Paul Shapiro gives you a front-row seat for the wild story of the race to create and commercialize cleaner, safer, sustainable meat—real meat—without the animals. From the entrepreneurial visionaries to the scientists’ workshops to the big business boardrooms—Shapiro details that quest for clean meat and other animal products and examines the debate raging around it.
Since the dawn of Homo sapiens some quarter million years ago, animals have satiated our species’ desire for meat. But with a growing global population and demand for meat, eggs, dairy, leather, and more, raising such massive numbers of farm animals is woefully inefficient and takes an enormous toll on the planet, public health, and certainly the animals themselves.
But what if we could have our meat and eat it, too? The next great scientific revolution is underway—discovering new ways to create enough food for the world’s ever-growing, ever-hungry population.
Enter clean meat—real, actual meat grown (or brewed!) from animal cells—as well as other clean foods that ditch animal cells altogether and are simply built from the molecule up. Also called lab-grown meat, cultured meat, or cell-based meat, this race promises promise to bring about another domestication. Whereas our ancestors domesticated wild animals into livestock, today we’re beginning to domesticate their cells, leaving the animals out of the equation. From one single cell of a cow, you could feed an entire village. And the story of this coming “second domestication” is anything but tame.