemically formulated alternatives that we hope will replicate the very food we’ve essentially destroyed.
The idea of a cell-based steak sounds appealing in that it causes zero animal suffering. Why did it take us replicating a steak to realize that factory farming was awful? Is this how we solve our problems?
The reality of this situation is that companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods will continue to grow. Their products have become popular substitutes for those looking to eat less meat or no meat altogether. This, in theory, is a good thing.
Cell-based meat isn’t available just yet, but it soon will be. How it will affect the overall industry is yet to be determined.
In the end, however, none of these options changes who we are. We still raise and treat our food source animals horribly. Overfishing is a real issue. Global warming due to animal agriculture is a big problem.