The current global bio-industry is the worst environmental pollutor and the chief cause of global warming. Besides CO2, the bio-industry also produces huge quantities of METHANE, which, too, is a major GREENHOUSE GAS. Elevated levels of methane are found in particular around cattle farms, since the microbes digesting the feed in the cow rumen produce and release methane. METHANE GAS is harmful to the environment because, like CO2, it contributes to the GREENHOUSE EFFECT. In recent years, the quantity of harmful bio-industry-produced methane present in the atmosphere has MORE THAN DOUBLED.


Patent holder Willem van Eelen: ‘In another five years meat will come out of the factory’

Winston Churchill already predicted in 1932 that man would rid himself of the absurdity of growing an entire chicken for just its breast and wing. Churchill’s prediction that, in future, chicken would be produced in parts seems finally to become reality.

Scientists at the universities of Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Utrecht have a clear goal in mind with their research: factory-produced meat. In 2005 SenterNovem, an agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs granted a € 2 million subsidy for their research. The scientists perform their research in collaboration with meat product producer Stegeman and Willem van Eelen, the man who developed the idea of in-vitro meat and patented it in Europe, the US, Japan and Hong Kong.

Van Eelen is shortly going to open a fundraising website. He is largely driven by his personal ideals. ‘But the market goes for the right price/quality ratio. I’m absolutely convinced that factory-produced meat stands a good chance.‘ Meat-product producer Stegeman regards it as an opportunity. Quality and Technology director Peter Verstraten: ‘There are still many hurdles to be taken, consumer acceptance being a particularly difficult one. But this development provides opportunities for the worldwide supply of meat for a lot more consumers. Environmentally, factory-produced meat also scores higher as farm animals are one of the greatest producers of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

Van Eelen: The meat industry has difficulties on the purchase side as a result of the outbreak of all kinds of animal diseases. Excluding meat from our diet does not seem a viable option; after all, man will always remain a meat eater. So what solution could be better than producing meat at a stable price and of guaranteed quality, for which no animal needs to suffer.’

Meat is muscle tissue. It consists of muscle cells and long fibres that give it structure. When you are in the business of growing meat, you must master the art of turning a few cells into a complete muscle. In a laboratory of the Eindhoven University of Technology scientists are working on the technology that will render this process safe and efficient.

Researcher Carlijn Bouten specializes in culturing tissue. Referring to a successful laboratory experiment she asserts: ‘This little muscle proves that it is possible.’ The muscle in question (see photo on the right) is a mere 2 centimetres long and takes two weeks to grow. The tissue is neither that of a pig nor that of a cow; it has been grown from the embryonic stems cells of a mouse.

Bouten: ‘We use stem cells to grow the muscles. They are cells that divide easily and are as yet undifferentiated. Once we have enough stem cells we allow them to specialize into muscle cells. We are already quite adept at this with embryonic mouse stem cells.’

Pig stem cells are more difficult as they specialize too quickly. This problem is being worked on at Utrecht University. Cell biologist Bernard Roelen: We are trying to discover the optimal conditions for pig cell division. That’s an absolute requisite. Without it we would never be able to produce the 32 billion cells it takes to make 100 grammes of meat.’ The third university involved, Amsterdam University, is focussing on the medium in which to culture the cells. Roelen: The culture medium we are currently using contains calf serum, obtained from cow’s foetuses. The aim of this project is to make a product for which no animals need to die. This means that you have to use a different cell culture medium.’

Roelen adds: ‘When the scientists succeed in getting the chain going, we should not expect to see pork chops popping out of the machine. Those are too big. Rather picture a lot of small muscles that are processed into, for instance, sausage.

The two scientists decline to make an estimate of when we can expect all this to become reality. Roelen, Utrecht: ‘Difficult to predict. Research never goes easy. It takes a lot of time.

Churchill’s prediction is testimony to this. But the beauty of this research is that it produces side products as we go along, side products that are commercially interesting. For instance the medical industry is greatly interested in the development of a non-animal cell culture medium, for the growth of human tissues, such as skin.’

‘The technology that is being developed by the Eindhoven University of Technology is also interesting for other applications. For instance the food industry would like to test the direct effect supplements have on muscles.’

Patent holder Van Eelen is more optimistic than the scientists. ‘We’re working very hard to speed things along.. The more massive our approach, the sooner we will be producing meat. My prediction? In another five years, Vitro meat will be on your plate. That is probably too optimistic. But if Churchill had made his prediction today rather than in 1932, he would most likely be proven right.

