The Scientist: It's... complicated
Dr. Mark J. Post, co-founder of MosaMeat and physiology professor at Maastricht University
"Cultured, or clean, meat is meat made from animal cells, mostly designated skeletal muscle stem cells that have a tremendous replicative capacity and are still able to turn into well- developed muscle fibers. The technology allows for an up-to-1,000,000 [animal] reduction in required livestock, thereby saving feed and food resources, reducing environmental impact and improving animal welfare, all goals that certainly align with the ideals of vegetarian and vegan communities. For those who do not like meat, judge it to be unhealthy, or still have issues with using a small number of animals for human food production, the technology of culturing meat will be inconsequential or even unacceptable. The pragmatic attitude, however, would be to accept the technology for its larger societal merit even if it is not a personal favorite solution to generalized meat consumption.
"From a biological point of view, cultured or clean meat is meat as we always have known it. However, it is obvious from public reactions that this highly technological production method is not immediately embraced. The analysis of this mostly emotional ‘ick' response is not easy, but likely involves a biologically ingrained fear for unknown food based on safety assessment. Technology is also very often confused with large multinational corporations that operate outside of our control, although culturing meat could easily be done on a community, micro-brewery type, scale where one arguably has even better control over meat production than is currently the situation. Last, and perhaps most relevant to the plant-based diet discussion, meat has a cultural context of power, masculinity and wealth, attributes that may be intrinsically related to the very fact that you have to kill other species for it. In that sense, cultured or clean meat will always be a different product, somewhere in between meat and plants. It is conceivable and even likely, therefore, that the development of cultured or clean meat products will facilitate the transition from an animal-protein towards a plant-protein diet."