From GENE LOGSDON
The Contrary Farmer
Some of you are going to pound on me for saying this but I must protest those doomsday prophets who keep saying that meat will soon become too expensive for most people to afford, or that producing meat is environmentally destructive. It is sort of hilarious to say that producing meat in the lab rather than in the barn will someday be more economical and then announcing solemnly that the first lab burger cost $300,000 to produce. Yes of course, the first ball point pen probably cost that much to make too, so my laughing is not fair. But if anyone thinks that lab burgers will get as cheap as hamburgers, they are doing poor arithmetic and as the readers of this blogsite know, I am an expert at poor arithmetic.
First of all, meat is produced naturally free of charge all over the earth. A whole bunch of that meat will be there whether we eat it or not. Those wild horses out on the western plains, or penned up in government corrals to keep them from overpopulating the range, are an excellent example. Well-meaning people want to save these horses and in doing so are making sure the problem only gets worse. As advanced as we humans are supposed to be, we still don’t grasp the full meaning of the food chain. Everything out there is eating and being eaten one way or another, all the time. That includes beautiful horses. If you leave them out there on the range, I can guarantee you that if they don’t starve to death from overpopulation, or even if some of them do, wild predators will move in to take advantage of all this lovely meat. Just study the ranges of Africa to be convinced of this. Or we could be eating those surplus horses ourselves, almost free from nature. Horsemeat is relished by most of the human world.
Apply this horse sense lesson to livestock. If you decide to stop eating beef because it is too expensive to produce with grain, then eventually that whole Great Plains area will start returning to the land where the buffalo roam and the deer and the antelope play. Nature abhors a vacuum. Here in our part of Ohio, commerce took the livestock off the land and put it in buildings, so the deer are rapidly taking over all those hillsides and vales not economical for corn and soybeans and, along with the increase in other wild animals, will soon put as much CO2 in the air as the sheep and cows used to. You won’t solve the CO2 problem by driving those farting doggies off the range. I would even argue, quite brazenly I’m afraid, that if we put the livestock back on grassland where they belong, there would be less need for so many acres in corn and soybeans and the grassland would not only produce meat more cheaply but with more carbon sequestration. If you are going to disagree with me, then you must also say, logically, that human beings need to be eliminated because their eating and defecation is causing environmental destruction too. And what about those millions upon millions of cats and dogs that now live as wastefully, in terms of artificially supplied energy, as humans?
I wonder if the lab meat champions have figured out just how awesome an amount of synthetic meat they would have to produce to take the place of the natural meat now being consumed. Plus all the byproducts made from those animal parts not eaten. And that would only be the quantity thing. Someone would surely come up with “better quality” lab meat but it would cost more to produce than the cheap stuff. If the first edible lab burger costs $300,000, the first really good lab steak would probably cost a million.
But anyway, the argument is already over. I will bet you a good steak at the restaurant of your choice that lab burgers will never compete with Spam when it comes to either taste or cost.