International Vegan News

PG Tips, Lyons and Lipton Teas not vegan

Posted on 26 November 2010

A report issued by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in the UK revealed startling information on the tea companies PG Tips, Lyons and Lipton, and their use of animal testing of their products in order to make health claims about their teas.

Rabbits were fed a high-fat diet to increase their cholesterol levels to abnormally high levels and harden their arteries, and then they were fed tea in their water. Mice that were bred especially in order to suffer inflammation of the bowel were given tea ingredients in order to see if there were any effects. Piglets were exposed to E-coli toxins to cause diarrhea and then cut apart alive to see the effects on the animal. All the animals involved were killed afterwards.

“Experimenting on animals is not only cruel but also unnecessary. There are cheaper, quicker and more accurate methods available. Yet every 3 seconds, an animal dies in a European lab,” said PETA. Alternative testing techniques include epidemiology, patterns of health and illness and associated factors at the population level, along with cell based studies, using thousands of years worth of anecdotal evidence, and other available non-animal methods.

Lipton and PG Tips did not respond to repeated calls for a statement on the findings. However, Twinings have provided written confirmation that they don’t test their teas on animals.

This means that accoring to this evidence PG Tips, Lyons and Lipton are not suitable for vegans, whereas Twinings is appropriate. We currently have no data available on other brands.

Source: http://www.bikyamasr.com/21183/lipton-lyons-teas-tested-on-animals/

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Statistics on animals slaughtered per year

Posted on 9 November 2010

Recent statistics have been published on how many animals are killed each year in order to feed humans in the USA.

In 2009 the average American meat eater was responsible for about 198 deaths:
1/7 of a cow, 2/5 of a pig, 1 turkey, 1½ chickens for eggs, 25 chickens for meat, 40 fish and 130 shellfish.

In total, 8.25 billion land animals and 51 billion sea animals died to feed Americans in 2009 alone. Over a lifetime, this amounts to 15,000 animals per meat eater. That’s a huge number of animals per person.

While one can not extrapolate these statistics directly to calculate numbers of animals killed per year in South Africa, since there are approximately 6 times more people in the USA than in South Africa, if South Africans ate a similar number of animals per person then we’d be responsible for 1.3 billion land animal and 8.5 billion sea animal deaths per year.

Compared to the previous 4 years, these numbers show a decrease of between 8-19% (depending on type of animal). It is thought that demand for meat was significantly affected by media attention on farm animal welfare issues in the USA.

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Bill Clinton turns vegan … almost

Posted on 13 October 2010

Last week, former US president Bill Clinton spoke about the benefits of his new plant-based diet created by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn.

Genocidal bully and international war crimes perpetrator Clinton switched to a heart health program based on a diet by Dr. Esselstyn in his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. Ex-president Clinton was able to lose 24 pounds (~11 kg) and improve his heart function.

Clinton, 64, says that he began his diet for the wedding of his daughter Chelsea, who is a long-standing vegan. He says “I went on essentially a plant-based diet. I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit. I drink a protein supplement every morning. No dairy.” Clinton underwent heart bypass surgery in 2004 and did not want his cholesterol levels to increase again. Mr Clinton’s penchant for burgers and his battle with heart disease are well documented, and now he has gone public with the news that he is following a near-vegan regimen (he ‘occasionally’ eats fish).

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the USA for men and women. But Dr. Esselstyn advocates a regime to improve cardiovascular and shows that heart disease can be prevented and reversed. He argues that conventional medical methodologies have failed since they focus only on the symptoms of heart disease, not the cause.

Based on the results of his 20-year nutritional study, his book demonstrates with irrefutable scientific evidence, how we can end the heart disease epidemic forever by changing what we eat to a plant-based, oil-free diet.

Meanwhile, PETA is said to be thrilled by the news that Bill Clinton lost 24 pounds on a plant-based diet. The animal rights group sent him a gift basket of vegan treats – soy yogurt, mock beef and vegan cheese.

