Scientists and designers have joined forces to develop a prototype grow-your-own steak kit in an attempt to highlight the cultured meat industry’s potentially questionable ethics. Ouroboros Steak could be grown by the diner at home using the omnivore’s own cells, which can theoretically be harvested from the inside of their cheek and fed serum obtained from donated blood.
The resulting bite-sized pieces of meat are therefore created without harming any animals.
The creators point-out the same cannot be said for increasingly-popular cultured meat derived from animal cells.
The lab-grown meat industry claims to offer a more sustainable, cruelty-free alternative to factory farming.
However, the process still relies on Foetal Bovine Serum (FBS) as a protein-rich growth supplement for animal cell cultures.
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FBS comes from the blood of calf foetuses after their pregnant mothers are slaughtered by the meat and dairy industries.
This means lab-grown meat is a direct byproduct of polluting agricultural practices like ‘normal’ meat.
Professor Andrew Pelling, a University of Ottawa scientist, developed the Ouroboros Steak with designer Grace Knight and artist and researcher Orkan Telhan.
He said: “Fetal bovine serum costs significant amounts of money and the lives of animals.
These would then be stored in a warm environment for approximately three months while being fed human serum until the steak is fully grown.
Professor Pelling added: “Although some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem, to our knowledge no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims.
“As the lab-grown meat industry is developing rapidly, it is important to develop designs that expose some of its underlying constraints in order to see beyond the hype.”