• Question: What are your views on the new 'grown' burgers. Are they really suitable for vegetarians?

    Asked by inazuma to Cassie, Karen, Sofia, Tommy on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Cassandra Raby

      Cassandra Raby answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Oooh I like this question – mainly because I am vegetarian so I think about this kind of stuff quite a lot.

      So if you want a little background on how they make these burgers then there’s a good video here:

      So the burgers are made from stem cells – which are easy to collect from cows without them dying.

      So whether vegetarians like it probably depends on why the person is vegetarian.

      1) I know some veggies that just don’t like the taste of meat, so I doubt they would like it. To be honest I’m not a huge fan of the taste either.. but I don’t hate it and meat is a good source of iron and protein.
      2) So some people are veggie because they don’t like how animals are treated, and don’t like the fact the animal has to die. So isn’t this a perfect answer…? Well yes. No animals were hurt in the making. Although some people just hate the idea of using animals at all (like vegans) – so the would be aware that this is still from an animal even if it didn’t die… and so they probably won’t eat it.
      3) Meat is expensive – and being veggie is cheaper… so this wouldn’t make people who are veggie to save money to eat this… it’s currently pretty expensive research!
      4) And what about people like me that are veggie because of conservation reasons? Well it takes less energy, less greenhouse gas emissions, much less land use… and it impacts wildlife much less. So this alternative is pretty perfect. Potentially if the research improves then it’ll be cheaper and even more efficient.. and I am all for this!

    • Photo: Thomas Doherty-Bone

      Thomas Doherty-Bone answered on 21 Nov 2013:

      I am more concerned with where they will get the resources to feed the cells to grow the burgers – its too early for them to say how they will manage it, given they have been working out how to grow the cells in the first place.

      I have no problems with killing animals as long as they have been treated well and killed humanely. I do have issues with consumption of animals if they are mistreated, if their exploitation is unsustainable or if the rearing of animals causes other environmental problems. I have thus in the past practised veganism in event rearing of large livestock becomes prohibited due to sustainability issues – it ain’t that bad! I think this application will be useful for growing other animal tissues that have bigger ethical dilemmas, such as fur, leather and feathers for garments.

      Definitely gonna have a good chew on one of them new burgers though 😉