back to article PETA offers $1m for test tube chicken

PETA, the US Animal rights organization, is challenging scientists to create test-tube meat for a cash reward, in a similar vein as X Prize Foundation. PETA announced today it will offer $1m to an organization that can successfully create and market "in vitro meat," i.e. muscle tissue grown without the pesky animal attached. To …

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Ridiculous

Not taking too many risks, are they? A 4 years limit to MASS PRODUCE and sell at a COMPETITIVE PRICE? If it was anywhere in the realm of the possible, it would have been done long ago.

All right, here's my challenge:

- The prize is 100 billion dollars (100'000'000'000$)

- The goal is to find a way to reverse global warming

- The time limit is next Sunday

- Oh, it has to be cheap, too

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Coat

Cult of the Non-Dead Cow

Where is the X-prize to develop non-animal derived insulin so that the head of PETA doesn't have to harm animals in order to have the insulin she requires to continue living?

I'll get my coat, we're going for steaks.

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Coppertop

And they could hook up billions of these slabs of meat a la Matrix and power the world!

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Paris Hilton

Ok

I must ask the obvious. If we were not meant to eat meat, why were all those animals made so delicious?

And where is the Paris Hilton angle? oh the meat bit...nevermind...

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Alien

So this...

Is what PETA wants the future of chicken farming to look like?

http://www.alienscollection.com/cerneykit.jpg

No thanks, I prefer the old fashioned, farm raised Chicken, thank you very much!

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Vegetarian "Chicken" Dish

umm... how exactly do you have a Vegetarian "Chicken" Dish? Is that like having a big chicken dish but only eating the salad on the side? Or is it more along the lines of licking the side of as living chicken to get that chicken flavour?

Either way, who would want to eat a non-vegetarian dish prepared by a devoted vegetarian?

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Dead Vulture

Alert Hollywood

We have here the makings of an excellent B grade Sci Fi flick, as a batch of chicken stem cells is accidentally flushed down the drain. From that point on its development is influenced by DNA from various sources that it encounters on its journey through the sewer, finally evolving into an enormous, underground sentient lifeform that devours anyone who uses a toilet. (Did I mention it was B grade?)

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Boffin

Done and Done

@ratfox

Massive seeding of the oceans with photosynthetic algae. (There is no requirement in your competition that I have to actually do it, just "find a way").

Waits patiently for money to be transferred...

@joe_bruin

Insulin was the first protein to be produced from bacterial vat cultures to be purified and sold in a commercial environment. We have been producing it without the help of animals for decades. (Other than that, nice call!)

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Paris Hilton

Have fun with that

And while we are at, lets make a lion that eats tofu and a shark that eats algae. Maybe all that vitamin B-12 they haven't been getting is affecting their brain. After all, these are the same bunch that thought we needed to encourage college kids to have a beer instead of milk. Yeah, college kids overdosing on milk, that is a problem of epic proportions.

(Paris because I think even SHE has more sense than PETA.)

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People like her

.people like her need to live %100 by what they stand for. No products derived from or tested on animals.

So no vaccine , No medicines .

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Paris Hilton

technosteak yes please

Well, despite the overwhelming majority of meatards on the reg, I'm with Peta on this one. It's nigh on two decades since I had a good steak - I'm not prepared to kill a cow, but boy, I could murder a steak. I reckon one day meat from animals will be seen in the same way as rape and slavery - a relic of our caveman genes that we have to overcome to be truly civilized. We'd have done it centuries ago if meat didn't taste so good. Have you noticed that no-one offers prizes for bacon that looks and tastes like lettuce?

Paris, because her admirers know a thing or two about beating meat.

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Rawr!

Actually I forsee a situation like in "I am Legend" or "28 Days Later". People eat genetically engineered meat, contract strange body-changing illness, lose all social etiquette and start eating each other.

As for PETA, well you have to say that deriding anyone who eats the meat from animals but then pumping your veins full of a medicine developed through years of testing on animals is more than a little hypocritical.

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Coat

Who's First on The Dinner Guest List?

I'm assuming the testers will be PeTA employees, right?

Mmm...ingesting untested vat-grown organic materials...

Yum.

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I hate these sanctimonious bastards

Soylent green.

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@Wade Burchette

That reminds me of a Far Side cartoon... it showed a bunch of disgusted looking lions around this carcass made out of big cubes and rectangular extruded legs, and had a caption something like, "The lions soon realized their mistake in bringing down the Tofudebeest".

And, of course, as the saying goes, if we're not supposed to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat?

Agreed with Ratfox, though. This would be a good idea if it was the for the first team to generate edible tubemeat in significant quantities. The aforesaid restrictions are, however... onerous.

In other news, Firefox knows 'aforesaid'. Not bad.

