This week on Earth Beat: we look at meat alternatives, from lab-grown meat to meatless, but not tasteless substitutes. Where exactly do a pig’s parts go, and can we raise them so they’re happy? Plus, what if you decide to kill your own?
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Traditional meat production has a big carbon footprint. Add up the feeding, housing, and transportation of cows, pigs, and sheep and those trays of meat in the supermarket start looking like a really inefficient way of feeding the planet. So where are we in terms of growing meat in a lab? Marnie visited Professor Mark Post, a bio-engineer at the Tissue Lab at the Eindhoven University of Technology to find out.
By the way, we were so curious to find out what the lab-grown meat tasted like that we decided to track down Pavel Lobkov, the Russian journalist who ate our sample.
The carbon footprint of a cheeseburger, in 60 seconds.
What’s in a burger?
Many of us have a sneaking suspicion that most hamburgers aren’t exactly grade A meat. But for one high school student in Cleveland, Ohio, a sneaking suspicion wasn’t good enough. Brigid Prayson teamed up with her doctor dad to analyse exactly what’s in fast food burgers.
Meat-substitutes in the supermarket are just a bit… depressing. Small squares of sponginess that taste exactly as they look. So when we heard about a new product - based on beans from a rather pretty lupine flower - being promoted by a Dutchmen who styles himself the vegetarian butcher, we had to meet him. Marnie went to taste test Jaap Korteweg’s wares, and she took producer Jan Huisman along to help translate.
It’s all about taste
Jaap Korteweg is not alone in his venture. He’s teamed up with top Dutch Chef Marco Westermaas, who’s constantly on the hunt for new flavours for his restaurant. Marnie asked whether it was really true that you can’t tell the difference between their lupine meat and the real stuff.
Where a pig’s parts go
Pigs have been a long time source of fascination for Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma. She was curious to find out what happens to a pig’s remains after the slaughterhouse, so she followed the journey of Pig number 05049 and was astounded by the number of unexpected places it ended up. Watch Christien give a slide show about the book. Video: Christien leafs through her PIG 05049 book.
Pigs' play pen
In the Netherlands there are some 16 million pigs. For most, life is cramped, short and not very sweet. But there are efforts being made to improve their quality of life and offer them something better. Dutch pig farmer Maarten Rooijakkers has opened a new kind of sty in the southern province of Brabant, and it's full of toys. Thijs Westerbeek reports.
Some people might be tempted to take this concept to the next level and try to kill their own food. We tracked down and spoke to such a hunter – Holly Heyser.
Click on image for slideshow