A group of American scientists and designers have recently come up with a rather ingenious and uncomfortable concept.Growing steak at home made from your own human cells.
The invention has been labelled Ouroboros Steak and there’s a very good reason why you don’t feel like eating it...It’s because you’re not supposed to (we’re also pretty sure that would count as cannibalism to some degree).
The literalman-made steak was actually created as an art piece to trigger a conversation geared towards the meat industry.
The Ouroboros Steak could, in theory, be made by a diner in the comfort of their home. All they would need to do is use cells taken from the inside of their cheek and then feed the cells a serum derived from expired, dominated blood.
The art piece consists of small bite, sized pieces of steak and is currently on display at the Beazley Designs of the Year competition in London.
The steak was developed without harming any animals in the process and developers hope that their creation sparks a conversation about the selection of cultured animal meat made from an animal’s cells.
This is because the neo meat industry is becoming more and more reliant on the use of FBS, otherwise known as Fetal Bovine Serum. The protein-rich liquid helps grow the cells into meat but is derived in some rather unpleasant ways.
The serum is ultimately sourced from the blood of calf fetuses and taken from mother cows are killed in the meat and dairy fields.
FBS also comes at quite a heavy price, at £300 to £700 per litre. Scientist Andrew Pelling told Dezeen that the serum ‘costs significant amounts of money and the lives of animals’. He continued:
Although some lab-grown meat companies are claiming to have solved this problem, to our knowledge no independent, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have validated these claims.
As the lab-grown meat industry is developing rapidly, it is important to develop designs that expose some of its underlying constraints in order to see beyond the hype.
No lab-grown meats are currently approved for sale anywhere in the world, the market has already been estimated to be worth at least $206 million and expected to grow to $572 million in just five years.
Ouroboros Steak creators envisioned a DIY steak kit that would allow users to grow meat from their own cells and feed them not by using FBS but by a human-derived component instead.
To DIY your own meat, users of the kit would be required to use a cotton swab on the inside of their cheek and then deposit the cells gathered onto a pre-grown scaffold made from mushroom mycelium.
The cells would then have to be stored in a warm environment for three months and fed a human blood-based serum until the meat is fully grown.
Grace Knight, the industrial designer of the project argued that human blood is cheaper and more sustainable than FPS and highlight’s that eating an Ouroboros Steak is ‘technically not cannibalism’.
Knight spoke about the meat kit and raised some important points about the future of meat consumption:
People think that eating oneself is cannibalism, which technically this is not. Our design is scientifically and economically feasible but also ironic in many ways. We are not promoting 'eating ourselves' as a realistic solution that will fix humans' protein needs. We rather ask a question: what would be the sacrifices we need to make to be able to keep consuming meat at the pace that we are? In the future, who will be able to afford animal meat and who may have no other option than culturing meat from themselves?
Maybe we'll just go vegan instead...