Artificial Meat: Synthetic Burgers Coming Soon — Vegans, Vegetarians At War Over In Vitro ‘Schmeat,’ Animal Cruelty Ethics

Artificial meat may be heading to the average family’s kitchen table soon. Scientists claim to have found a way to produce synthetic burgers and other meat products without resorting to the animal cruelty many vegetarians have a problem with.

However, there is a war in ideals, which separates the vegetarians behind this advancement and strict vegans. The stricter point of view is partly that the food is still technically meat, and you might be surprised to find this fact being among the least important parts of the hardcore vegans’ argument.


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A few years ago, scientists were able to create what they called a “test tube burger” by creating artificial meat in a lab. The process was painstaking and expensive, and the end result was judged by a panel of food critics. The creation of the in vitro “schmeat” burger was born, and they went ahead in the effort to eliminate slaughtering animals from the process of making meat for public consumption.

While scientists may have eliminated the majority of the animal cruelty from the process, vegans and vegetarians disagree about what they will allow in their meals.

In the years up to this point, the process of producing meat for public consumption involved forcing animals through what activists call barbaric practices. This includes the act of slicing them open while they are still alive to extract what is considered the best tasting product. Scientists are hoping that vegetarians and vegans alike will at last sit down with the rest of us and eat the same foods with a clear conscience.

According to the Daily Beast, a public forum user by the name of Leo 99 thinks what is being done now is a step forward, “I’m a vegetarian because of cruelty of factory farming and because of the terrible environmental impact it causes, so yes, I would eat the meat.”

Others aren’t so convinced that the artificial meat is eliminating the accompanying problems. Dr. Neil Stephens is among them. “Everyone in the field acknowledges this as a problem. It’s not in any way animal friendly, it’s not cheap and it’s not environmentally friendly. It currently undermines a lot of the arguments that people put forward in support of in vitro meat.”

Call center manager Laura Brewin finds the entire idea behind artificial meat disgusting. “At least it’s acknowledging that animals suffer, and admitting we can’t keep killing animals for their flesh, but this is ‘meat’ derived from the stem cells of a cow, grown in a lab with lab-grown fat added. I wouldn’t eat that!”

According to Sentientist, the process of getting the material for these in vitro “schmeat” products is still bordering on animal cruelty.

“The reproductive tract is removed from the carcass … The calf is removed quickly from the uterus and the umbilical cord is tied off. … A cardiac puncture is performed by inserting a needle between the ribs directly into the heart of the [unanaesthetized] fetus and blood is extracted under vacuum into a sterile blood collection bag via a tube.”

Vegans might read the part about the “needle between the ribs directly into the heart” and instantly swear off ever eating the artificial meat due to the possible pain it may cause for the animal. It all technically comes down to personal preference, but the war still wages between vegans and vegetarians over the use of in vitro “schmeat.”

[Image via Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images]