Paul Shapiro: 10 Ways the Clean Meat Movement Will Change the World

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( — July 28, 2020) —

Paul Shapiro is the author of the nationally best-selling book Clean Meat, which was released in 2018. He is a longtime leader in food sustainability and is the CEO of The Better Meat Co. Additionally, he is the host of the Business for Good Podcast and has been the speaker for four separate TEDx seminars.


The premise of Paul Shapiro’s book is that clean meat (which is meat grown from actual animal cells) will eventually replace or at least heavily compete with factory farms where chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals are raised and treated in alarming ways. Here are ten ways in which Paul Shapiro points out that the “Clean Meat Movement” will change the world and change the ways humans consume food.


The Second Domestication


Paul Shapiro talks about how humans began domesticating wild animals for food through the concept of keeping livestock, and now there is a trend of the Second Domestication. This wave of Second Domestication refers to domesticating animals’ cells and leaving the animals themselves out of the equation. Meat can then be grown out of the animal cells into all kinds of authentic meat products humans consume every day.


Less Animal Cruelty


People will realize the level of animal cruelty that is a direct result of factory farms. Much of the work of the Clean Meat Movement is getting people to realize that cruelty is occurring every day in all kinds of ways in factory farms. For example, there have been many cases of underfed, malnourished, and overcrowded caged chickens, which leads to mass deaths. There have also been cases of feeding dead piglets back to pigs in an effort to increase immunity to dangerous viruses and diseases than infect and kill pigs. These are just a scratch on the surface of what kind of evil acts occur in factory farms.

Paul Shapiro Cow

Respect for the Animals as Pets


People may treat livestock animals as real pets. As time goes on and hopefully as there is a reduction in factory farms, people may begin to see keeping cows, pigs, and chickens as pets a reality, rather than as a source of food. This already occurs in the United States and around the world but may gain traction even more as people are turned onto the idea of clean meat versus killing live animals for food.


Becoming Comfortable with Eating Clean Meat


People will become comfortable eating lab-grown meat. Lab-grown meat has become better and better over the years. The more people try eating lab-grown meat, the less they can distinguish a difference between the lab-grown meat and meat that is the product of a slaughtered animal. This only provides more hope for the future in terms of getting people to ditch meat products from live animals. With the increasing innovations in lab-grown meat, people will be able to consume nearly any kind of meat they desire (within due time of course).


Slowing Climate Change


Greenhouse gas emissions will go down. One of the main causes of the negative greenhouse gas effects on our atmosphere comes from cows. When cows belch and flatulate, they release methane into the atmosphere. It was found that methane from livestock accounts for roughly 39% of all greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Out of that statistic, 55% of methane emissions come from beef cattle alone. As more and more cows are brought into the world to satisfy humans’ beef cravings, the number of methane emissions will only arise. Again, this points out the importance of humans shifting to clean meat, because it will cut down on the amount of methane sent into the Earth’s atmosphere and will help prolong a healthy atmosphere for all living creatures on Earth.


Healthier Humans


People will be healthier if they eat less meat. Eating less meat or cutting out meat from your diet can have a variety of health benefits, including decreasing the chance of heart disease, stroke, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and many types of cancer. Meat often has high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, and processed meats such as salami, bacon, and sausage have significant amounts of sodium.


Saving Money


Money will be saved by eating less meat. What is interesting is that Americans now eat nearly 10% less meat per capita than they did in 2007, and it has been saving them money. The cost for meat, dairy, and eggs has been steadily rising over the past few decades and it has reflected upon our wallets. As Paul Shapiro points outs, “It’s no secret that vegetarian foods are far less resource-intensive than the breeding and slaughtering of animals… meat-free options are often so much more affordable.” Vegetarian options are often much cheaper than meat-based entrees at restaurants. Buying fruits and vegetables at the grocery store will almost always reflect more savings than buying meat options, fresh or frozen.


Less Wasted Food


Less food will be wasted if more people invest in clean meat. Food is thrown out everywhere – in homes by consumers, at factories due to surplus, and at restaurants and grocery stores due to waste or spoilage. Factory farms around the world cause so much food to be wasted, which is one reason people call animal farms “protein factories in reverse.” The reason for this nickname can be seen in this statistic: a chicken needs about nine calories of feed for one calorie of edible meat in return. Considerable amounts of feed grain are required to produce meat, and that grain is grown on land that could otherwise be dedicated to growing crops for human consumption. Essentially, if humans consumed less live animals for their meat needs, then fewer crops would need to be grown to perpetuate the cycle of raising animals and then killing them, leading to less food waste overall.

Paul Shapiro Sustainable Farm

Feeding the Impoverished


Food will be more sustainable around the Earth helping to feed more people. As Paul Shapiro has said, “As global population and demand for meat grow hand in hand, there is an enormous toll placed on the planet, public health, and certainly the animals themselves.” The goal is to cut down on the number of live animals needed to continue meat consumption around the world. Shapiro believes that “By 2025, I think there will be plant-based beef that is as cheap as meat-based, and we’ll start seeing the first clean meat grown from animal cells hitting the market too.” The cheaper plant-based meat and lab-grown meat becomes, the more it can be distributed to people in especially third-world countries in order to feed malnourished children and adults. Tying in with the idea of the Second Domestication, Paul Shapiro foresees the solution: “While our ancestors domesticated wild animals into livestock by breeding them over thousands and thousands of years, we are now beginning to domesticate the cells themselves – and a whole lot faster, one may add. Eventually, you could feed an entire village from one single cell of a cow.”


Avoid Future Pandemics


We can help avoid future pandemics. Much of the problem lies in cramming hundreds or thousands of animals together in small, confined areas. When these animals are in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, alarming health hazards can arise. Not only can diseases then spread from animal to animal, but diseases can then spread from the animals to humans which can cause a pandemic of sorts. The terrible COVID-19 outbreak that is happening right now is thought to have begun because a coronavirus was spread from what many researchers believe to be a bat that was then consumed by a human in Wuhan, China. This is not the result of factory farming; however, it can be seen as a product of poor meat regulation and also humans’ reliance on all kinds of meat consumption.


Clean Meat, Cleaner Future


As is evident through research, there are a plethora of hypotheses regarding the impact that investing in Clean Meat will have on humans, animals, and the future of the Earth. If we begin to transition from eating slaughtered animals to eating meat that is grown from animal cells, the results could be so beneficial that humans never turn back. We could achieve more respect for animals, achieve better health for ourselves, feed more people around the globe, save more money, help maintain and slow down climate change, avoid future pandemics, and waste less food overall.


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