DeSantis bans lab-grown meat in Florida despite lack of market concern

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference on May 1 to sign SB 1080 into law. | Via FIU Flickr

River Jean-Noel | Contributing Writer

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill banning lab-grown meat products, the first of its kind in the United States.

Lab grown meat has entered controversy recently, as governor DeSantis publicly denounced the growing industry as he will “save our beef” from the “global elite.” 

DeSantis said that startups looking to extend lab grown meat to public markets should, “take [your] fake lab-grown meat elsewhere,” and that the state of Florida will not be participating in such consumption. 

Lab grown meats have been present on the market since 2012, when a patty made of lab-grown beef was eaten at a press conference. The patty cost over $300,000 and took several months to produce. 

During the bill signing, DeSantis gave a speech detailing his feelings toward the cultured meat industry. DeSantis made claims about the “elites” who are putting a “target on the backs of agriculture.”

DeSantis explained to a crowd full of cattle ranchers that the cultured meat industry knows it can’t compete with farmed meat, so the elites are trying to deter people from purchasing farmed meat products entirely by making connections between current livestock production methods and global warming. 

DeSantis firmly believes that consumers won’t be left to make their own choice about whether to eat culture meat. He went on to say that by introducing lab-grown meat to American markets, the elites’ goal is to “eliminate meat production in the United States and across the world.” 

Florida’s ban has encouraged three more states to consider the same action. Alabama, Arizona, and Tennessee are working towards the same goal. 

For many of the younger generation, alternative diets such as vegetarianism and veganism have increased in popularity. According to a 2018 survey published by Statista in 2022, 3% of Gen Z identify as vegetarian or vegan, as opposed to 4% of Millennials. 

For some, this choice stems from a strong belief in animal rights and welfare, while for others it’s a health choice. Lab grown meats can provide an alternative for those who are vegetarian or vegan due to moral concerns about animal cruelty and welfare. 

Animal welfare topics have exploded in recent years due to increased social media discussions. Many influencers across the world share videos of farm animals commonly eaten in the U.S. as loving, personable, and interactive pets. 

Videos of cows walking on leashes, giving hugs, and cuddling human companions have blown up over the years. Lab grown meats can offer vegetarians and vegans an opportunity to re-indulge in meat without the same ethical concerns over the health and wellness of the animal before it was slaughtered. 

Even without considering animal welfare, lab grown meats can potentially be a low-cost food option. While the process is in infant stages now, with faster technology and a more stream-lined process, it can eventually become easier and more cost-effective than raising and caring for livestock. 

Although some people believe that lab grown meat will automatically be better for the environment, preliminary studies have shown that lab grown meats can potentially be 25 times worse for the environment than current livestock production methods.

Lab grown meats are still in the beginning stages and the process is not yet perfected for cost-effectiveness or reducing environmental burden.

While it’s important to think about the benefits and limitations of lab-grown meat, the product likely won’t be publicly available for another 5 to 10 years.

1 Comment on "DeSantis bans lab-grown meat in Florida despite lack of market concern"

  1. Including “despite lack of market concern” in the title is not addressed in the article.

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