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In vitro meat

In vitro meat, also known as laboratory-grown meat, is animal flesh that has never been part of a complete, living animal. As of May 2003, some scientists are experimentally growing in vitro meat in laboratories, but no meat has been produced yet for public consumption. Potentially, any animal could be a source of cells for in vitro meat, even humans.

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Definition In vitro meat should not be confused with imitation meat, which is a vegetarian food product produced from vegetable—usually soyprotein. The terms synthetic meat and artificial meat are ambiguous, as they may refer to either.

Arguments in favor

Minimal animal involvement

In vitro meat may appeal to animal rights and animal welfare advocates and others concerned about animal well-being. It does not directly involve animals except for the initial removal of cells.


In vitro meat may be cleaner and less prone to disease than animals, provided that donor cells are not contaminated.

Space food

On long space voyages or stays, in vitro meat could be grown alongside hydroponic vegetables.

Arguments against

Artificial environment

At least initially, many people will likely prefer meat grown in a natural rather than an artificial[?] environment. Luddites and environmentalists may not want any scientific or technological interference with nature, especially interference with food. On the other hand, many opponents may prefer the consumption of in vitro meat by others to the slaughter of live animals.

Quality, safety and health

People may be concerned that in vitro meat is of lesser quality or taste than traditional meat, and that there are unresolved health risks. However, like any food product, in vitro meat would be required to pass through many safety and health trials before it could be sold.

Differences from traditionally produced meat

If in vitro meat is different in appearance, taste, smell, texture[?] and other factors, this may reduce its appeal.

Economic and environmental impact It is unknown whether in vitro meat is economically and environmentally competitive with traditional meat or vegetables. For in vitro meat, costs only apply to the meat production, whereas for traditional meat, costs include animal raising and environmental protection.


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