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Another universal problem is the development of cities that usually occupy fertile and fine land, which may affect food supply universally (Ananthaswamy 2002). Basically, there is less free space left for big animals. These problems have raised the awareness of Food and Beverage industry to invent new ideas in meat production.
Recently, scientists come out with stem cell techniques in meat production (Christe 2009). Stem cell technique is believed to have the ability to ease food shortages in developing countries. It is not only reducing the negative effect from food production on the environment, but also increases food quality and nutritional health of society (Murano 2003). As it is of no animals involved, there will be much land available for other purposes and results in sustainability (Casabona 2010). Scientists, as well, start showing how efficiency and environmental friendly stem cell product to be consumed. Additionally, Prof Ford, President of Cambridge Society for the Application of Research, believes that if the projects of this stem cell successful, it could help to develop a disease-free meat (Winterman 2012).
Stem cell technique involves the use of biological cells in animals to be grown into specialized desired tissue that imitate animal flesh in the laboratory (Casabona 2012). Stem cells is used because it is the only cell type that can renew itself and be flexible so that it can naturally form a number of cells required to produce plenty of meat. This process can be seen in Appendix B. Scientists are implementing this technique in growing meat from certain types of animals in the laboratory. Most of the practice has succeeded in providing best quality meat; as the nutrition in the meat itself can be alter. Moreover, the meats grown by this technique are totally free of hormones, antibiotics and the threat of mad cow disease or bird flu. Minced meat was the first successful form of stem cell meat, which can be processed again into sausages, hamburgers, etc. This form is easier to harvest as the cells grown on porous micro beads captured with growth liquid in large bioreactors, which are expected to present bigger cell yields (Kaplan 2012).
There have been a number of researches in stem cell techniques for meat production. NASA was the very first initiator in stem cells research, which is started in 2001. They are designing an experiment to produce a supply of fresh meat for space flights. Scientists began with the meat of living goldfish that is chopped into large piece of muscle sized five to ten centimetres long and dip them in a container of foetal bovine serum sampled from the blood of unborn calves. In a week time, researchers found that the piece of muscle had grown 14% in size. This achievement offers the chance for growing meat from stem cells of various animals in huge quantities. Morris Benjaminson, NASA project leader, claimed that this shocking method found could have save people to kill animals for food (Fairlie 2010).
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) as a prominent animalââ‚¬â„¢s rights organisation, as well, support the research on stem cells meat. In April 2008, they announced the sort of competition for scientists, who could produce and market stem cell meat by June 2012 with a reward of $1 million offered. PETA organisers believed that stem cells meat represents a meaningful application of biotechnology in Food and Beverage industry that standby as the potential substitute from the terrible suffering of hugely grown livestock. PETA explained that this is done as the will to help people, who refused to let go their meat addiction, to be able to taste meat or flesh that will not cause death (Sandhana 2006).
Barribeau (2010) showed that the result of stem cell meat and real meat has no difference (Appendix C). This means not only from the nutrition and quality itself, but also from the detailed texture.
However, consumers are more concern about the process and technologies used to manufacture their food nowadays. Therefore, there are lacks of acceptance from the society concerning the safety of stem cell food production without any scientific proof. Several moral, legal and ethical issues have also occurred along with the development of food technology. One of the major concerns is people assume that bodily integrity of an animal is always crucial and needed as ethical consideration. This is due to people believed that animal also has animal rights to live and should not be used in a research. Regan (2004) rebelliously claim that animals should be viewed in the same way as human, either having the same rights or be treated equally. This can be seen from the intense controversy sparked after the decision PETA made in offering rewards in producing and marketing stem cell meat (Schwatz 2008). The disapproval was rising in the concern that this method or process emphasizes the view that animals were utilized as an instrument for human, in consumption and use.
Besides, philosophers and ethics share quite a distinctive views regarding to the issues of slaughtering animals. Debate on the painful killing of animals has started to appear intensely, although it is not fully acceptable. They claimed that killing animal is totally an inhumanity act towards animals, which is also a living object. On the other hand, one said that it is a common sense in merely killing animals which obviously do not have its sense of future (McMahan 2002). Others added that only in this way of thinking, there will be a clear distinction made between human and mere sentient animal (Cavalieri and Singer 1994).
Moreover, religious controversy towards stem cell process has begun to emerge. The Hindus, as well as the Catholics, believe that life begins from the moment cells start to duplicate themselves into a living creature (Svendsen and Ebert 2008). Zhou and friends (2009), however, argued that stem cell process can be done in a way that there are no genes included in the process of stem cell meat. Although embryonic stem cells were the only alternative at first, it is no longer believed as the use of skeletal muscle progenitor cells and mesenchymal stem cells ââ‚¬" cells that have high proliferation rates and are easier to separate from animals ââ‚¬" showed a succeed. Recently, scientists move their attention to inducted stem cells, which can be used in producing tissues that imitate meat, without genetically changing the cells themselves. Although several verifications in pursuing this research are needed from the scientific community, it shows that there is a possibility way for non-genetically modified stem cell meat (Holden and Vogel 2008).
In conclusion, stem cell might be the best solution to the environmental issues caused by meat consumption In addition, it also provides meat with high quality and nutrition that can be altered in the composition, without the scare of any animal disease attached. The future of stem cell meat itself is hard to predict. The resistance on consuming the new meats is closely attached to the people in the society. However, Svendsen and Ebert (2008) quite assured that in the coming future, this technique would have taken care a lot of the excessive farm production meat. Thus, People would not have to worry that no meat to fulfill their addiction anymore. Matheny and Post, Dutch Biologist, stated that stem cell meat might be on the market within 10 years (Mummery and Wilmut 2011). Omholt, from the University of Life Science in Norway, also cited that people will accept lab-produced meat as long as it has been scientifically proven and is affordable.