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2010 IVU World Vegetarian Congress

Posted on 7 July 2010

The 2010 International Vegetarian Union (IVU) World Vegetarian Congress will be held in Jakarta from 1-6 October, with an excursion to Bali from 7-9 October.

The Indonesia Vegetarian Society (IVS) will host the Congress. It is estimated that there are 80,000 members in IVS’s 51 branches across Indonesia.

The main Congress, from 1-6 October, will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital and largest city. It is easily accessible from others cities in Indonesia and from other countries. It is also the headquarters of IVS. From 7-9 October, the Congress shifts to Bali. The purpose being to allow speakers and participants, both local and international, to relax, sightsee and enjoy the artistic and natural tropical paradise that is Bali.

IVS has invited a wide range of societies, organizations, universities and formal and informal schools to participate in the Congress, and they will distribute brochures, flyers, posters and banners through their partner restaurants and branches. Additionally, Gramedia (the largest and most famous bookstore chain in Indonesia) is allowing IVS to use its stores all over Indonesia to promote the Congress and the Meat Free Monday programme that IVS has been carrying out nationwide.

The Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism has put the Congress in their 2010 agenda to promote the Congress domestically and internationally. IVS has also appeared on a Metro TV live morning talk show to promote the Congress. A big turnout from overseas will boost the event’s chances for media attention.

Speakers at the Congress will use only 2 languages: Indonesian and English. Every speaker will be helped by a translation team in panel and parallel sessions.

Such fabulous Indonesia dishes as Gado-Gado (mixed steamed vegetables with sauce and milled peanuts and monkey nut), Karedok (mixed raw vegetables with toppings), Ketoprak (mixed steamed vegetables, rice noodles and various toppings) will be provided. Plus, Congress delegates will enjoy tempeh, one of indonesia’s best known foods, as well as a variety of unique desserts.

Note that for the last 10 years, all IVU World Vegetarian Congresses have exclusively served plant food.

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‘Vegan’ – now a legally recognised term in Europe

Posted on 5 July 2010

On 16 June 2010, the European Parliament made ‘vegan’ a legally protected term. This means that it is now illegal for food labelled “vegan” or “suitable for vegans” to be made using anything from animals.

Article 35 of the European Food Information Act states that “The term ‘vegan’ should not be applied to foods that are, or are made from or with the aid of, animals or animal products (including products from living animals).”

The European Parliament voted to give legal protection to the term ‘vegan’ as part of Amendment No 175 of the new consumer food information regulations. Previously the terms ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ had no legal definition in Europe. Now consumers can now look forward to reliable and consistent food labelling.

George Rodger, Chairperson of the Vegan Society Council of Trustees (UK) said: “This is a great day for veganism in Europe and indeed the world, as vegans and veganism are now given official recognition. We look forward to the UK government putting it into practice.”

The new food consumer rules are likely to come into effect around 2014.

Note: also defined was “The term ‘vegetarian’ should not be applied to foods that are, or are made from or with the aid of products derived from animals that have died, have been slaughtered, or animals that die as a result of being eaten.”

We wonder if we can expect similar legislation and consumer protection forthcoming from South African lawmakers?

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UN Urges Global Move to Vegan Diet

Posted on 3 June 2010

A report by the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) today said that a global shift towards a meat and dairy-free diet is vital to save the world from climate change, hunger and lack of fuel.

As the global population races uncontrollably towards a predicted 9 billion people by 2050, the UN report by its international panel of sustainable resource management says “Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products … A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

The recommendation follows the 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that highlighted all of these matters and more: (‘Livestock’s long shadow, Environmental issues and options‘). The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also suggested observation of 1 meat-free day a week to reduce the effects of global warming.

The UNEP panel ranked the main global warming contributory factors according to their environmental impacts. Agriculture was ranked level with the consumption of fossil fuels because they both increase rapidly with increased population and economic growth.

Ernst von Weizsaecker, an environmental scientist from the panel, said “Rising affluence is triggering a shift in diets towards meat and dairy products – livestock now consumes much of the world’s crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides.”

