Evolution is not teleological. Evolution does not have a purpose, aim or goal. There is no such thing as more evolved or de-evolution. Humans are not more evolved than chimpanzees; we diverged in different direction. When people think about human evolution, they sometimes lose the ability to view the human species objectively and attempt to consider humans something separated from the rest of species on earth. Humans are unique, but so is every other single species. Humans didn’t evolve from great apes to be something else; we are great apes – or Hominidae.[1] If you go back long enough humans share common ancestors with every single organism ever existed. We are omnivores. We have biting/tearing/ripping incisors and canines (like carnivores) and chewing molars (like herbivores).[2] Chemically, we lack cellulosic symbionts that many herbivores have and have lots of proteases that carnivores do. Humans require vitamin B12 which can only come from animal sources or certain bacteria.[3] We also require vitamin C, which is present in citrus fruits and organ meat. In addition to those unique physiological realities, we have very powerful livers (the detoxification organ) and a very strong ability to smell rot/decay/decomposition relative to other animals.[4] This suggests we may have even evolved as scavengers before we discovered hunting, fire, and eventually agriculture. Now, with all that being said, scientists may have found the answer to the lifelong question – “If you don’t eat your meat. You can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”.[5]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAGkuPaatdc

Every omnivore’s problem – eating real meat without having to be concerned about slaughtered animals. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the demand for meat in North America will increase by 8 percent between 2011 and 2020, in Europe by 7 percent and in Asia by 56 percent.[6] Livestock represent approximately 15 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.[7] The answer? Cultured meat. Also called clean meat, lab-grown meat, test tube meat, tube steak, or in vitro meat, (even Frankenmeat – which I think is hilarious), it is meat grown in cell culture instead of inside animals –  a form of cellular agriculture.[8] Cultured meat is produced using many engineering techniques used in regenerative medicine. The first cultured beef burger patty, created by Dr. Mark Post at Maastricht University, was eaten at a demonstration for the press in London in August 2013.[9] Partly due to technical challenges associated with scaling and cost-reduction, cultured meat has not yet been commercialized. It has quite a way to go.

It is unknown whether consumers will accept cultured meat. One biotech company claims to be able to mass-produce lab-cultured meat, making its product not only an environmentally friendly alternative – claiming to require “99 percent less land, 90 percent less water, and emit 90 percent less greenhouse gasses than normal meat production”. [10]  The problem will be when it comes to convincing people that it is healthier, cheaper, and a renewable source of food for humans. However, we can’t have it both ways – we need to either accept and support this technology to eliminate the need for industrial meat farming; or we need to accept that animals will continue to be killed to provide humanity with meat. I could go into how this research should be supported and funded by international organizations like the United Nations, but I won’t for the sake of not droning on. However, I do not realistically see the entire global population embracing veganism any time soon. To quote the famous Clara Peller –  “WHERE’S THE BEEF?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug75diEyiA0

[1] Shelomi, M. (2016, December 23). How Humans Evolved To Be Natural Omnivores [Blog post].Retrieved from Quora website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/12/23/how-humans-evolved-to-be-natural-omnivores/#2254ed967af5

[2] ibid.

[3] ibid.

[4] ibid.

[5] Waters, R. (1979, November 30). Another Brick In the Wall Lyrics. Retrieved February 23,         2018, from Pink Floyd Lyrics website: http://www.pink-floyd-lyrics.com/html/another-    brick-2-wall.html

[6] Zaraska, M. (2016, May 2). Lab-grown meat is in your future, and it may be healthier than the real stuff. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from The Washington Post website: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/lab-grown-meat-is-in-your-future-and-it-may-be-healthier-than-the-real- stuff/2016/05/02/aa893f34-e630-11e5-a6f3-21ccdbc5f74e_story.html?utm_term =.370452c08133

[7] Mandelbaum, R. F. (2017, August 14). Behind the Hype of Lab Grown Meat. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from GIZMODO website: https://gizmodo.com/behind-the-hype-of-   lab-grown-meat-1797383294

[8] ibid.

[9] Fleming, A. (2017, September 20). Could lab-grown fish and meat feed the world – without    killing a single animal? Retrieved February 23, 2018, from The Guardian website: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/sep/20/lab-grown-meat-fish-feed-the-world-frankenmeat-startups

[10] Evans, K. (2016, August 9). Eating Real Meat Without Killing Animals Could Be A Reality. Retrieved February 23, 2018, from IFL Science website:          http://www.iflscience.com/technology/eating-real-meat-without-killing-animals-could-be-a-reality/