PETA is doing something kind of cool: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-fake-meatapr21,1,7351841.story
They announced today that they'll give $1 million to the "first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012."
I personally love the idea of fake meat. I have no problem with eating animals (obviously), but animal protein is expensive to raise, and meeting a growing worldwide demand for it means commercial operations are often cruel to the animals and messy for the environment. I can get around supporting that kind of crap by buying local, happy, pasture-raised, humanely slaughtered animals or hunting it myself, but there's very few people in the world who are in my (rather privileged) position. It would be great if there was an efficient and economical way to grow meat without the inconvenience of silly things like intelligence and pain receptors and waste products.
It's interesting that Newkirk is the driving force behind this. It's such a pragmatic and common-sense move from a lady who is certifiably insane. I also think it's hilarious that she's getting flak from others within the organization because some PETAns find eating any animal protein unacceptable, even if it's raised in a test tube.
$1 million dollars is a pretty dinky prize for advancing a new technology. According to the same article linked above, the Netherlands has already spent $5 million in fake meat research. And a deadline of less than 4 years from now also seems like a joke.
So, it's not terribly well thought-out, and of course it pisses me off that the prize money is coming from PETA, which probably means it was raised through lying to well-meaning pet lovers, but I can't help but admire the move just a little bit. If you're a crazy vegan out to impose your views on the rest of the world, what better way to stop people from eating meat than provide them with a cheaper alternative? Violence just hasn't been working for them, and they've been caught out in many of their lies http://www.petakillsanimals.com/ ; maybe they're finally coming to their senses and trying a different, more practical, (and ethical), tactic.