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JK
Go

Re: People like her

Agreed!

Then natural selection can take over and we won't have PETA anymore! :D

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@ Iglethal

They can do a lot with tofu these days... chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, squid - not the same as the real thing, but the taste and texture are pretty close.

@ kain preacher

So, no flu vaccine (taken from chicken eggs), no contact lenses (tested on rabbits), no cellphones (radiation tested on animals), nothing made of wool, no bug repellents (tested on insects). Almost every synthetic chemical has been tested on animals for either efficacy or toxicity.

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Pirate

How will they know?

"Produce an in vitro chicken-meat product that has a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh to non-meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike"

How will the non-meat-eaters know? "Tastes like chicken" only works when the person doing the tasting has eaten real chickens.

Let them eat tofu!

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Anonymous Coward

@joe

They have had synthetic human insulin now for many years it's not made from animals. Brand name Humulin.

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Twilight Zone

Reading the title & subject matter of this publicity stunt reminds me of a certain 1980's (colour, not the original black/white) Twilight Zone episode "The Elevator" where two brothers go and try to find their father in his warehouse type lab and discover he's been working on a growth serum, in one part of the building they find this mass of meat which has been grown for food (or something), it looked pretty disgusting.

I wouldn't want to eat "test tube meat", it sounds like something out of a sci-fi horror movie, the idea kinda makes my skin crawl.

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Coat

The chicken with three legs

One day a famer decided to breed three legged chickens. This came to the ears of a journalist who promptly set out to check this story. After some digging the journalist found the farmer and promptly arranged an interview.

Journalist : My good man , can you shed some light on what prompted you to this undertaking ?

Farmer. Well , Both my wife, my son and i really like the chicken drumsticks. The problem is when we prepare one chicken we are one leg short. When we prepare two chickens we have too much and have to throw some of it away , which is a real waste. So this is what got me started.

Journalist : And are they like any other chicken ? I mean they taste the same ?

Farmer. I couldn't tell you ..

Journalist : why not ?

Farmer : Wih those three legs they run so bloody fast one can't even catch them...

mine's the soylent-chicken one ...

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Pirate

Peta why not just eat the meat they kill?

Why are they wanting people to produce meat? Their last campaign was titled " Meat is Murder ".

This was aimed at parents saying that feeding children meat was equivalent to murder.

Talking of murder there is one thing they don't want you to know....

check out the link http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

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JB

Eat humans

mmmm chinese. Maybe a big yank, dripping in fat. Yum.

pros

Population problems sorted and we can have more sex.

Obesity solved (fat *ucks should be easier to catch)

Teenage pregnancy, UK would be world leader.

I would reccomend John Prescots liver, he has been force feeding himself for quite some time.

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Pointless prize.

How bloody stupid is this? Frankly if someone was able to produce the product the wish, that tasted perfectly like chicken and was commercially viable(i.e. as cheap or cheaper to produce than chicken) they are going to make so much money that the million prize will seem like chump change. Vat grown protein I think is still hovering somewhere over 10k a kilo last I heard.

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@ Andy Worth

What you foresee already exists - it's called the USA.

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Coat

PETA

Good to see that they're trying to live up to their acronym:

People

Eat

Tasty

Animals

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Boffin

Meatfruit!

Biggest problem would be getting any such creation past the horribly-conservative regulatory authorities - hell, we've been trying for the last decade to get them to approve ordinary GM food.

Me? I'll pluck tasty poultry-products from my vast orchards of MeatFruit(tm) trees just as soon as I can work out a way to stop the foxies and buzzards getting there first.

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Pirate

So

All the hippies are dead set against genetically modified crops because of worries about mutation\unexpected interaction with other species\damage to the eco system etc but they're all for the idea of genetically modified meat.

Double standards?

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Joke

Volunteers Please.

If the PETA fanatics want to be so right-on, why don't THEY volunteer for slaughter.

They do say human flesh "tastes like chicken" after all!

That said, there's probably not that much eatin' in your average malnourished lentil muncher anyhoo.

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Alien

@Jacob

Soylent green. The miracle food of high-energy plankton gathered from the oceans of the world.

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Interesting

Funny how a lot of people think vegetarians should live up to their principles 100%, but anyone pro-human rights (I'm guessing most of you?) can buy cheap clothing (made by well-paid adults in countries famous for treating their workers correctly), cell phones (with coltan, mined by well-treated miners in conflict-free Congo), put their money in a big bank (which will of course never invest in the giant weapons industry) etc.

Just something to think about. You can never live 100% to your principles, but that doesn't mean you should have any.

Apart from that, I still think it's a strange idea.

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Jon

no more animals

but if we don't eat animals then we won't need to keep them so all the food animals will never get a chance to live

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Insane...

