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PETA offers $1m for test tube chicken

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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 collect PETA's $1m carrot, scientists must develop a commercially marketable in vitro meat in just four years. At least they're first setting the bar down to creating a chicken flesh substitute, which reportedly tastes like every non-traditional animal in the known universe.

From PETA's website:

May we suggest...?

"PETA is offering a $1 million prize to the contest participant able to make the first in vitro chicken meat and sell it to the public by June 30, 2012. The contestant must do both of the following:

  • 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
  • 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."

The prize, of course, is a publicity stunt made to direct attention to the all-too commonly deplorable conditions stock animals live in. Oh, and PETA also says that eating living creatures is bad, even despite the inconvenient truth that animals are made of nearly 50 per cent delicious, lip-smacking meat.

In vitro meat technology may also offer an environmentally friendly alternative to the immense amount of resources and land needed to raise animals on their journey from childhood to a delicate topping on a cracker at a fancy dinner party.

According to the New York Times, the in vitro meat challenge has sparked a "near civil war" amongst PETA workers who deplore the very idea of eating animal tissue. Even if its grown in a petri dish and doesn't go, "cluck cluck".

PETA says it will assemble a 10-judge panel to sample any in vitro meat submissions by taste and texture. The faux-chicken will be prepared using a vegetarian "chicken" recipe, and must score an 80 out of a possible 100 with the judges. ®

Bootnote

Shhh — nobody tell PETA that developing in vitro meat will probably require the killing of many, many living animals to get right. We'll keep it our savory little secret.

Disclosure: This article was written on an empty stomach.

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