Earlier this week, I wrote about how bugs are the food of the future. The good news: maybe not. Something else out there might prove a better source for the cheap protein we crave.

The bad news: It’s a concoction of pig cells grown in a lab, fed with horse fetal serum, and “exercised” through stretching to impart just the right musclelike texture.

Lab-grown meat is a dream on a lot of levels. It promises one day to be affordable, hygienic, as delicious as the real deal, and scalable in a way that should allow everyone in the world who wants a quasi-burger to enjoy one. Making the suffering of real animals obsolete is a potential moral victory, and probably an environmental one.

It’s also spooky as all get-out (at least we’re not eating future food made of people … as far as we know), and a long way from being industrially practical—The Telegraph reports that the first burger is at least a year off, and will cost about $350,000.

In a separate piece, The Telegraph also considers the ethics of lab-grown meat, from the animals spared to the “methadone”-like properties of false meat for weaning carnivores off their sinful habit to the impact that lab meat would have on the ranching industry.

All in all, I’d rather be eating a bowl of Cheerios.

Image source: Flickr member Roitsch under Creative Commons

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