“Decoupling growth from environmental degradation is the number one challenge facing governments in a world of rising numbers of people, rising incomes, rising consumption demands and the persistent challenge of poverty alleviation”, said Achim Steiner, the UN under-secretary general and executive director of UNEP.

Agriculture, due to methane gas production from livestock farming and dairies, accounts for 70% of global freshwater consumption, 38% of total land use and 19% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. The report has been launched just prior to the UN World Environment day on 5 June.

Last year the UN FAO also said that global food production would have to increase by 70% by 2050 to feed the world’s population. The UNEP panel say that this expected population growth with far outstrip any likely productive efficiency gains during that time.

Prof Hertwich, chairperson of the UNEP panel, said that the responsibility lies with the rich developed countries for ensuring that developing countries, where the majority of population and economic growth is likely to occur, do not follow the Western model and cause this uncontrollable and irreversible climate damage.

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Speed Vegan – new kitchen book

Posted on 8 May 2010

Impress your fellow diners with elegant taste, healthy meals, and half hour preparation. Alan Roettinger brings celebrity gourmet-style dining to vegan cuisine …

Speed Vegan - the new kitchen bookA collection of delectable dishes by private chef extraordinaire, Alan Roettinger. The vegan kitchen wizard combines health, flavour and timing to create elegant half hour meals. Assemble quick world cuisine dishes with flavor and texture in elegant style.

Alan Roettinger has been a private chef for a broad spectrum of high-profile clients, from entertainers to presidents. A world traveller, he absorbed elements from many cuisines to synthesize dishes – simultaneously exotic, healthful, and accessible to the home cook. Dishes include Egyptian Eggplant, White Bean Soup with Tuscan Kale, Beet & Celery Root Salad, Fennel Slaw, Artichoke Sandwich Spread, Moroccan Vegetable Stew, and Chipotle Mushrooms.

Visit Alan’s own website www.alanroettinger.comOpens in a new window for a sample of his vegan recipes to try our for yourself:

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San Francisco Declares a Weekly Vegetarian Day

Posted on 5 May 2010

On 6 April, San Francisco unanimously adopted a resolution declaring Monday as “Vegetarian Day” to urge all the city’s restaurants, diners, food stores and education centres to offer a variety of plant based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents and reduce the city’s negative effect on global warming.

Campaign Directors from In Defense of Animals, Dixie Mahy and Hope Bohanec, worked on the resolution with City Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, a vegetarian of 35 years. They are now working on a strategy to inform the various businesses such as restaurants, grocery stores, and schools on how to implement Vegetarian Day. The San Francisco Vegetarian Society will be offering recipes, menu suggestions and classes on vegan cooking. The society plans to promote Vegetarian Day with a special list recognizing participants with extra advertising incentives.

Meanwhile on 6 May, the city of Ghent in Belgium will celebrate the first anniversary of the world’s first Veggie Day-campaign on the Groentenmarkt. Everyone who participates in the weekly veggie day will receive Ghent’s tastiest sandwich, due to be revealed tomorrow.

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Calcium, veganism and strong bones

Posted on 13 April 2010

A recent study that compares bone fracture rates across different diets has thrown up some interesting results.

The EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) group researched the theory that persons who avoid dairy products (a major source of dietary calcium) will be at greater risk of bone loss or fractures.

Their study of fracture risk by diet group showed that “among subjects consuming at least 525 mg/day calcium” (equivalent to RDA in the UK) there was no difference in self-reported fracture rates between meat eaters and vegans. Compared with meat eaters, the corresponding incidence rate ratios were 1.05 for fish eaters, 1.02 for vegetarians and 1.00 for vegans. What does this mean for us? It means that “an adequate calcium intake is essential for bone health, irrespective of dietary preferences”.

However, the study also highlighted some worrying statistics. Compared with meat eaters across the whole population group, actual fracture incidence rate ratios 1.01 for fish eaters, 1.00 for vegetarians and 1.30 for vegans. In this population sample, fracture risk was similar for meat eaters, fish eaters and vegetarians. The higher fracture risk in the vegans appeared to be a consequence of their considerably lower mean calcium intake.

