Reports from many quarters tell us the near future of meat lies in labs. Real, live animals — apart from the few needed to harvest cells from — won’t be a part of it. When the going gets tough, you can rely on big business to find a way to offer a solution — and cash in. 

On the face of it, there are good reasons why the idea of synthetic protein has been embraced. It’s no news to anyone that industrialised meat production is bad news environmentally: it has a huge emissions footprint (though this is generally grossly overestimated) and uses up masses of land. If we’re talking feedlot beef — the main environmental bugbear — things look increasingly untenable. The lab version, as Memphis Meats and others like them tell us, will neatly conjure up the protein to keep us all fed, without these problems.

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