Beyond the ethics of raising some 9 billion animals to be killed for food each year in the U.S.—a big issue for vegetarians and some advocacy groups—factory farms create problems for the environment: globally, ruminant livestock produce 80 million metric tons of methane per year, 22% of the total methane emissions in the world. And with global demand for meat expected to grow 60% by 2050, the amount of farmland and grain needed to feed those chickens, pigs and cows may be unsustainable. But the in-vitro burger, which was unveiled Aug. 5, has none of those hang-ups—it’s grown in a lab from cow stem cells, which means it may even be palatable for vegetarians. The only issue: for now, it carries a $325,000 price tag.
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