Some say lab grown meat is vegan, and some say it’s not.
I’ll quickly break down both sides of the argument, and whether they hold up under closer scrutiny.
Do Animals Suffer for Lab Grown Meat
Stem cells are needed to start the cultured tissue process and “grow” the meat.
In theory, it’s possible to obtain stem cells from animals without hurting them. However, this is a slow and limited process.
If you’re aiming to replace the world’s supply of meat with lab grown meat, it’s not going to be feasible any time soon.
In reality, most companies that produce lab grown meat will still hurt animals.
Dr. Mark Post is one of the leading scientists working on improving the lab grown meat process. Years ago he cleared up what to expect on this issue:
Eventually my vision is that you have a limited herd of donor animals in the world that you keep in stock and that you get your cells from
Way fewer animals will be hurt than they are right now, but the process will still include slaughter, and animals will still suffer.
The other issue is that fetal bovine serum (FBS) is currently the leading option for a growth medium.
It’s extracted from baby calves in a painful process that kills that calves.
There are alternatives, and I expect this is an issue that can be “solved” in a cruelty-free way, so it’s the donor animal issue that’s the real sticking point.
Some Lab Grown Meat May Be Vegan
It’s clear that most lab grown meat will not be vegan friendly.
Animals will still suffer, although way less than current standards.
However, it is possible to make lab grown meat that is free of cruelty and vegan friendly.
Depending on demand, it’s possible that a company makes lab grown meat that most would agree is vegan, it’ll just be much more expensive than the widely available commercial options.