Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates recently stated that he believes “rich countries,” such as the United States and western Europe, should switch to eating 100 percent synthetic beef.
Synthetic or Cultured Beef is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then feed and nurture the cells with chemicals so they multiply to create muscle tissues, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It comes out looking and feeling exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow.
In a recent interview with the MIT Technology Review, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates discussed his environmental impact efforts and various green initiatives aimed at reducing global carbon emissions. One suggestion Gates proposed was for wealthy and developed nations to move entirely to synthetic beef in efforts to reduce the carbon emissions from livestock.
Explaining the suggestion, Gates told the MIT Tech Review:
For Africa and other poor countries, we’ll have to use animal genetics to dramatically raise the amount of beef per emissions for them. Weirdly, the US livestock, because they’re so productive, the emissions per pound of beef are dramatically less than emissions per pound in Africa. And as part of the [Bill and Melinda Gates] Foundation’s work, we’re taking the benefit of the African livestock, which means they can survive in heat, and crossing in the monstrous productivity both on the meat side and the milk side of the elite US beef lines.
So no, I don’t think the poorest 80 countries will be eating synthetic meat. I do think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time. Eventually, that green premium is modest enough that you can sort of change the [behavior of] people or use regulation to totally shift the demand.
So for meat in the middle-income-and-above countries, I do think it’s possible. But it’s one of those ones where, wow, you have to track it every year and see, and the politics [are challenging]. There are all these bills that say it’s got to be called, basically, lab garbage to be sold. They don’t want us to use the beef label.
Despite what seems like an outlandish proposal, Gates seems confident that meat alternatives will continue to grow in popularity in developed nations, stating: “Now the people like Memphis Meats who do it at a cellular level — I don’t know that that will ever be economical. But Impossible and Beyond have a road map, a quality road map, and a cost road map, that makes them totally competitive.”
Read more at the MIT Technology Review here.