Science blog

15 August 2014

TalkScience @BL – Biotech on the Farm: Food for Thought?

BBSRC policy intern Rachel Huddart introduces the next of our TalkScience debates taking place on 30th September at 6pm

As a fairly committed meat eater, going vegetarian is quite low down on my ‘to do’ list. But researching the subject for our next TalkScience event might force me to have a rethink. Our love of meat is fast becoming a serious issue. As the need for us to switch sustainable agriculture becomes more apparent, the myriad effects of livestock on the environment and, consequently, on our future food supply, are becoming too big to ignore. It has been calculated that, if the entire population of the UK switched to a vegetarian diet, it would have the same effect on the environment as taking half of the nation’s cars off the road.


Cows in a field. A good source of food or an environmental menace? (Copyright stefbennett: Shutterstock)

Is this environmental damage too much to pay for access to cheap meat? Should we cut out all the burgers, roast dinners and kebabs from our diet for the sake of the planet? Can biotechnologies, like genetically modified livestock or the “stem cell burger”, help strike a balance between our desire for meat and our responsibility to look after the environment? Are these biotechnologies safe for us to eat and, even if they are, would we want to eat them?

Join us on 30th September for our 26th TalkScience event where we will discuss the future of meat production. Join Catherine de Lange(New Scientist) chairing our expert panel including Professor Helen Sang(Roslin Institute) and Vicki Hird (Friends of the Earth). Tickets cost £5 and are available to book from the Box Office.


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