Test-tube burgers are no longer a future fantasy, but an achievable way to feed the world and stop the suffering of animals, said one of the world's most prominent animals rights activists.
"Send champagne," joked Ingrid Newkirk, co-founder and president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. "The day we have been waiting for is finally here."
She was referring to the news that scientists unveiled a test-tube burger in London, to much fanfare and reviews that while not great still offered hope to those who believe laboratory-made food will help humankind feed the ever-burgeoning population.
The lab-grown burger involves harvesting stem cells taken from cows and then growing them into strips of muscle. The muscle strands were used to make the burgers. The project is said to have cost more than $300,000, bankrolled in part by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. Newkirk said, "PETA has been supporting the project as well."
That might seem to contradict the mission of the organization, which states: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way."
Newkirk acknowledged that some might be surprised that PETA endorses the project. But, she said, "We are pragmatists."
While we are still far from the day when consumers can walk into a supermarket and find test-tube burgers on the shelves, she said it is still a landmark day.
"We are seeing the future of food," she said. "This will be good for our health, the environment and the animals."