The carnivore: So, would you eat a test-tube burger?

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The Independent Online

Eating meat has always been a question of stomach overruling head for me. I am a voracious carnivore, raised on a diet of full English breakfasts, hearty lasagnes and my mother's Sunday roast.

I know the meat industry is dreadful not only for the planet, but all too often for the animals as well. In my head the arguments for vegetarianism – or, at least, for not eating any animal you haven't humanely slaughtered yourself – are undisputed. The only problem is: meat is just so damned tasty (and my south London flat comes with precious little pasture for a beef herd).

Am I a hypocrite? Undoubtedly, yes. But I suspect there are probably many more like me who were raised on eating meat and cannot find the strength of will to stop now – no matter how sound the arguments against.

So the idea of a guilt-free burger, grown in a lab, sounds like the perfect solution. I have no qualms about authenticity. Surely the gene that makes a cow's rump taste delicious (properly cooked) will function just as well in a Petri dish as it does in the creature itself.

The proof, of course, will be in the pudding (or perhaps the pie). But if the world is ever going to cure itself of its destructive and growing addiction to meat, then it needs solutions that weak-willed carnivores like me can stomach – and the artificial burger might just be it.

Charlie Cooper is the health correspondent of 'The Independent'