The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'meat'
Exhibit A: a free-range pig farm in Berlin has a website allowing the public to see the profiles of the pigs their sausages and meat products are made from, and vote on the next pig they'd like to eat:
Mr Buchman selects the pigs from a free-range farm near Berlin, photographs them and then places the pictures online with descriptions of the animals. He also updates the website with the latest information detailing the lives of each pig so people can follow their progress.Exhibit B: this.
Researchers in South Carolina are getting closer to developing practical vat-grown meat, with no animals involved in its production:
If wine is produced in winery, beer in a brewery and bread in a bakery, where are you going to grow cultured meat? In a "carnery," if Mironov has his way. That is the name he has given future production facilities.
Dr. Mironov has taken myoblasts -- embryonic cells that develop into muscle tissue -- from turkey and bathed them in a nutrient bath of bovine serum on a scaffold made of chitosan (a common polymer found in nature) to grow animal skeletal muscle tissue. But how do you get that juicy, meaty quality? Genovese said scientists want to add fat. And adding a vascular system so that interior cells can receive oxygen will enable the growth of steak, say, instead of just thin strips of muscle tissue.The researchers believe that cultured meat will eventually become cheaper than meat grown the traditional way, and also will allow for a greater variety of gastronomic possibilities.
Scientists in the Netherlands have come one step closer to creating vat-grown meat. The team at Eindhoven University have grown muscle tissue from cells extracted from a pig. They still need to find a way of exercising the tissue to turn it into something resembling meat; at present, it is described as "a soggy form of pork", though they say that this development could lead to sausages in as little as five years.
It is hoped that, when it arrives, vat-grown meat will be vastly more environmentally efficient, requiring fewer resources to grow, not to mention being free of animal suffering. The current process is not vegetarian, though, using animal blood products in the growth medium.
On a tangent: earlier this year, scientists mapped the cow genome, and discovered that the genes involved in making cattle docile are in regions which, in humans, are involved in mental retardation.
Scientists in the Netherlands are working on growing artificial meat in the laboratory without the need of growing an entire animal to go with it.
Under the process, researchers first isolate muscle stem cells, which have the ability to grow and multiply into muscle cells. Then they stimulate the cells to develop, give them nutrients and exercise them with electric current to build bulk.
After perfecting that process, scientists will then need to figure out how to layer tissues to add more bulk, since meat grown in petri dishes lacks the blood vessels needed to deliver nutrients through thick muscle fibers.
And then there is the question of fat, to add flavor.Growing something vaguely like processed meat, consisting of a mass of undifferentiated muscle cells, is one thing; giving something with the structure of real muscle tissue is another. And while the process is both more efficient than keeping animals (in terms of energy input, farming livestock for meat is orders of magnitude more expensive per calorie than growing crops) and doesn't involve killing animals, the idea of eating meat not from a slaughtered animal still fills people with visceral disgust (in a way that killing animals for meat, for the most part, doesn't; presumably because our ancestors have been doing it, one way or another, for millions of years), and so cultured meat may be slow to find acceptance.
Blog of the day: Suicide Food ("animals that want to be eaten") looks at the profusion of anthropomorphic animal mascots used to advertised food made from such animals, gleefully rejoicing in the eating of such food, and rating each one on how disturbing or perverse it is when you actually think about it:
It's not what it seems. The chicken, while being strangled harshly enough to pop out feathers, isn't pleading for help. That is not the international "I'm choking!" gesture. No. It's a wave. The chicken is waving to us. And with his left wing, he is welcoming us to the ranch. ("Ta-daaa!") Whether this is perverted or pathological, it's unwholesome. This playful pair, interrupted during a murder-suicide pact--or, is it merely prelude to the most revolting sex ever?--doesn't even have the decency to be embarrassed. The pig's ten gallon hat is pulled down tight enough to shut out the world, and the bug-eyed chicken just wants to get on with it and get it on.
The Wagon Wheel gives us a new twist on a standard theme. Pinky (as the website identifies him) is not simply preparing to dive onto the grill. No, he has contrived to be sent from present-day Stilwell, Kansas, back in time to the Papal Inquisition, there to subject himself to horrors unending and the torments of the soul. Thus, the act we see the pig performing in a state of near-ecstasy. "The Devil's Bicycle," as it is known in the alternate universe under discussion, involves the penitent pedaling a burning wagon wheel, all the while dodging the Holy Spit.Update: Just after I posted about it, Suicide Food outdid itself with this beauty:
One could write an essay on the cultural differences between France and America based on this entry and the others on this site.
