Author, Business for Good Podcast host, and The Better Meat Co. CEO Paul Shapiro joins Earth911 to explain prospects for clean meat made from fungi, animal cell cultures, and plant-based proteins. The future of meat will involve far fewer animals raised on inhumane industrial farms, which are known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or “CAFOs.” In a CAFO, animals are packed into small spaces polluted by their own waste; it’s a horrible life that ends in terror.
Better Meat has developed fungi-based protein, called Rhiza, that can augment beef, chicken, pork, turkey, fish, and shellfish in recipes, lowering our own environmental impact and reducing the cruel treatment of animals. But the story only starts there. Paul explains how cultured meats grown from animals cells — known as clean meat — is more sanitary. It is not exposed to viscera and fecal matter during slaughter because there is no slaughter. And it can be produced at a large scale within the decade.
Paul argues that we need to stop subsidizing meat production and fund more research into meat alternatives. Like Big Oil, Big Meat has an unfair advantage that can be turned toward incentives for clean meat. Meat consumption is on the rise globally and in the U.S. we consume 9 billion chickens, 32.2 million cattle, 241.7 million turkeys, and 121 million hogs annually, according to the North American Meat Institute. That’s about 100 billion pounds of meat annually. By contrast, clean meat alternatives still account for less than 1% of the meat sold in the U.S.
There’s a long road ahead, and this interview is an opportunity to meet an early leader in the post-industrial meat movement. Want to learn more? Paul’s Tedx talks and Business for Good Podcast are great places to start.