So what does this mean? It means that a significant section of the vegan community have not adapted their diet to consume an adequate quantity of calcium. If we forego dairy products then we must consider other food sources of calcium and include them regularly in our diet.

This study does not indicate that the vegan diet is unhealthy. But it does show that vegans can be at greater risk of calcium defficiency if they do not consume a balanced diet. As vegans, we need to set a good example and show non-vegans that our diet is healthy. Therefore, it’s up to us to make sure we consume enough calcium. Food sources that are rich in calcium include:

  • Molasses;
  • Seeds (sesame seeds are especially good);
  • Nuts;
  • Carob;
  • Pulses, e.g. soya beans, tofu, tempeh, haricot beans, miso-fermented soy bean curd;
  • Parsley;
  • Dried figs;
  • Sea plants;
  • Leafy green vegetables, e.g. bok choy, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, artichokes, okra and broccoli;
  • Grains, e.g. oatmeal;
  • Fortified soy milk.

Don’t be another statistical victim!

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MuLondon’s new range of vegan skin creams

Posted on 3 April 2010

Hello South Africa – London calling! My name is Boris and I’d like to share some skin care tips with you and tell you a bit about my range of 100% vegan, preservative-free organic moisturisers that I make by hand in London, UK. You will also have the chance to win one of my products.

MuLondon vegan and cruelty-free skin care productsI started making my own skin and body care products many years ago. I got dry skin and I wanted an effective, natural moisturiser that was not full of nasty stuff that I could not even pronounce. As I have been a vegetarian and then vegan for many years, I was reading the ingredients listings on everything. When I saw that most moisturisers were full of things like petroleum products, lanolin, parabens, stabilisers, emulsifiers and artificial colours and fragrances, I had to find out more – and that’s how my journey to starting my own line of personal care products started. I founded MuLondonOpens in a new window based on my ethos that I would never use any animal ingredients, chemical preservatives or additives in any of my products.

I base all my creams on certified organic Shea Butter, golden Jojoba oil and natural herbal extracts and essential oils. All are made by myself, in small batches. I believe that skincare products can be fully natural and as such even more effective than the mainstream products. Shea Butter and Jojoba are readily absorbed by the skin, while petroleum products like mineral oils are known to be comedogenic, which means they will clog your pores, not allowing your skin to breathe. In addition to that, research studies at Uppsala University in Sweden have shown that using mineral oils may pose other long-term health issues, so you can understand that I am not a fan of this ingredient. “Mineral Oil” sounds almost like it’s full of natural mineral goodness – and that’s what they would want you to believe, but it’s far from the truth.

MuLondon moisturisers are super-concentrated, as they contain no added water. That means that instead of getting only about the normal 20% active ingredients, MuLondon moisturisers are made from 100% active ingredients. That is also why you need only a tiny amount, best applied to moist skin. If your skin feels greasy after application – you have used too much! MuLondon moisturisers are superb for dry and sensitive skin, and for all-over body use.

But healthy skin is not just about using good skin cream. I believe that getting some sun every day is good for your skin. It can be a challenge for us in the UK, but should be fairly easy for you in South Africa. Ten to fifteen minutes every day should be sufficient for most of us. Getting some sun on a regular basis is not only good for you skin, but it helps us vegans generate the all-so-important vitamin D, that is often lacking in vegan diets.

What’s more, Beauty comes from within – and I am a firm believer of that. Think beautiful thoughts and you will be beautiful. There is another way to get beauty from within – ensure your diet is rich in essential fatty acids. Hemp seed oil and Flax seed oil are great and tasty vegan sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Do you have any natural skin care tips? I’d love to hear them! Please leave your comments below for a chance to win one of my moisturisers. Have a look at my website and also let me and the Vegan SA team know which one of my moisturisers you’d like to win. The winner will be chosen on the 15th of May 2010.

