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2023 Author: Malcolm Clapton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 06:26
Why the livestock industry may soon disappear and what consequences it can lead to.
Ten thousand years ago, humans and domesticated animals occupied 1% of the Earth's biomass. Today, if we take everything living as 100%, the picture is as follows: we occupy 32%, 65% are the animals we eat (mainly cows, pigs, chickens, geese, sheep and rabbits) and only 3% are the rest of the fauna, taken together. At this point, I recommend making yourself a coffee, comprehending the scale of these numbers, and only then read on.
Over the past couple of millennia, we have exterminated 98% of all animals that existed on Earth, of which 50% have been destroyed over the past 40 years. And not only and not so much due to changes in the volume of carbon dioxide emissions from factories and plants. The main reason for the mass genocide is the disruption of the natural balance, the perversion of the composition of the planet's biomass: animals that are not needed at all on this planet in such quantities from an evolutionary point of view, today dominate it. And the only reason for this is our love for BBQ wings, stews and steaks (we grow them and protect them from natural regulators of population like predators and diseases).
According to the Humane Society for 2015, 9.2 billion animals are slaughtered each year in the United States alone. To obtain world statistics, this number can be safely multiplied by 100: the population of the United States is 321 million people, if they eat 9, 2 billion carcasses per year, then the whole world (taking into account the uneven availability of food can be roughly interpolated) will eat about 1 trillion animals in year by 2020.
To support the entire food chain - from mass insemination and incubators to waste management - humankind has built a huge multi-trillion dollar infrastructure that employs tens of millions of people. Raising animals on such a scale is impossible without developed farming and specialized production: pastures, feed, fertilizers, chemicals, packaging, and so on. And here - an unexpected turn.:)
Few people know about this, but so far Elon Musk with Mars, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence (or rather the danger of his monopoly), several large venture capital funds like New Crop Capital, SOSV, Fifty Years, KBW Ventures, Inevitable Ventures and some private individuals (for example, Sergey Brin, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Kimbel Musk, Elon's brother) are systematically investing in the synthetic meat industry.
What it is? Before you is a healthy cow, fed with selected grain for slaughter for the most expensive steaks. DNA samples and stem cells are taken from her. Further, in the laboratory, meat is grown from them, which does not differ in taste from the real one. Moreover, it is healthier and tastier - it is artificially enriched with microelements, vitamins, collagens, and so on, and everything unnecessary and harmful is removed, since many of the risks due to which, for example, antibiotics and growth hormones are applied to modern meat, are practically not of current interest. Well, not a single living creature is killed by a barbaric electric shock to the head anymore before hitting the plate.
These experiments did not start yesterday: Brin invested back in 2013, there is very little information about the rest on the Internet.
It is known that the first results are already there: there are several startups on the planet that have managed to achieve an almost indistinguishable similarity of their products to real meat in taste, color and texture.
So far, synthetic meat is very expensive, but the price is falling rapidly: a cutlet made of synthetic meat at the beginning cost about 300 thousand dollars, today I already meet a price of 12 dollars for the same cutlet. Moreover, the developers are confident that they will be able to set the price significantly lower than the market average for real meat - about $ 8 per kilogram at retail in the United States. According to experts, we are talking about a market of several trillion dollars a year.
If they manage to do this, the world will become much more beautiful: we will stop killing armies of animals, gradually return the balance to the composition of the fauna, reduce the incredible amount of toxic and harmful emissions into the atmosphere (a significant part of CO2and other things - including the product of the animal husbandry and farming industries), and food will become useful, affordable, nutritious and produced in automatic robotic factories - the so-called replicators invented by science fiction writers in the last century - and it will be magical!
Stop … stop stop. Will it? There are at least three reasons for concern.
Many professions are already disappearing or disappearing due to the development of services such as Uber, Airbnb and TripAdvisor: tens of thousands of people are forced to look for new jobs, and not always successfully. They just don't write about it in the news. Self-driving cars will even hammer a nail into the lids of coffins with the words "taxi" and "private transportation of goods".
With regard to the livestock industry, we are already talking about tens of millions of people around the world who can actually stay on the street.
Technologies like this are implemented instantly, in a matter of years, because the profit is clear. What will all these people do, whose services will no longer be needed? Of course, some of them will find work in new factories of replicated food, but those will be almost completely automated and jobs there will be with a gulkin's nose. Therefore, this decision should not be in the hands of several companies. This should be a public dialogue.
2. Monopoly and control
Replicating food is a science-intensive and technological task. It can be solved only by those countries / companies that possess know-how, patents and expertise, and also have the ability to supply educated personnel. Certainly, some things will be licensed over time, will be simultaneously "discovered" by other researchers besides the American ones, but the fact is the following: third world countries whose governments are not able to build a metro in the city center, let alone replicators, will become completely dependent on The G8, to which replicators will be available in the same way as peaceful nuclear energy is today.
One of the factors of pressure from one country on another will not be military sanctions in the UN, but the threat of a reduction in food supplies, reducing them to a living wage.
There are already countries in the world that are completely dependent on farming, livestock and external supplies of water and food. This dependence will intensify. And it could potentially end up in blood.
3. System of values
In an ideal world, the food replication system is a very good and correct thing, especially if the main value of society is the acquisition of new knowledge and creation, culture and collaboration, and every inhabitant of the Earth receives money monthly, free of charge, in the amount he needs and spends not on hoarding, not for luxury, but for what he needs and wants, but does not interfere with the main life goal.
But our society is far from these values, while the consumer society dominates the planet and it is not knowledge, not creation, not happiness that has been elevated into a cult, but the possession of something.
Therefore, there is a real chance that we will not save the world: everything that is grown in the replicator will become available, but “free” for the elite. As a result, the demand for "elite" food that is not available for cloning, grown in the "old way" will increase. Not because it tastes better, but because it is corny "more prestigious". And there is a chance that for the golden billion they will continue to kill animals, perhaps even other rare ones. For the values in society are such - they have nothing to do with proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The bottom line is not entirely clear what is more, harm or benefit. I am not saying that this will happen. But I decided to share these thoughts with you and ask what you yourself think.