First a quick refresher: What is cultured meat?
Cultured meat is 100% bio-identical to traditional meat. It has the same nutritional value and composition as animal-based meat. All meat is simply a collection of animal cells. Meat in the traditional sense is produced when these cells grow inside a body. But, when given the right nutrients, these cells can also grow inside a bioreactor.
Are any animals harmed in the process of making cultured meat?
But then how do you get the animal cells to grow the cultured meat?
In a one-time scenario —and that’s important to note as we are talking about one sample, from one animal to grow an infinite amount of single-species cultured meat—we take a small sample that can be considered the equivalent of an ear piercing in a human being. A veterinarian performs this procedure and an anesthetic is used.
Compare that to the more than nine billion farm animals that were slaughtered in the United States last year. And the approximately 25 million farm animals that are slaughtered each day in the United States.
Then what do you do with the animal cells?
From that sample, the necessary cells are isolated and fed a nutritious blend of nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, all inside a bioreactor. As those cells consume nutrients, they continue to grow and divide, ultimately producing more cells to yield a larger and larger biomass. At harvest time, the cells are collected from the bioreactor and blended with other nutritious ingredients to form treats and nutritionally complete foods for cats and dogs.
Do you use FBS (fetal bovine serum) to grow your cells?
No. FBS is collected from the fetuses of unborn calves at the time of slaughter of pregnant cows. It has been used for decades in cell culture research as it is a nutrient-rich blend of vitamins, trace elements, hormones and growth factors. But we do not use FBS or any other animal ingredients. Instead, we have formulated an animal-free, proprietary growth medium.
What happens to the animal after you collect the cells?
We give these animals a safe, comfortable, happy home where they will live the rest of their natural lives. We don’t discard or destroy any animal that we’ve collected cells from.
For example, to create our first cultured meat product, a mouse cookie for cats, we saved three mice from a lab where they would have otherwise been destroyed. After collecting the cells from one of the mice, they were then moved into a comfy, homemade hutch made by one of our scientists.
OK, so you don’t harm animals. Do you pay or contract someone else to experiment on or otherwise mistreat animals?
No. We do all of our own scientific work and we don’t rely on outside companies, labs or scientists to create any components of our cultured meats.
Is cultured meat vegan?
No. While no animals are harmed or slaughtered, we do use animal cells so we don’t consider it vegan. Instead, we call our meat slaughter-free.
We want you to know that animals are the inspiration for everything we do, which is why we named our company Because, Animals! From the cultured meat that will spare the raising and slaughter of farm animals to our plant-and-culture based treats and supplements that replace animal ingredients, we promise that no harm will ever come to any animals.
The Because, Animals team