I’ll Have the McTest-Tube Burger With Cheese…

Hamburger on the hoof.

So, they are working on a test-tube hamburger are they? Well that’s what CNN say’s anyway. I had a quick look at their article and found out that a couple of scientists are both ‘racing’ to develop their own brand of ‘man-made’ meat.

Scientist Gabor Forgacs from the University of Missouri (otherwise known as the ‘Show Me’ state, it kind of figures) actually made a bit of the man-made meat and ate it in 2011. Since it didn’t kill him or turn him into some sort of genetic superhero (well not that we know of, superheroes are supposed to be secretive, it’s part of their law or something), he didn’t even have to reach for the antacids after he’d finished.

I’m not doubting the veracity of CNN’s news flash, but am I the only one that finds it a little bit funny that Forgacs originates from Hungary?

All kidding aside, Forgacs is so convinced that this is the way forward to feeding the worlds hungary (sorry) that he has a business already set up and running. Modern Meadows has already attracted investors and has funding from the US Agricultural Department.

Forgacs has a little competition in the test-tube meat race from the Dutch. A country not well known for its humane treatment of their meat on the hoof, so to speak. Mark Post and other researchers from the University of Maastricht are promising a very public launch of their man-made beef patty this year.

Both teams have stated that this new source of meat will not catch on with the public very quickly. I’m not surprised, does any one else look at this and not immediately think of Soylent Green??

Again kidding aside, both teams have said that in the area of retail, this will be more of a novelty. Like Kobe beef, the Japanese beef raised on beer that costs between 125 and 350 dollars per kilogram. So I don’t think you’ll be taking the kiddies down to the local Mcdonalds, Burger King or Wendy’s for a few test-tube burgers and french fries unless you’ve recently won the lottery or are a direct relative of J Paul Getty.

Research from Oxford University shows that traditional meat ‘farming’ uses up an awful lot of the planets resources. Water, grass, and so on. Not to mention the live meats issuance of methane that is destroying the atmosphere. All this sounds good, so good that the ‘man-made meat’ brigade like citing these stats as a reason for their pursuit of the new meat. Now all this makes manufactured meat sound like a great deal. But what about the existing livestock?

If and when these test tube treats become commonplace, what will happen to the animals? I’m pretty sure that retiring them all and putting them in petting zoos is not the answer. For one thing there just isn’t enough room for that many petting zoos. For another thing, won’t these living, breathing, pooping creatures still use up resources? And if they’re using resources they will also be blasting the ozone layer with their methane emissions.

So what are they planning on doing? Killing them? Send them to third world countries that can’t afford the man-made meat? Have they thought this whole thing through? Probably not. When you’re trying to make a better mouse trap you don’t think ahead to the day when all the mice have been eradicated and your money making labour saving device has been made redundant and therefore not a money maker any more.

No you just keep making that better mouse trap and damn the torpedoes. Just like the guys who are making the new improved and ‘bloodless’ beef patties. No animal will ever have to give his or her life for the greater good, ever again.

But folks, they are still going to eat, procreate and poop. So I don’t mind the idea of man-made produce, although I’m curious about how they’ll make bacon, the attempts so far don’t taste like the real thing at all; but guys? Leave out the “We’re doing this to save the world,” bit, okay?

By all means keep making your Soylent Green. I’m all for man creating a ‘better burger.’ But for all that is holy, make sure it’s really livestock. I’m too old to run down the street yelling, “Soylent Green is people!

Soylent Green Is PEOPLE!

An Arkansas Razorback in Queen Elizabeth Country 4

The traditional "running hog" image ...
Arkansas Razorback

Before I moved out of my now haunted flat, I was sent to Ramstein Air Base in Germany aka USAFE Headquarters for a week. I’ll have to write another blog post or two about an Arkansas Razorback in Europe, I guess.

I was glad to get back. In spite of the fact that Ramstein AB was huge and boasted a Burger King, I didn’t take to it very much. Part of the tour of the base when we arrived was showing us the blown-up Headquarters building that had been car-bombed by a German terrorist group. So although Germany was beautiful, it was also a place where you could get blown-up while doing your day-to-day ‘peace-time’ duties.

It left an impression all right.

The first person I bumped into when I got back to the village was Frank my toilet sharing buddy. As I walked up to my front door, he sat in the little courtyard outside our adjourning flats, barbecuing a steak for a young lady in high heels and blue-jean shorts.

He had a fixed grin on his face and he greeted me effusively.

“Hey, Holmes! When did you get back?” This was said through gritted teeth as he talked through his fixed grin.

I stopped and looked at Frank.

“What?” I started laughing, “I got back today. Why are you talking like that? Are you drunk?”

Frank shook his head. “No, Holmes. I got my jaw broke by  a fucking midget! My jaws wired shut.”

I laid my duffel bag down and sat on it.

“Dude, what happened?”

“Well, Holmes, I was in the pub and it was close to closing time. Tom was serving last orders when these three punks came in.”

Frank took a drink out of his beer and turned the steak over.

“They started giving Tom a hard time and I was the only one left in the pub, man. The midget was talking big and threatening Tom. So I stood up and got involved.”

“What happened?”

“Well, you know I’ve been taking Karate lessons, right?”

I nodded. Frank took the steak off the grill and after putting it on a plate handed it to the girl. “Here you are darlin’ put your mouth around that. Why don’t you check and see if your boyfriend wants one. I’ll be glad to put one on for him.”

The girl giggled and said okay and trotted obediently into the hall leading to Frank’s flat. I looked a Frank, stunned. “Isn’t she one of your ‘massage’ girls?”

Frank nodded.

“And she brought her boyfriend?”

“Yeah, Holmes. He’s cool with it. He brings her over on his motorbike..”

I was very surprised, I mean, these girls didn’t give massages, if you get my meaning. The idea that the girl’s boyfriend would tag along and have a steak dinner with his girlfriend’s client was beyond my comprehension. She didn’t come back out, so I can only assume that her boyfriend had some scruples that precluded eating a steak from clients. Either that or he was sharing hers.

Frank handed me a beer and continued his story.

“Well I’m just about to get my black belt, Holmes, so I figured I could take care of these little chumps, no problem.”

“So what happened.”

“The littlest dude in the group, the midget, hops up and punches me.” He paused, “Once.” Frank rubbed his hand over his jaw. “Little fucker knocked me out and broke my jaw,” He pointed to first one side of his jaw and then the other, “Twice.”

I bent over double with laughter. Frank stood glaring at me for a minute and then started braying laughter through his wired up jaw.

Taking a swig of beer, Frank stopped laughing and glared off into the distance.

“Man I’m gonna sue that son-of-a-bitch instructor. Or at least get my money back.” Shaking his head he started back into his flat muttering, “One punch, Holmes, one fuckin’ punch.”

I went into my flat then, only to discover that my electric meter had run out of money the week I was gone and everything in my little refrigerator had spoiled.