Meat Visionary Willem van Eelen
The artificial production of meat has been Willem van Eelen’s lifelong dream. As a medical student the idea had already entered his mind. ‘People need animal protein. But raising animals is inefficient, bad for the environment and also unethical.’ Van Eelen developed VitroMeat (artificial meat) in his free time. He spends money of his own on research. Already in his eighties, Van Eelen is determined to live on to the ripe age of 120 in order to make cultured meat big.

Without bio-industry
Factory-produced meat sounds unnatural. Will people eat it? Utrecht-based scientist Bernard Roelen: ‘Why not? Bread improvement agents are factory-produced, aren’t they? Think of those meat cows. They are bred in such a way that they are no longer able to give birth naturally, but need a caesarean. How natural is that?

What we are doing has nothing to do with genetic modification that so many people have difficulty with. We don’t tamper with an animal’s DNA, but take a complete pig cell that divides and grows just like it does in the body. That must be explainable, don’t you think’

Patent holder Willem van Eelen of VitroMeat:
‘What we do with animals in the bio-industry is beyond our imagination and yet we don’t have qualms about eating them. Would that be any different for factory-produced meat?’

Anouck Vrouwe is a freelance science journalist.
Wednesday 12 December 2007.


“Vitro Meat: a healthy and tasty solution for global warming”

It is possible to make ‘in vitro’ meat tender and tasty with a highly energetic power and without too much fat, tough membranes, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and other unwanted components, like disease germs due to negative environmental factors (animal foodstuff, slaughter house and bio-industry). Beef, poultry, fish and pork are a market worth more than a two trillion dollar a year. There are very few opportunities for such an enormous business. Capturing even a small percentage of that market would be highly profitable. Vitro Meat wants to make a structural contribution to the worldwide production and potential markets for healthy and safe meat and what will help eliminate food shortages in the world and result in a cleaner environment, and obviate animal suffering.

Vitro Meat aims to:
  • Promote a large scale consumption of vitro meat in stead of the consumption of traditional meat.
  • Supply a structural contribution to the solution of food shortages by stimulating the (small scale, accessible) production of Vitro meat in underprivileged areas in the world.
  • Develop new technologies for product and process improvement.
  • Prevent animal suffering.
  • Make enough profit to be able to realize above mentioned aims.

  • Vitro Meat now wishes to convert the business potential of its technology into concrete business activities directed at commercial exploitation and is looking for (financial) support, knowledge and experience.

    In Vitro
    ‘In Vitro’ means growth outside the body. As a fundamental raw material animal master cells are able to multiply infinitely in cultivation liquid. When the required volume has been reached the master cells are being reversed to muscle cells by means of the developed technology and then acquire the character of meat. This can be achieved on a large scale way and a relatively low cost price for no special extra substrates are required and the investment in means of production is relatively low. It is in no way an increase (production) in conformity with the natural growth processes. No use is being made of genetic modifications. The above mentioned technology has been patented. The technology has also been reviewed positively with regard to the production and business potential by the following agencies:

  • The Innovation Center for inventions ED-NL
  • The International Preliminary Examinations Report
  • The N.I.O.B. The Hubrecht Laboratory for Development Biology
  • The Board of Directors of Unilever
  • TNO food, Protein and Meat technology
  • Academical Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam

  • These reviews present among other things the following conclusions:

  • It concerns a completely new, innovative and industrially applicable ‘meat-cultivation method’.
  • The method is suited to produce on a large scale industrial way pure, 100% true to nature, real meat, that is outwardly identical to all breeds that are still being slaughtered at the moment.
  • Application has far reaching social and moral consequences as to the world food supply and the environment: decrease of animal suffering, less harmful environmental influences due to bio-industry, manure surplus, animal foodstuff problems and a favorable contribution tot the world food problem.

  • Market developments
    The consumer’s trust in foodstuff is more and more decreasing as a result of animal diseases and food scandals. For years the food market has been harassed by various crises such as swine fever, salmonella in chicken, BSE in beef and scandals such as harmful substances in vegetables and hormones in meat. In spite of measures being taken directed at the control of the food chain, new crisis and scandals happen over and over again. As a result of the recent BSE crisis the consumption of beef has considerably gone down. Other kinds of meat are then used as alternatives, until problems arise in that area. Although biological stock-breeding offers alternatives, it cannot fulfill the demand for alternatives on a large scale and in a need oriented way. And biological stock-breeding cannot prevent the development of diseases either. Although a small number of consumers is wiling to drastically adjust its diet and use meat alternatives like soy products, this change-over is too big a step for most of them. Consumers tend to vary their meals much more and there is growing demand for international food, but people like to use traditional basic products with it like a tender piece of meat. Apart from that this product has to be affordable and under the influence of the need to save time and have healthy products the demand is growing for meats that are less fat and quickly done.

