What do you think — meat grows on trees? Maybe not, but how about in Petri dishes? Scientists in the Netherlands and the United States are working (separately) to create edible meat in the lab from animal stem cells. The U.S. is focusing on developing the technology for astronauts, while the Dutch are more ambitious: They'd like to replace the animals raised in farms with flesh that can be grown without any of the environmental downsides and ethical dilemmas that arise from keeping livestock. Think of all the vegans who could start eating meat again without any guilt! True, if we stop raising cows and pigs, Vermonters won't be able to power their homes on cow dung, but that seems a small price to pay if the synthetic meat can benefit the environment on a larger scale.
The scientists working on the project have grown only thin layers of meat cells so far, so Easter hams will be some years away. But the success of the project would bring up a thornier question: Which would you rather eat — meat grown in a lab, or Spam?