In the last couple of decades the global production and consumption of meat have increased rapidly. According to the Worldwatch Institute, worldwide meat production has tripled in the last four decades and increased 20 percent in just the last 10 years – with developed countries eating nearly double the quantity of those in the developing world.
Now, consider the environmental impact of animal farming and production – all of the inputs that go into keeping an animal alive, well and ready for slaughter so that it can be put onto our plates. Large-scale meat production is having serious implications for the world’s climate. Animal waste releases methane and nitrous oxide, greenhouse gases that are 25 and 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, respectively.
About 40% of the world’s land surface is used to keep all of us fed. And the vast majority of that land – about 30% of the word’s total ice-free surface – is used not to raise grains, fruits and vegetables that are directly fed to human beings, but to support the chickens, pigs and cattle that we eventually eat.
Livestock production, which includes meat, milk and eggs, contributes 40% of global agricultural gross domestic product, provides income for more than 1.3 billion people and uses one-third of the world’s fresh water. There may be no other single human activity that has a bigger impact on the planet than the raising of livestock.
So, what to do about this situation?
Well, we meet a company this week that plans to use tissue engineering technology developed within the bio-medicine industry, to transform how protein is produced for food consumption.
As you’re about to find out from Illtud Dunsford, founder of Cellular Agriculture, this is a business at an incredible early stage. But it is a venture that will not only turn its back on a way of life for his family farm business that has been in existence for more than 300 years, but something which has the ability turn our food system completely on its head by promoting the concept of lab-grown meats.
You can find out more about Illtud Dunsford and Cellular Agriculture by visiting the Clean + Cool website at www.cleanandcool.com where you will also find out more about 19 other amazing companies on the cusp of greatness, including our guests Aceleron from last week.