(via Boing Boing)
Vat-grown meat, cultured in vats of nutrients from a single stem cell, could be on the market by 2009:
A single cell could theoretically produce enough meat to feed the world's population for a year. But the challenge lies in figuring out how to grow it on a large scale. Jason Matheny, a University of Maryland doctoral student and a director of New Harvest, a nonprofit organization that funds research on in vitro meat, believes the easiest way to create edible tissue is to grow "meat sheets," which are layers of animal muscle and fat cells stretched out over large flat sheets made of either edible or removable material. The meat can then be ground up or stacked or rolled to get a thicker cut.
"To produce the meat we eat now, 75 (percent) to 95 percent of what we feed an animal is lost because of metabolism and inedible structures like skeleton or neurological tissue," says Matheny. "With cultured meat, there's no body to support; you're only building the meat that eventually gets eaten."Other than increased efficiency and the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing that no beautiful creature must die for that flesh you so fancifully fry, there are other advantages, such as the possibility of tailoring the makeup of the meat to be healthier, or indeed to taste unlike any natural meat. Of course, making synthetic mincemeat is one thing, and making a steak is another:
Taste is another unknown variable. Real meat is more than just cells; it has blood vessels, connective tissue, fat, etc. To get a similar arrangement of cells, lab-grown meat will have to be exercised and stretched the way a real live animal's flesh would.And then there is the question of whether the public would accept cultured meat; and indeed whether it would be acceptable for a vegetarian to eat something grown from a cell. And if it is, I wonder how long until fetishists start growing meat from their own cells for purposes of autocannibalism.
Apparently today is Steak and BJ Day, an attempt to set right a crucial imbalance in intersexual relations:
You know the drill. Every 14th of February you get the chance to display your fondness for a significant other by showering her with gifts, flowers, dinner, shows and any other baubles that women find romantic. Every Valentines day you rack your brains for that one special, unique gift that will show your wife or girlfriend that you really do care for them more than any other. Now ladies, I'll let you in on a little secret; guys really don't enjoy this that much. Sure seeing that smile on your face when we get it right is priceless, but that smile is the result of weeks of blood, sweat and consideration. Another secret; guys feel left out. That's right, there's no special holiday for the ladies to show their appreciation for the men in their life. Men as a whole are either too proud or too embarrassed to admit it.
Which is why a new holiday has been created.
March 14th is now officially "Steak and Blowjob Day". Simple, effective and self explanatory, this holiday has been created so you ladies finally have a day to show your man how much you care for him.This, of course, leaves out vegetarians, but that's OK, because they're not Real Men.
Did you know that, in the US, the destination of BSE-tainted meat is a state secret? Well, not quite, but it is illegal for government agencies to tell the public about where tainted meat was sold. Which has led to the absurd situation of the government calling a recall without notifying the recipients of tainted meat, i.e., essentially as a PR exercise to reassure the peasantry that everything is OK whilst protecting the profits of agribusiness.
"I do think that the USDA has erred in its judgment here. It has sacrificed the public's health in favor of the beef industry,'' said [Alameda County health officer] Iton.
(There's one way to be safe: if you're in the US, stop eating beef.)
An article claiming that vegetarianism kills more animals than meat-eating; according to this article, intensive agriculture causes more animal deaths (i.e., field animals run over by combine harvesters, crushed in their burrows by ploughs or picked off by predators once their cover is removed) than meat consumption, and that, following the Least Harm Principle of utilitarianism, anyone who cares about animal welfare would eat meat. (Via this rant linked from David Gerard's LiveJournal)
This is Graham the Happy Scum's universe and we're all just living in it:
To counteract the rise in vegetarianism and similar "wacky eating behaviours"
among teenaged girls in America, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has set up a site whose message
is basically "
Grudnuk sez: Eat meat, it's cool!".
The site, which looks like a cross between a Barbie fan page and a Taco Bell ad (beef-filled tacos and gigantic hamburgers dot the screen), extols teenage girls to "Keep it Real" "real" as in a person who eats beef, preferably three or four times a day. Visitors are also invited to send e-cards to their "real friends" and to tell the world why they are "real girls" (because they eat beef burritos, of course!)
(Now we finally get to find out whether irony did die on 9/11/2001, as some commentators claimed; if this site somehow succeeds in turning the tide of teenage veganism in America, then we are indeed living in the New Norman Rockwell Era of plain-dealing boy-scout earnestness. If it falls flat, then irony is alive and well.) (via rotten.com)