...purely on the basis of economics. If this were possible on a industrial scale, it would mean massive farm bankruptcies, and an ever increasing firm grip held by massive international food manufacturers (cough*nestle*cough). If it was cheap enough to sell in third world countries it would destroy whatever agricultural economies they have.

Environmentally I have to believe that it would take a similar or greater amount of energy to produce this test tube meat, especially given that it may have to be transported over greater distances than "traditional" meat, having a net increase effect on global warming.

It makes far more sense to try and regulate animals minimum living conditions more carefully, as it's not only PETA bait, but just begging to have further health problems enter the meat lovers world. Something worse than CJD perhaps?

If you're a vegetarian, you probably just don't like meat, so you don't eat it. If you're not, then you do, so you do. Let's just leave it at that, eh?

PS: I hate those PETA nutters, and i've been a vegetarian almost all my life.

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As an (almost) veggie

To me it's very simple. If you eat meat (and I eat fish) you make sure that the animals you eat have been brought up in good descent healthy conditions and then killed humanely. That's it, that's all you need to do. Don't eat the £1.50 factory farmed chicks that have been brought up in miserable conditions, then throw half of the meat away as happens all to offen. Wait a bit, have some meals without meat* and have good meat whenever you eat it.

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Nev
Bronze badge

Insulin

PETA (the terrorist funding "charity") is against animal testing of any kind.

They have a VP (Mary Beth Sweetland) who is a diabetic and requires insulin.

She is quoted as saying: "I don't see myself as a hypocrite. I need my life to fight for the rights of animals."

I think it's valid to raise the awareness about this animals-first, we-hate-humans, terrorist funding hypocrites.

Anyway, they're barking up the wrong tree, they need to put up money

for research into Herakleophorbia IV.

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Just eat PETA

That's what we do with any other herbivore that can't be put to useful work.

And just think of all the innocent animals that will be saved by being kept away from PETA - who execute over 90% of the animals that they "rescue".

http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

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Happy

Please, please guys, don't knock PETA

They have some of the world's best adverts. Especially the anti-fur ones where they show many (female) stars in the buff protesting against the wearing of fur !! I have a complete collection of that !! I will encourage them and ask for more of the same !!

Letching aside, if I were to vat-grow any meat, I'd start with lobsters. Since they are a lower evolutionary order of animals than chickens, they should be easier to grow in the VAT. And have you checked the latest prices of shellfish ?? Meanwhile Tesco flogs chickens at 2 for a fiver !!

Alternatively, I could vat-grow brains !! Whoever thought(?) up this prize(?) is in serious need of some and might pay well for that privilege !!

I can't find an icon with a leer so a smiley one will do !!

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Go

Pro technosteak too!

I've been vegan for about 6 years, I'm perfectly healthy (except for some amazing wind) and I'd love to eat some cruelty free meat. The substitutes are getting better all the time, but generally miss out on that x-factor that real meat has - It is just so damn tasty and has an amazing texture.

This is obvoiusly a ludicrous promotional campaign by PETA, but they generally do seem to be about LOUD NOISES without much substance... Still if something even better than the amazing food I'm already eating lands on my plate in four years, I'll be pretty happy.

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Dead Vulture

Hmm...

What do they think's going to happen to all the surplus chickens once we don't want them for meat?

Is the extinction of a species better than causing it to live through pain?

Obviously, I'm assuming that any successes result in synthetic meat that's cheaper than real chicken.

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Dead Vulture

Douglas Adams got it right:

Instead of worrying about the issue, why don't they cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wants to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly.

(Restaurant at the end of the universe)

Dead vulture, cos it'll "Taste like chicken"

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Paris Hilton

Quornflakes

The idea of test-tube meat is not at all crazy. Many people like to eat meat and yet the meat they eat is often processed to the point of being astronaut food. I remember being talked at by an American "turkey farmer" who was explaining how the turkeys go in one side of his factory and powdered turkey comes out the other side in boxes. Turkey Twizzler anyone?

Farming chickens is a wasteful process because evolution desigend chickens to survive, not to taste good. If we can just get chicken cells to produce tasty muscle meat alone, then we can do away with all the bone, feathers, offal and other unnecessary structural items.

However, as has already been pointed out, PETA's prize money is chicken feed compared to the commercial rewards available.

Paris - Because I suspect she's not 100% natural

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soylent chicken

Interestingly if successful this would also benefit the worlds food shortage since animals gobble up so much grain, "760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of humans to feed animals - which could cover the global food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat less meat." (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/15/food.biofuels). Then on top of that if viable and done with cows rather than chickens it would also reduce global warming by stopping all those smelly farts. But unfortunately as others have pointed out by asking it to be competitive after only 4 years, its a bit unfair. Then again who knows how desperate vegetarians are to eat this stuff, a 10x premium could seem cheep.

