Why don't we just eat grass?


I read an interesting discussion the other day about why humans (mostly) don't eat carnivorous mammals. It boiled down to a few main points:

  1. Carnivores often don't taste good due to their relative lack of fat and stringy muscles.
  2. Aggressive animals are hard to domesticate.
  3. What do you feed them?

1 and 2 are manageable. A few centuries of selective breeding and I'm sure you'll have a sedentary and tasty apex predator.

But you can't avoid point 3. If you're keeping lions, you'll need to raise some cows to feed to them. At which point, you might as well cut out the lion and eat the cow directly.

As the old meme goes, "A horse is a machine for turning grass into fast." In many ways, that what livestock are. A sheep is a machine which turns grass into wool. A cow is a machine which turns grass into milk.

There's a lot of nonsense talked about how going vegan can save the planet. Obviously, it's a lot more complicated than that - but there is a huge amount of energy and land being used to turn crops into other goods via animals.

OK, we already have milk alternatives - whereby oat, soy, rice, almonds, and other plants are mushed into a pale white simulacrum of animal milk. But, obviously, humans can't easily digest grass.

So can we cut the animal out of the loop and mechanically turn grass into milk?

Yes! Both Imagindairy and Perfect Day are creating artificial dairy1!

We are heading to an "Amazing Meat-Free Future".

I'm rather looking forward to becoming a "Synthetarian". Where grass - or some other crop - is fed through the "stomach" of an machine and then manipulated into becoming food. It is conceivable that every home could have their own replicator - fill it with grass clippings and watch it 3D print a "steak".

The next step, obviously, is to work out how we can artificially grow grass...


  1. OK, they're not feeding grass into a mechanical cow - but rather genetically modifying various micro-organisms to be able to spit out the necessary proteins for milk. 

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5 thoughts on “Why don't we just eat grass?”

  1. says:

    This sort-of runs parallel (in my mind anyway) to Ecotricity's efforts to turn grass into energy for heating (via a compost-to-methane process, if my very vague memory is correct).

    Reply

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