All MuLondon productsOpens in a new window are registered by The Vegan Society UK and PETA. I ship worldwide and I’d also like to offer all visitors and members of the VeganSA.com website and blog a 15% discount off their first order. Simply type VEGANSA in the coupon box during checkout to get your discount. This is only available to readers of this blog and for shipping to South Africa and will expire on the 15th of May 2010.

I look forward to hearing your feedback – and I hope to use some of South Africa’s wonderful essential oils like Cape Chamomile and Cape May in my upcoming products.

Thank you!
Boris – founder and head cream-whipper, MuLondon

MuLondon skin care products, UK

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Greenpeace: The endangered Bluefin Tuna

Posted on 5 March 2010

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has called for an international ban on trade in bluefin tuna through a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix 1 listing.

Greenpeace had this to say: “Greenpeace applauds the announcement today by the U.S. in support of an international ban on trade of bluefin tuna. This is great news for the oceans, and exactly the kind of science-based leadership we hoped for from President Obama’s administration. Bluefin tuna have been mismanaged to the brink of extinction and a ban on international trade is critical to the recovery of the species.
 
Overfishing has radically transformed our oceans. Over 90% of the large fish – including bluefin tuna – have been caught and eaten, causing changes to marine ecosystems that we have not begun to understand.  A more precautionary, ecosystem- based approach to fisheries management is needed.

A CITES listing is not management, it is a last ditch effort to prevent extinction. Greenpeace supports the call for a network of fully protected marine reserves to provide populations of fish and other marine life the resilience they will need to survive the impacts of fishing, acidification, and global warming.
 
Fishermen have been catching bluefin tuna for thousands of years, but it is only in the past few decades that this has become a threat to the species’ survival. Illegal fishing, greed, and a refusal to adhere to scientists’ recommendations about maximum sustainable catch limits have devastated the bluefin population as well as many fishing communities on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Today, bluefin caught in the Mediterranean are too small to bring to market, so they are towed to ranches to be fattened up for sale.
 
The fate of one of the world’s most spectacular creatures, a warm-blooded fish the size of a small elephant capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, will be determined this month.  An international trade ban may be the bluefin’s last chance.”

Apart from the interests and needs of the poor fish, as a recreational scuba diver I have witnessed first hand the decimation of fish stocks on reefs. Now there are very few left places in the oceans that have not been exploited if not devastated by fishermen. Why must their needs come first all the time? Why can’t scuba divers and other marine enthusiasts have some part of the ocean where they can see the underwater world in all its glory as nature intended, with big fish and big schools of fish. Why must the fishermen spoil the oceans for everyone, including future generations.

Even in South Africa’s national marine parks, such as Sodwana, fishing is allowed. There is no place in the whole country that is a true protected area for fish and their recovery and for lovers of the marine world to enjoy the underwater world in its natural state.

Our land based national parks do not allow hunting, so why do our marine parks allow hunting? Our parks should be for all to enjoy, not just fishermen.

For some useful information on other protected parks and reefs around the world that do have full protection see Dive The World Parks n ReefsOpens in a new window.

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New feature film ‘Forks Over Knives’

Posted on 20 February 2010

Forks Over Knives is a new American documentary movie that examines the claim that degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled or reversed by rejecting our present diet of animal-based and processed foods.

Despite huge medical advances around the world, the human race is sicker than ever. 2 in every 3 people in the USA are overweight. Diabetes is exploding, and reliance on prescription drugs has become second nature. Heart disease, cancer and stroke are the USA’s 3 leading causes of death. Could it be there’s a single, comprehensive and utterly straightforward solution to all of these problems?

The movie, filmed in the United States, and in Canada and China, traces the personal journeys of discovery of a pair of pioneering researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. Dr. Campbell, a nutritional scientist at Cornell University, whilst in the Philippines, made a life-changing discovery: that the country’s wealthier children, who were consuming relatively high amounts of animal-based foods, were much more likely to get liver cancer. Dr. Esselstyn, Head of the Breast Cancer Task Force at Cleveland Clinic, found that many of the diseases he routinely treated were virtually unknown in areas of the world where animal-based foods were rarely consumed.

