The Impossible Burger at Harp and Hound in Ogden. Photo credit: Weston Lee

As vegan friendly options, menus, and eateries continue to grow across Ogden and the Wasatch Front, lab-grown meat seeks to be the alternative even carnivores can enjoy.

Sirrus Lawson, a Weber State University PETA2 representative, says lab-grown meat has the potential to be more humane and environmentally sustainable. Local vegans and omnivores alike already enjoy various comfort foods, such as mac and cheese, tacos, pizza, wings and burgers, crafted using only plant-based ingredients.

Harp and Hound in Ogden offers vegan steak on Saturdays, along with their Impossible and Beyond Burgers with vegan cheeses and sauces.

Other local vegan friendly spots include Cuppa, Thai Curry Kitchen, The Pie Pizzeria, Lucky Slice and It’s a Good Life Cafe.

Lawson said meat alternatives, even lab-grown meat, have the capability to alleviate suffering and mitigate environmental degradation.

“At the root of it, lab-grown meat has the potential to spare billions of animals worldwide annually from lives that are filled with abuse and the eventual painful death in slaughterhouses,” Lawson said. “Also, scientists predict currently that it has the potential to massively cut the environmental degradation that meat production causes.”

Lawson said lab-grown meat can be produced through two methods: an animal growth method and a plant-based growth method, and that some methods could create ethical concerns.

Lawson said a biopsy could end up taking samples for each culture, or a single biopsy could potentially be sustained to grow continuously as needed. Additionally, after those cells are taken, they need to be cultured.

“They need to be grown through a petri dish,” Lawson said. “Currently there is a growth medium called fetal bovine serum. It is taken from cow fetuses, which essentially means that if the lab-grown meat industry were to go global, cows would still have to be forcibly impregnated and slaughtered to have their fetuses.”

Before lab-grown meat comes to market, Lawson said that we as individuals have the power right now to stop the animal suffering and environmental degradation.

“We can stop it right now by going vegan,” Lawson said. “If we stop patronizing the factory farming industry and stop eating meat and dairy, we can protect animal rights in the present tense, help our own health and stop the environmental destruction.”

Lawson said we don’t need to wait around for lab-grown meat to hit the market because there are already alternatives that taste just as good.

Jennifer Bodine, Sustainability Manager for WSU’s Energy and Sustainability office, said the university is making strides toward sustainability, including working with Sodexo to provide healthier and more sustainable options.

Bodine said she recognizes the increased demand for more vegan and sustainably sourced options on campus, and she shared her thoughts on how easy and potentially rewarding it is to eat vegan.

“We as an office would like to show people, along with Sodexo, that vegan food is very, very delicious,” said Bodine. “You don’t ever feel that you’re being deprived of anything.”

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