Europe decides it doesn’t like lab-grown meat before it’s tried it

For its detractors, it is an abomination—“Franken-meat”. For its advocates, meat grown from animal cells (known as lab-grown, cultured or cultivated) promises to help save the planet. It could slash the water consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions of the livestock industry (around 12% of the global total). Even if lab-grown meat merely replaced the stuff currently fed to pets, it would reduce the need to kill other animals. But it might pose an existential risk to livestock farmers, who are already protesting vigorously in Europe at rising costs, environmental restrictions and mounting paperwork.

In the eu, the controversy over cultured meat is searing. The European Commission is considering whether a ban introduced by Italy’s conservative government breaches the rules of the internal market. Since the ban was imposed last November, 11 other countries have lined up to defend “real” meat. A note from the Italian, French and Austrian delegations to the agriculture and fisheries council on January 23rd claimed the lab-grown variety threatens the “very heart of the European farming model”. They managed to corral eight other delegations in support.