These discoveries inspired them to conduct several groundbreaking studies. Their research led them to a startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented, and in many cases reversed, by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.

Despite the profound implications of their findings, their work as yet has remained relatively unknown to the public.

The film is due out in the winter of 2010. To view a trailer, visit: http://forksoverknives.comOpens in a new window

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Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

Posted on 5 February 2010

‘Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism’ is a new book by Melanie Joy, a social psychologist, professor, and personal coach. The book is about the psychology of meat eating, which stems from an ideology that she calls ‘carnism’.

It attempts to answer some interesting riddles in human behaviour such as:

  • Why we love some animals and eat others (selective empathy);
  • Why meat eaters tend to find the flesh of only a small handful of different animal species appetising;
  • How can otherwise humane people participate in inhumane practices;
  • What are the social and psychological mechanisms that societies use to prevent people from reflecting on their meat food choices;
  • How eating animals negatively impacts on our psychological wellbeing as well as on animals, our health, and the environment.

The book hopes to help meat eaters be more aware of the invisible guiding mechanisms that shapes their feelings and behaviours towards eating meat. The system is so entrenched that we see the world through the eyes of the system, and we see certain animals not as living beings, but as food from a very early age. And we are discouraged from examining this perspective through our lives.

She explains how we learn to trust authorities that are operating within a ‘carnistic’ framework, such as our social institutions and the professionals that represent them. These entities promote the 3 Ns of Justification – that eating meat is Normal, Natural, and Necessary. The 3 Ns are also 3 myths.

It also attempts to aid vegetarians and vegans in understanding the system that they’re working against to transform, so they can advocate and communicate with meat eaters more effectively.

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New film release ‘Planeat’ – a major on meat & dairy consumption, and the environment

Posted on 30 January 2010

‘PLANEAT: How to feed a planet’ is a British feature documentary about how food affects us and the planet and a provocative challenge to our love of meat and dairy.

Filmmakers Shelley Davies and Or Shlomi track the work of a group of leading international scientists, doctors and professors. The film forces us to confront the evidence that shows how our animal-based diets are the cause of our most challenging environmental and health problems, one which suggests that dairy products may be a cause of prevalent diseases or illnesses, including most shockingly cancer.

Having to battle against their own beliefs, and those of the institutions they worked for, they come up with a solution that will change people’s lives forever – how we can not only prevent diseases like cancer and heart diease, but also cure them.

In accordance with this scientific evidence, pioneering farmers and chefs around the world are discovering new ways to produce and prepare the food we should be eating. They show how, with a little effort, a dairy and meat free diet can be exciting and inovative, not just about lentils and rice.

The film is due out in early 2010. To view a trailer, go to: http://planeat.coOpens in a new window

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End of the meat livestock industry in sight?

Posted on 16 January 2010

We hope so …

> A technique to turn pig stem cells into strips of meat has been discovered that scientists say could one day offer a green alternative to raising livestock, help alleviate world hunger, and save some pigs their bacon.

Dutch scientists have been growing pork in the laboratory since 2006, and while they admit they haven’t gotten the texture quite right or even tasted the engineered meat, they say the technology promises to have widespread implications for our food supply.

“If we took the stem cells from one pig and multiplied it by a factor of a million, we would need one million fewer pigs to get the same amount of meat,” said Mark Post, a biologist at Maastricht University involved in the In-vitro Meat Consortium, a network of publicly funded Dutch research institutions that is carrying out the experiments.

Several other groups in the U.S., Scandinavia and Japan are also researching ways to make meat in the laboratory, but the Dutch project is the most advanced, said Jason Matheny, who has studied alternatives to conventional meat at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and is not involved in the Dutch research.

In the USA, similar research was funded by NASA, which hoped astronauts would be able to grow their own meat in space. But after growing disappointingly thin sheets of tissue, NASA gave up and decided it would be better for its astronauts to simply eat vegetarian.

