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

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The Independent Online

I've been a veggie since I was seven years old – and I'm cautiously optimistic about the idea of test-tube burgers.

For me, vegetarianism has always been about animal welfare, although I do still suffer from the occasional carnal urge to bite into a piece of flesh.

I had a near lapse a couple of years ago when I was cooking my friend a ready-marinated chicken breast in one of those tin-foil trays. I wasn't sure if it was cooked or not so I spent a lot of time staring at it through the oven window – possibly thinking unconsciously about sinking my incisors into it – and then when I served it up to her I ran back to the kitchen and licked the tray it had been cooked in, like some kind of crazed junkie.

I've never understood those people who are veggies because they don't like meat. It is clearly delicious (from what I remember) and I'd be very interested to see what comes of these experiments.

I've always been a fan of meat substitutes such as Linda McCartney and Quorn products, so I could well become an early adopter if artificial meat were widely available.

I do have some reservations. Production would still require a limited herd of animals to produce the original meat cells. I'm also pessimistic about how far it would catch on. There are vast swathes of society that I can't see accepting this ethically – even if I would.

Jess Bowie is content editor of 'The House' magazine