    Background to the product
    The current world population is exceedingly large and still growing. In order for the population to be fed sufficiently more and more land is required for food produce. The natural sources are insufficient to fulfill the demand. This has led to famine in some parts of the world. In other parts of the world the problem is being addressed by large scale production of animals often under atrocious inhumane conditions.

    This large scale production is not only causing unnecessary great suffering to animals. It is increasing the number of diseases and the consequences thereof for both animals and humans. Large scale slaughtering is currently required to fulfill the current food requirements and as a consequence of large scale disease outbreaks. We can take for example the recent large scale occurrence of porcine pest virus and mad cows disease. These diseases also result in loss of the meat for human consumption thus completely denying the purpose for which the animals were being bred in the first place.

    In addition the large scale production is reducing the flavor of the finished product. A preference exists among those that can afford it for non battery laid eggs and non battery produced meat. Not only is it a manner of taste but also a healthier choice thereby avoiding consumption of various feed additives such as growth hormones.

    Another problem associated with mass animal production is the environmental problem caused by the enormous amounts of excrement the animals produce and which cannot be used for alternative purposes such as growth of other crop, housing, recreation, wild nature and forests. In vitro meat is the solution for the above mentioned problems.

    Industrial production of meat products outside the body
    In a 3-dimensional (liquid) cultivation, ES cells from the mouse are able to form spontaneously an extensive structure of differentiated (specialized) tissue ,among other things heart- and skeletal muscles, neural tissue, blood and blood vessels. By way of adaptations in the cultivation circumstances (adding peptide growth factors, certain vitamins such as vitamin A acid, whether or not in combination with changes in the connective tissue circumstances around it), it has proved possible to guide the direction of the specialization with the goal of obtaining a more homogeneous tissue as final product. The patent is substantial by fundamental research on the guiding mechanisms that are the basis of differentiation processes with the goal of making homogeneous differentiation of the master cells, through a stage of so mite forming, into fully differentiated muscle tissue.

    Apart from that, ES cells that are isolated from early, so called preattachement bovine embryos, using standard procedures, have been long used for master cell isolation in the mouse and fairly recently also successfully in other species. Starting material for embryos, necessary for master cell isolation are immature oocytes. These oocytes are matured in cultivation, then impregnated, and they are cultivated to the right (blastocyst) stage. A number of embryonic cell lines are already available through this method. Once these have been obtained, these (bovine) master cells will undergo the same differentiation process as the mouse master cells, with a view to the differentiation to (complex) skeletal muscle tissue, eventually meant for consumption.

    ES cells are able to multiply indefinitely in cultivation, if they are undifferentiated. The grow and differentiate by themselves in simple, 3-dimensial cultivation circumstances, without special substrates and that means large scale industrial cultivation will not provide any particular difficulties. Cultivation fluids do not in themselves contain harmful substances, even for humans, but often have a standard antibiotic supplement to prevent bacterial infections. If the material is considered for human consumption, leaving the antibiotics out is essential. This will not be a problem, if the cultivation is done under fully aseptic circumstances (‘clean room’).

    Industrial production of meat products outside the body; printing steak
    Another way for large scale industrial production of meat outside the body is by using ink-jet printing to create living tissue. The technology behind printing documents is being used to create 3D living tissue. Three-dimensional living tissue have been printed using modified desktop printers, filled with suspension of cells instead of ink. For tissue engineers, the big possibility is to creating three-dimensional structures. The techniques uses conventional printing technology. The printers are adopted by washing out the ink cartridges and refilling them with suspensions of cells and a non-toxic thermo reversible gel. The software that controls the viscosity, electrical resistances and temperature of the fluids is reprogrammed and the feed system altered. Tissues have been printed within two hours which are 5 cm thick.

