Cloned steaks promise the end of farming as we know it

But steaks are expensive, not only for shoppers but for the planet. 

Best estimates suggest that livestock are responsible for around 14.5% of global greenhouse emissions.

Cows emit gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane in amounts that have significantly changed our atmosphere. They also requite huge amounts of water. And as more people around the world develop a taste for beef, the environmental impact is growing. 

Throw in the increasing acreage of former forest given over to pasture and our growing appetite for burgers is causing a serious climate problem.

But science may have the answer. Israeli cell-grown meat specialists Aleph Farms have developed a lab-produced steak that they say is indistinguishable from the real thing.

They’re in talks with high-end restaurants in the Europe, Asia and the USA to have their premium cloned steaks on the market by 2021.

Aleph Farms say they will provide meat that is healthier, more humane, and entirely slaughter-free. The product will, they claim, have the same taste, texture, and structure as farmed meat.

Slaughter-free meat involves taking a sample of animal cells from a real cow and replicating them outside of the animal.

It’s a cruelty-free process that, as well as minimising meat production’s environmental footprint, does away with the need for unhealthy antibiotics and the risk of contamination.

It’s also a much quicker process. Aleph’s lab-grown meat takes about three weeks to go from a cell sample to a ready-to-eat steak – as opposed to the two years it takes to raise a steer from birth to slaughter.

Aleph Farms hopes to have its product in a select number of restaurants from 2021 in a trial phase, aiming for an official launch in 2023, first in restaurants and then eventually in supermarkets.

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