Our current excessive consumption of meat does irreparable damage to both our health and the environment. Animals are generally raised in unsanitary conditions and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. Much of the grain that is grown in the world today is not for human consumption but in fact grown to feed cows that shouldn't even be eating grain in the first place. On top of all of that there are waste lagoons and manure sprayfields endangering our water supplies.
One way to help alleviate these problems is to consume less meat. You can go the Michael Pollan route of no meat before seven. Consumers can also purchase less from supermarkets and more from local producers. Some people choose to go vegetarian or completely vegan. But that is not a choice everyone in the world is going to make. Right now, there are scientists looking for another solution.
Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Brian spoke to New Yorker staff writer on science, technology and public health Michael Specter (author of Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Harms the Planet and Threatens Our Lives) about cultured meat. Cultured meat is lab grown meat that could go a long way to solve many of our problems with meat, but is not yet ready for large scale human consumption.
Shmeat: Is It What's For Dinner?
Also check out this segment from a classic episode of Nova ScienceNow about cultured meat.