Ribeye without killing cows?

Marcos Hernandez Article

A joint venture between Israel’s Institute of Technology and Aleph Farms created ribeye steak using 3D printing. They claim it’s the world’s first “slaughter free” streak.

For vegetarians for ethical reasons, instead of for dietary concerns, meat might be back on the menu.

The synthetic meat was grown by seeding bovine cells onto a substrate, where they proliferated until the result was indistinguishable from a real ribeye steak. It includes both muscle and fat found in the cut.

This isn’t the first time Aleph Farms grew bovine cells: they did it on the International Space Station in 2019.

This reminds me of “The Fifth Element,” a sci-fi movie classic. There is a scene where the alien visitor puts a small pill/token into a bowl, puts it into a microwave-looking device, presses a button, and out pops a whole chicken.

What if the movie showed the right idea but made it a touch too fast? In a futuristic story, let’s give every home a 3D printer and an ample supply of various types of meat cells: chicken, beef, pork, and fish.

In this world, the population of animals formerly used as meat sources would drastically reduce. Not because they’re slaughtered, but because as the tech became more widely used, the breeding requirements disappeared. Pigs, cows, and chickens are relegated to zoos.

There are zones where the elites can afford this technology, and outside these sequestered areas, the more impoverished populations still engage in small-scale farming.

The main character is a young girl who isn’t content with her life inside the zone and makes her way into the “wild,” where she discovers—and is horrified—with the killing of animals.

While there, she befriends another young girl and has a hard time squaring how someone who seems so normal can eat slaughtered animals. Over subsequent visits, she realizes that the people don’t kill animals because they want to, it’s because they have to if they want meat for their meals.

The world outside the zones is more community-focused and offers love and warmth not seen inside the zones. The girl from the zone is torn between her desire for community and disgust with their way of life.

Over time, the truth comes out that there is a deliberate attempt of the zone’s leaders to ostracize the more impoverished people by limiting their access to the synthetic meat. They claim to care about the animals but continue creating a stratified society where the less-fortunate are treated like beasts and driven to the fringe.

The friend from outside visits the zone and teaches the girl’s family about the true meaning of community. Throughout the first story, the community mindset infects the entire location until the new girl discovers the leaders still eat organic meat, and they kick her out of the sanctuary.

This creates the villain in the second story: the outside girl is determined to get back inside and bring everyone. They end up taking over the zone and distributing the technology into the surrounding area when they find vast reserves of the machines and cells required for synthetic meat.

Following books would be about the ever-larger forces trying to put a lid on the technological spread, and the series would culminate with everyone enjoying access to the technology.

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