Based on a seductive story of providing food with zero consequences, cellular agriculture promises to get rid of the ethical, environmental and health costs of animal husbandry. But is that realistic?
Total meat consumption per capita in Australia has been stable since the 1960s but the type of meat consumed has changed significantly. Chicken and pork both now far outstrip beef, mutton and lamb.
We might be able to grow artificial meat but are people really prepared to eat such produce over meat from farmed animals?
Simply calling on people to eat less meat is not very useful. The consumption of meat, after all, is embedded within numerous social and cultural practices. But changing diets can benefit the planet.
As consumption has soared and prices have fallen, the realities of industrial chicken farming often clash with the values of people who live on the urban fringes where broiler farms are sited.
Talking cows, talking pigs? It's enough to send you vegetarian. Maybe ...
We go to great lengths to avoid the mental conflict between our desire not to harm animals and our love of sausages.
Meat has health benefits. And good quality meat could also be the solution to the food insecurity problems that plague two-thirds of households in the developing world.