By MARGARITA DEGENNARO.
The Australian public became outraged last year after ABC program, Four Corners, revealed how inhumanely Australian cattle were being treated in Indonesian abattoirs.
Since then, cases of animal cruelty in abattoirs and factory farms around Australia have been revealed, with the knowledge that cruel and unnecessary practises are being conducted in the country further upsetting the public.
But, will Aussies be game enough to try meat which has been grown in a laboratory knowing the animals were treated more humanely?
Dutch scientists have artificially grown meat in a laboratory to create a burger – each portion costing approximately $321 000.
A team at Maastricht University in the Netherlands extracted stem cells from cows and grew them in containers to produce strips of muscle tissue.
To make a burger, 3,000 strips of muscle tissue, which measure at 3cm long by 1.5cm wide and half a millimetre thick, are required to develop over six weeks.
The meat then gets mixed with 200 strips of fat tissue, which has been produced in the same way.
The process is currently in its developing stages; however, researchers believe they can create a product which will be identical to a real meat burger.
CSIRO, Stem Cells Australia and the Australia Meat Industry Council could not provide any information on the topic, because the development has not yet been considered in Australia.
However, thanks to the media the Australian public are becoming more aware of the discovery.
Former food industry employee Dylan Cahill believes that people are fearful of new things.
“I would be hesitant to try it at first as it sounds very artificial, however, if the production of this meat does reduce animal cruelty and helps the environment then I think it should definitely be brought into Australia,” he said.
But, student Amanda Goodfellow does not believe this development should be introduced to Australia.
“I think that it would take up too much time and resources than what is worth,” she said.
“I personally would never eat meat produced artificially.
“The idea of this makes my stomach turn.”
Maastricht University Professor Mark Post believes producing meat in a laboratory can have many environmental benefits as well as provide a solution to the high demand of meat, which is set to double in the next 40 years.
This method has the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of meat production.
It can also reduce the amount of methane gas in the environment as less livestock will be bred.
If artificial meat scaled up to industrial proportions, which is what scientists are aiming for, animal cruelty cases could decrease dramatically as the number of cattle which need to be slaughtered would be significantly smaller.
Currently, there are a few disadvantages associated with this process; this artificial meat might require chemicals and antibiotics to stop it rotting.
This meat, also known as Vitro meat, is to be released in October this year.
Photo courtesy of Ryan Hagerty.