Paul Shapiro is an American author, activist of the animal cause. His work Clean Meat, prefaced by the historian Yuval Noah Harari, whose French translation was published in March by the Belgian editions Luc Pire (304 pages, 22 euros), is a dive in the field of start-up of the cellular agriculture, as well as a plea for the production of meat grown from stem cells.
You are an animal advocate, a long-time vegetarian. How did you come to defend cell meat?
I am worried about the excessive consumption of meat today. We are 8 billion people and by 2050 we will be 10 billion. The Earth does not grow. But the imprint of humanity, if. The production and consumption of meat is one of the major contributors to global warming, extinction of wildlife species and excessive use of water. Europeans and Americans should eat fewer meat products, but so far they are not going down the road. If we want to continue eating the same way we do today, we need to find much more efficient production methods.
There is now an alternative to intensive conventional farming, which allows us to obtain the same product at a much lower environmental cost. This is perhaps one of the flagship technologies that could save us. In the same way that we need clean energy, we need clean proteins. I wrote this book in order to show a potential solution. This is not the only one, but given the seriousness of the situation, we must put all the solutions on the table: reduce the consumption of meat, but also value vegetable substitutes, made from peas or soya, or meat grown from animal cells.
Studies have shown the adverse health effects of highly processed food products. Cell meat does not really meet the demand for more natural food …
The idea of putting technology on our plate does not seduce us as much as the technology in our phones for example, but let's not forget that almost all the food we eat today is the result of scientific advances. Animals raised for consumption have been genetically selected for their ability to grow, many are fed antibiotics to resist pathogenic bacteria, the fruits and vegetables we eat have nothing to do with those of our ancestors a few years ago. centuries. Nothing we eat is natural in itself.