Commentary: Benefits of lab-grown meat

Photo by Professor Linda Pershing

Photo by Professor Linda Pershing

Photo by Professor Linda Pershing

By Lauren Hammond

Opinion Editor

In the last issue of The Cougar Chronicle, Features Editor Rico Palmerin discussed the controversial nature of lab-grown meat.

The CSUSM students and professors reviewed in the article suggested that this form of meat production was impractical and disgusting. Being a humanitarian, animal-rights advocate and having an organic, plant-based diet, I was thrilled to learn of this innovation. I beg that the community begins to reevaluate current agricultural biochemical standards and consider the benefits of producing lab meat.

According to Dr. Robert Rider, CSUSM Economics Professor and Chair of the Economics Department, lab-grown meat will restrict US exports to outside countries. Professor Rider also examined the existing restrictions on meat exports, as many countries currently refuse North American meat due to our use of antibiotics in the breeding of animals and growing of crops. This should raise a red flag to American consumers. Why is it that other countries refuse the sale and consumption of genetically modified foods while American consumption increases? Perhaps it is due to the irrefutable evidence of GMO’s harmful effects.

America, China and Canada have the highest amount of GMO productivity and consumption in the world. In a 2011 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, scientist Dr. Shiv Chopra revealed some of the devastating affects GMOs have had on human health.

“Each year approximately 11 million Canadians suffer from food-borne disease (FBD). But there is more to FBD than food-borne infections. The Canadian food supply is now the most toxic on Earth, due to the indiscriminate use of hormones, antibiotics, and slaughterhouse waste, along with pesticides and pesticide-dependent GMOs in food production. Sadly, the medical community is paying no attention to these causes of FBD [which] increase the incidence of cancer, diabetes, hormone disruption, neurological, immunological and other metabolic disorders,” Dr. Chopra stated.

My initial suggestion would be to eradicate the exportation of meat and GMO productivity all together. The mass production of beef, in particular, has had a detrimental impact on the environment. Large-scale conversions of natural habitats to farmland have significantly contributed to the increase of harmful water pollution, soil degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. Health and economic issues could be resolved if production was grown organically and sold locally.

I understand that this ideological approach is most likely inapplicable for the time being. US political heads have made it clear that the high economic income of meat and crop exportation is preferable to that of our country’s health and I do not think that we will be seeing a change in views for quite some time. However, I do believe that supporting the advancement of lab-made meat will lead to better economic and environmental sustainability.

In the last issue, Palmerin discusses the inclination towards “natural” meat. His interview with fellow CSUSM student, Elizabeth Cruz, suggests that if introduced to the possibility of lab-meat, the general public would probably prefer to consume traditional meat. It is important to highlight that the majority of the 270 lbs. of meat consumed by the average American each year is genetically modified. Meaning, the meat that is being consumed, in logical sense, is already lab produced!

There is little difference between producing meat within a lab and injecting caged, terrorized beings with plumping toxins for the pleasure of human consumption. When it comes to lab-made meat, the only differences that I concern myself with are the benefits that may arise. With further study it is hopeful that the lives of innocent animals will be spared, the whole of the environment will be bettered and the human community will stop being poisoned.

The Cougar Chronicle The independent student news site of California