This line of nonsense is what honestly and sincerely pushed me into making this entire website. If I keep hearing people parrot this vacuous garbage unopposed I think I'm going to go nuts, because it's an infuriating combination of inauthentic self-congratulation and doing absolutely jack squat.
There are already vegan alternatives for everything. I mean absolutely everything. Burger patties, nuggets, wings, fish, cold cuts, sausage links, sausage patties, meatballs, etc. not to mention the non-meat animal products like butter, cheese (every kind - cheddar, provolone, mozzarella, smoked gouda - you name it), milk, yogurt, whipped cream, egg whites, and even full foods like vegan cheesesteaks, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, sub sandwiches, corn dogs, hearty soups, pies, brownies, cookies, you name it. Everything. Product after product comes out, and carnists don't care. Not even lifting a finger to stop throwing baby animals into shredders alive or slitting their throats. Even when the food is uncannily similar and can even fool meat experts.
Do you really mean to tell me carnists need a pure 100% 1:1 molecularly identical substitute for the slices of ham in their hot pocket, and even some imitation will subtract from just how gourmet that meal is? Give me a break. And by the way, is this 1:1 replica of the product that these connoisseurs absolutely need also include the fecal bacteria on meat or the pus that is prevalent in milk? Seriously. It clearly isn't about taste, because people will abuse animals as part of purchasing crappy dollar-menu meat-cheese-bread stacks.
People also act like suddenly one single lab-grown meat specimen is all it will take like people aren't particular about what kind of steak they get. As we all know: waygu, filet mignon, ribeye... it's all pretty much the same, right? This is again, more nonsense, and the deflection will continue even if one type of lab meat comes into existence.
"Oh, I'm waiting for lab meat to come down in price, to be full-on cheaper than meat, [more/less] [fatty/stringy/hard] and closer to the right [texture/flavor], hit some arbitrary sustainability benchmark, to be accompanied by lab-grown cheese other lab-based animal products, etc." The can-kicking will continue indefinitely. I mean, people would rather eat extruded pig rectum than a vegan hot dog, or literal cow feces than a pinto bean. So why would anyone change when the first lab meat product hits the market? Or the second? Or the fiftieth?
Lab meat, which probably won't even be vegan anyway, has all the sustainability problems of meat, but now with the introduction of all the sustainability issues of bulk biomaterial multi-step synthesis. I think meat eaters seriously underestimate the number of animals killed each year. In the US alone, it's almost 8,500,000,000. Just cows, you're looking at some 100,000 cows' worth of meat grown daily. And labs are expensive. How on earth is an already heavily subsidized industry where meat literally grows itself going to be out-competed by a lab trying to synthesize a sample in bulk from a two (or more) stage synthesis? So it's going to be at best the same sustainability and therefore ethical issues. Again, lab meat solves nothing. And it's not about nutrition, because vegan food is equal to or better on the nutrients. So it isn't that vegan food now is lacking something that lab meat solves.
And if you want laboratory-developed meat substitutes, you can already go out and buy them. It's called "Any of them". Rest assured that any meat substitute you buy in a store has been developed in as sterile of a lab environment as you imagine lab-grown meat to be, with scientists doing mass spec, tribology, melting point analyses (observing the caramelization process), etc. Sorry, they didn't slap a test tube on the side of it for you.
So lab meat solves zero problems, probably won't be eaten by carnists anyway, and is highly unlikely to appear in our lifetime or possibly ever as both 1. animal-cruelty free and 2. cheaper than meat. It should be painfully clear: this whole line about lab meat is just pure BS, designed to kick the can down the road and deflect responsibility. "There's literally nothing I can do; lab meat doesn't exist!"
I mean it didn't occur to you to stop torturing animals when products A, B, and C came out. Suddenly you're on board with going 100% vegan and ending animal cruelty when some theoretical product Z comes out at some unspecified far-away future date (possibly never). Why even lab meat? Why not "I'm going to go vegan when we colonize Enceladus"... or, hell, just tell the truth: "I'm only going to go vegan if and only if the cognitive dissonance becomes unbearable".
I'd be fine with leaving it at that, a curiosity that is probably not going to lead anywhere. What kills me is that it's empty self-congratulation, learned helplessness, and empty do-goodery all at the same time. It's a ridiculous amount of high-fiving at pseudo-futurologists "discovering" some solution to a state that carnists pretend we're locked into, all the while pretending like they are being ethical because they are thinking about one day maybe doing the right thing (once the change requires zero effort on their part) and that gives them a warm blanket of absolution for paying to stick baby chicks into shredders alive today. "This is why lab meat needs to be a thing yesterday". Why? Why would a product that solves none of these problems (a product that no one actually wants) need to be a "thing"? Why not just do the right thing today rather than wait a literal lifetime to do anything all the while patting yourself on your spineless back?
But it's worse than that, because to admit that you'd switch to lab-grown meat is an admission that you know that eating meat is somehow unethical and yet are choosing to do so anyways.