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    More than 40% of Belgians support lab grown meat

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    More than four in ten Belgians (42%) are in favour of lab-grown cultured meat, according to new data. This comes from a survey by research agency Ipsos, who surveyed 1,001 Belgians on behalf of animal rights organisation GAIA. 

    “For GAIA, cultured meat is one of the great revolutions of the 21st century,” says chairman Michel Vandenbosch. “We are convinced that cellular farming, by gradually replacing industrial meat production, will undoubtedly contribute to reducing animal suffering worldwide.”

    Cultured meat is created by painlessly harvesting muscle cells from a living cow. Scientists then nurture the cells so they multiply to create muscle tissue, which is the main component of the meat we eat. It is biologically exactly the same as the meat tissue that comes from a cow.

    In the survey, GAIA asked Belgians about their views on cultured meat. Results show that some 42% of Belgians appear to be in favour and 39% say they are willing to buy it if it were available at the same price as meat from slaughtered animals. A quarter (24%) were even willing to pay up to 10% more.

    In particular, animal welfare is pushing Belgians towards slaughter-free meat: 57% would eat cultured meat because it allows them to eat real meat without animal suffering. 52% are also convinced that it is better for the environment.

    The research into cultured meat and the progress that is being made today is mainly taking place in the Netherlands, the United States and Israel, said the release. “Belgium must not miss the boat on this innovative technology, ” added Vandenbosch.

    Last year, Flemish Minister for Innovation Philippe Muyters (N-VA) researched whether meat breeding has a future in Flanders. “Two points emerged from that study,” says his spokesman Thomas Pollet. “First of all: cultured meat has enormous potential and we have to focus on production. And secondly: people don’t know what it is and are somewhat averse to it,” HLN reports. 

    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the demand for meat is going to increase by more than two-thirds in the next 40 years and current production methods are not sustainable. In the near future, both meat and other staple foods are likely to become expensive luxury items, thanks to the increased demand on crops for meat production unless we find a sustainable alternative.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times