To make pork in the lab, Post and colleagues isolate stem cells from pigs’ muscle cells. They then put those cells into a nutrient-based soup that helps the cells replicate to the desired number. So far the scientists have only succeeded in creating strips of meat about 1 centimeter (a half inch) long. To make a small pork chop, Post estimates it would take about 30 days of cell replication in the lab.

There are tantalizing health possibilities in the technology. Fish stem cells could be used to produce healthy omega 3 fatty acids, which could be mixed with the lab-produced pork instead of the usual artery-clogging fats found in livestock meat. “You could possibly design a hamburger that prevents heart attacks instead of causing them,” Matheny said.

Post describes the texture of the meat as sort of like scallop, firm but a little squishy and moist. That’s because the lab meat has less protein content than conventional meat. He said the strips they’ve made so far could be used as processed meat in sausages or hamburgers. Their main problem is reproducing the protein content in regular meat: In livestock meat, protein makes up about 99% of the product; the lab meat is only about 80% protein. The rest is mostly water and nucleic acids.

None of the researchers have actually eaten the lab-made meat yet, but Post said the lower protein content means it probably wouldn’t taste anything like pork.

The Dutch researchers started working with pork stem cells because they had the most experience with pigs, but said the technology should be transferable to other meats, like chicken, beef and lamb.

If it proves possible, experts say growing meat in laboratories instead of raising animals on farmland would do wonders for the environment. Hanna Tuomisto, who studies the environmental impact of food production at Oxford University said that switching to lab-produced meat could theoretically lower greenhouse gas emissions by up to 95%. Both land and water use would also drop by about 95%, she said.

“In theory, if all the meat was replaced by cultured meat, it would be huge for the environment,” she said. “One animal could produce many thousands of kilograms of meat.” In addition, lab meat can be nurtured with relatively few nutrients like amino acids, fats and natural sugars, whereas livestock must be fed huge amounts of traditional crops. Tuomisto said the technology could potentially increase the world’s meat supply and help fight global hunger, but that would depend on how many factories there are producing the lab-made meat.

Post and colleagues haven’t worked out how much the meat would cost to produce commercially, but because there would be much less land, water and energy required, he guessed that once production reached an industrial level, the cost would be equivalent to or lower than that of conventionally produced meat.

One of the biggest obstacles will be scaling up laboratory meat production to satisfy skyrocketing global demand. By 2050, the Food and Agriculture Organization predicts meat consumption will double from current levels as growing middle classes in developing nations eat more meat. “To produce meat at an industrial scale, we will need very large bioreactors, like those used to make vaccines or pasteurized milk,” said Matheny. He thought lab-produced meat might be on the market within the next few years, while Post said it could take about a decade.

For the moment, the only types of meat they are proposing to make this way are processed meats like minced meat, hamburgers or hot dogs. “As long as it’s cheap enough and has been proven to be scientifically valid, I can’t see any reason people wouldn’t eat it,” said Stig Omholt, a genetics expert at the University of Life Sciences in Norway. “If you look at the sausages and other things people are willing to eat these days, this should not be a big problem.”

Some experts warn lab-made meats might have potential dangers for human health. “With any new technology, there could be subtle impacts that need to be monitored,” said Emma Hockridge, policy manager at Soil Association, Britain’s leading organic organisation. As with genetically modified foods, Hockridge said it might take some time to prove the new technology doesn’t harm humans. She also said organic farming relies on crop and livestock rotation, and that taking animals out of the equation could damage the ecosystem.

Some experts doubted lab-produced meat could ever match the taste of real meat. “What meat tastes like depends not just on the genetics, but what you feed the animals at particular times,” said Peter Ellis, a biochemistry expert at King’s College London. “Part of our enjoyment of eating meat depends on the very complicated muscle and fat structure…whether that can be replicated is still a question.”

By Maria Cheng, AP Medical Writer

If meat was grown in laboratories would you eat it? Do you think that vegans and vegetarians would consider to switch to eat cruelty-free meat too?

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