    Benefits to the product and technology
    There are several unparalleled benefits to this technology:

  • Solves great environmental problems created by animal-based foods, ranging from run off of animal feces which pollutes our water sources, to the destruction of the rain forests for grazing land (also methane in atmosphere from animal flatulence). Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together (see also appendix A, B, C and D).
  • Avoids health problems related to using hormones in animals, as well as avoids animal born diseases, such as mad cow disease and avian flu.
  • Avoids the inhumane way we grow/process animal based foods currently. -As demand increases globally worldwide for animal based foods, the ability to meet that demand through traditional means diminishes. Things like overfishing of the oceans is a real threat to the food chain, and we have limited resources to grow beef, poultry and pork through traditional means. For example, it takes roughly 7,000lbs of water and 16lbs of grain to grow one pound of beef. Water is a precious resource that should be used for other things.
  • Can provide reliable food source to the population, not only by growing meat products, but also by diverting some of the grains used to feed animals to feeding people who are hungry (880 million people go to bed hungry each night).
  • Can help solve energy problems and reliance on mid-east oil, by using some of the grains used to feed animals to create bio-fuels such as ethanol.

  • As an investor, there are very few, if any, opportunities for such an enormous business -beef, poultry, fish and pork are in excess of a Two Trillion Dollar business each year. Capturing even a small percentage of that business would be huge. Given the supply/demand trends, and given the limited worldwide resources, it is pretty much a guarantee that at some point this will be the way animal-based foods are produced.

    Mr. W.F. van Eelen, shareholder of Vitro Meat BV has the rights to international patent (Patent WO9931222 & related patents) for the production of meat from in vitro cell cultures on industrial scale. The patent entails both a process to produce in vitro meat and “the concept of the in vitro meat product itself”. The patents provides exclusivity in Europe, Hong Kong, USA & Japan. Additional patents for extension of expiry date are pending. Also Mr. J.F. Vein, holds a patent for the production of in vitro meat for the USA. Mr. Van Eelen and Mr. Vein have an agreement.

    For more (detailed) information please contact:

    University of Amsterdam
    Building C - Room 804
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
    1018 WV   Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

    Willem F. van Eelen
    Sumatrakade 99
    1019 PJ    Amsterdam
    The Netherlands
    Tel. +3120 7719147 - +316 20574033

    Appendix A:
    Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars
    By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor, published: 10 December 2006

    Meet the world's top destroyer of the environment. It is not the car, or the plane,or even George Bush: it is the cow. A "United Nations" report has identified the world's rapidly growing herds of cattle as the greatest threat to the climate, forests and wildlife. And they are blamed for a host of other environmental crimes, from acid rain to the introduction of alien species, from producing deserts to creating dead zones in the oceans, from poisoning rivers and drinking water to destroying coral reefs. The 400-page report by the Food and Agricultural Organisation, entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, also surveys the damage done by sheep, chickens, pigs and goats. But in almost every case, the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide. Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain. Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert. Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk. Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health. The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi. The report concludes that, unless drastic changes are made, the massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050, as demand for meat increases.

    Appendix B:
    In Addition to the enormous financial potential of this technology, there are a whole host of global benefits that will be derived from its application. These benefits will also compel the consumer towards our product.

    The list of negative effects of pork, poultry and cattle farms on the environment is substantial. Moreover, the use of our increasingly efficient fishing technologies is rapidly depleting our rich oceans; fish that were once common are now becoming scarce. Some of the destructive results of our “traditional” methods of farming food both on land and in the oceans are as follows:

  • Current meat production is enormously inefficient. On average, it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, 6 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of pork and 5.3 pounds of fishmeal to produce one pound of farmed fish.
  • It takes an average of 7,000 pounds of water to produce a single pound of meat. According to Newsweek, “The water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer could float a destroyer.” In contrast, it takes only 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat. The water that is no longer used for cattle or the vast amount of grain that would otherwise go towards feeding cattle can be distributed in a more effective way to the human population and/or used for growing crops to feed the human population.
  • The human slaughter act (HAS) requires that animals be rendered unconscious with one swift application of a stunning device before slaughter. In today’s slaughterhouse this requirement is often not adhered to. For poultry birds, it is never followed. Conveyor lines are pushed to breakneck speeds, frequently causing cattle, pigs, horses and sheep to be shackled and throat-slit without first being stunned. Animals often are skinned, boiled or butchered alive.
  • Half of every butchered cow and a third of every butchered pig becomes either by-product material or waste. In addition, 920 million animals die on US factory farms before reaching slaughter.
  • Nearly all commercial chickens die during bleed-out after a circular blade severs their necks. They are not humanely rendered unconscious by the electrified bath into which their heads are first plunged. Chicken processors keep voltages there only high enough to immobilize any inconvenient flailing. Many birds miss both the low-voltage stunning and throat slitting. Every day 30,000 to 60,000 broiler chickens die in the scald tank that follows the bleed-out chamber.
  • The vast majority of rain-forest deforestation is for the purpose of grazing animals. On average, 500 square feet of rain forest is destroyed for every pound of beef farmed from those lands. The rain forest provides a large percentage of the worlds oxygen and is the habitat of thousands of species.
  • Waste from livestock in the United States amounts to 130 times the waste produced by people. Every time it rains, excess phosphorous and nitrogen from the urine and feces seep into our waterways causing algae blooms to spread. One effect of agricultural runoff is the proliferation of dinoflagellates. Pfiesteria picicida, a particularly nasty dinoflagellate, has the ability to ambush its prey by stunning it with a disorienting toxin before sucking its skin off. The nearly indestructible one-celled creature killed a billion of fish within North Carolina’s estuaries in the summer of 1995. People who came in contact with the tiny predator often experience memory loss and disorientation as well as sores on their skin. In 1982, there were 22 known species of harmful dinoflagellates. In 1997, there were over 60.
  • As hog feces and urine collect in giant cesspools around factory farms, the sludge is broken down naturally by bacterial digestion. Hazardous nitrogen is eliminated, but in the process it is converted into ammonia gas. With subsequent rainfalls, the ammonia is returned to the earth, polluting rivers and streams.
  • It is estimated that the largest percentage of global pollution contributing to the “Greenhouse” effect is from animal waste. Just one hog farm in Utah. For example, produces more sewage than the entire city of Los Angeles.

  • These are just a handful of the environmental issues surrounding the beef, pork, fish and poultry industries. Once the technology is employed on a broad-based level, many of these substantial negative impacts on the environment should begin to diminish.

    But at least as compelling as the environment are the issues of “healthier” meat.

  • In the United States, farm animals receive 30 times the amount of antibiotics that people do – not so much to combat infections, but to make animals grow faster on less feed and to battle the grotesquely unhygienic conditions. Every year, on average, each American becomes sick and 9,000 people die from something they ate. The government’s strategy in controlling dangerous bacteria is to inspect meat during processing. Neither the USDA nor the FDA has any regulatory powers on farms where pathogens originate. With the exception of E. coli 0156:H7, dangerous bacteria are legally considered “inherent” to raw meat. It’s up to consumers to neutralize pathogens with cooking.
  • Two of the “legal bacteria” – campylobacter and salmonella – account for 80% of illnesses and 75% of deaths from meat and poultry. One traditional hamburger can contain the meat of one hundred different cows from four different countries. All that is needed is one infected animal and that can contaminate 16 tons of beef.
  • But as bad as the beef and pork industries are, the poultry industries are far worse. As much as 25% of broiler chickens and 45% of ground chicken are allowed to test positive for salmonella. The center for disease control estimates that campylobacter infects 70% to 90% of all chickens. Campylobacter infections give their human victims cramps, bloody diarrhoea and fever and lead to death for up to 800 people in the United States each year.
  • For 1,000 to 2,000 people per year, infection will lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disease that requires intensive care for several weeks. A September 1997 sampling of supermarket chicken in Minnesota found 16% infected with an antibiotic-resistant strain of campylobacter.
  • In 1997 a bird virus jumped to a human for the first time in history. By early 1998, the avian influenza strain H5N1 has killed six people. The Hong Kong flu struck fear into world populations as more than 1.3 million poultry market chickens were slaughtered.
  • Similarly with cows, we are hearing of more and more people downed by Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, a brain-eating affliction otherwise known as Mad-Cow Disease. Death from this disease is inevitable. Recent evidence confirms the transspecies link gives credence to the notion that the disease, which has a 15- to 20-year incubation period, may someday become much more widespread.

  • These are just a few of the overwhelming health issues at hand. Obviously our products do not have any of these problems. They will be drug and steroid free, bacteria and diseases free, and free from the problems of poor hygiene and nasty living conditions that are standard in the current meat industry

    Appendix C:

    New law sounds full of hot air
    April 28, 2007

    BARMY Euro MPs are demanding new laws to stop cows and sheep PARPING. Their call came after the UN said livestock emissions were a bigger threat to the planet than transport. The MEPs have asked the European Commission to “look again at the livestock question in direct connection with global warming”. The official EU declaration demands changes to animals’ diets, to capture gas emissions and recycle manure. They warned: “The livestock sector presents the greatest threat to the planet.” The proposal will be looked at by the 27 member states. The UN says livestock farming generates 18 per cent of greenhouse gases while transport accounts for 14 per cent.
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