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Coat

@ Ratfox

"

All right, here's my challenge:

- The prize is 100 billion dollars (100'000'000'000$)

- The goal is to find a way to reverse global warming

- The time limit is next Sunday

- Oh, it has to be cheap, too"

simple. Capture all the warm air above the Antartic in plastic bags, then let the hot air inside carry them through the hole in the oxone layer! Result!

I'll forgo any prize giving ceremony, and instead of an oversized cheque you can write me an I.O.U on the back of the £20 note.

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Anonymous Coward

Good comments here

1)Milk/beer. At my uni milk was half the price of the beer and at the time I didn't like beer so drank mostly milk, lots of it, around 3 litres a day. Maybe it's why I left uni with money in the bank and could actually remember what I did.

2)Meat needs bones to make a good stock. I usually cook curry with bone in meat. Much cheaper and better tasting.

3)I have family who work in farming. I want them to keep their jobs producing food and not hand it over to some multinational food generator.

4)Better use of some animals we already have. eg Male cows in the UK, other than the lucky stock bull, are simply shot and thrown at 2 days because there is no market for veal. This is not the same as crated animals but if we could let the animals live a little longer then sell the meat it's less waste.

Go back to old style orchards and apple trees, nicer fruit and keep pigs around them. More expensive to pick but losses made up in nice free range porkers.

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Flame

eating fish

Could someone explain how dragging a live animal out of it's natural habitat on a line or in a net and then leaving it to suffocate on the deck of a ship before gutting it is humane?

BTW I do eat meat and fish, it's tasty.

But the "eating animals is cruel, so I just eat fish" argument, p*sses me off.

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Flame

Bunch of hypocrites, the whole load of them...

That air of moral superiority by PETA & Co has gone beyond a joke. In fact, it is a textbook case of licensed bigotry, where the "others" are morally/cuturally/evolutionarily inferior and "we" are entitled to dictate a way of life to them.

No price for guessing who was the most famous vegetarian ever in the history of the western world.

Really, if they are so keen to eat genetically engineered, tube-grown shit, let them go ahead and do so -it's their stomachs and they can do whatever the hell they want with them. What is annoying is that they would really like to enfore the above mentioned genetically engineered, tube-grown shit, into the stomachs of the rest of us. Vegetarianism is an eating disorder, get over it!

Besides, everybody knows that cute animals taste better.

Coat please! (mine's the genuine leather one...)

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Pirate

Bob the Angry Flower...

... was doing this years ago. He also did a sideline in human flesh that wasn't really cannibalism.

http://www.angryflower.com/meatsh.html

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Ru

Hypocrisy

It is a little sad that hypocrisy is considered to be a far worse thing than at least *attemping* to make a moral stand. It is seen as far better to be totally amoral, and to take no stand at all. (thankyou, Diamond Age. Go read it if you haven't).

I'll eat veal and foie gras, but not battery farmed chicken, for example. OMG hypocrit (sic) you might say, but factory farming is not only a far, far more unpleasant process than the production of either of those two, it also produces decidedly disappointing products.

If the PETA boss does manage to improve the lot of cute animals across the world at the expense of a few litres of insulin, then she's done well. Attack PETA because of the stupid things it does (there's no shortage of those!) but not because of the proclivities of its management.

The problem is that we demand far more meat than is practical to farm in 'nice' ways, and we demand it at a cost which is rather impractical to sustain without these rather unsavoury production methods. Moreover, the production of meat is quite inefficient, enerywise, compared to growing edible crops on the same land. Historically, you'd farm animals on land which could not be used for grains or veggies. LIvestock can process grass into things which are actually nice to eat after all.

If synthetic meat becomes practical, thats great. The world could benefit from cheap and widely available protein, and all sorts of less desirable farming practices can be stopped. But what are the chances of s'meat being a) cheaper b) just as nutritious c) actually accepted by consumers (its far more deserving of the label 'frankenfood' than GM wheat, or whatever) and finally d) being less destructive to the environment?

Pretty slim, I'd say.

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Psssst.

Soylent Green is made of people.

Pass it on.

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Anonymous Coward

Chicken in a basket.

S'Obvious innit! Chicken in a jar!

> * Produce an

> in vitro

In a jar.

>chicken-meat product

It's a chicken.

>that has a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh

It's a chicken.

>to non-meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike

Since when were non-meat-eaters the arbiters of what a chicken tastes like?

> * Manufacture the approved product in large enough quantities to be sold

> commercially, and successfully sell it at a competitive price in at least 10 states."

Might be able to squeeze more in a shed than battery chickens and the disease risk should be lower because they can't really move much.

So they could be dirt cheap.

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