What is “The disruption of the cow?”
It means that one by one, all products that we now derive from the cow, will be substituted by ‘superior, cheaper, modern alternatives’, produced by precision fermentation (PF) from vegetal feedstock!
And we seem to be on the brink of such a development now
Other livestock like pigs and chicken will be affected as well. Cattle will be hit first because they are the most inefficient transformer of vegetal into animal products
Proteins will be five times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 before ultimately approaching the cost of sugar
PF products will be superior – more nutritious, healthier, better tasting, more convenient, with almost unimaginable variety
PF is a process performed by microorganisms to produce almost any complex organic molecule from vegetal feedstock. Food engineers can use shared databases to design, develop and share products anywhere in the world. Fermentation farms can be located anywhere, preferably close to their customers in towns and cities.
This disruption will have many diverse effects
– PF technology’s products typically require less than one tenth of the cropland. In the case of cattle, a PF-enhanced burger will use 94% less land than a beef equivalent and 87% less water because of the reduction in irrigated crops fed to animals
– Animal agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation, soil erosion and degradation, water pollution, local air pollution and habitat and biodiversity loss
– GHG net emissions from the sector may be reduced by 45% in 2030
– About 80% of global antibiotic use is for livestock and its reduction may slow antibiotic resistance
– We can produce artificial leather as good as the natural product
– PF allows for an opportunity to maximize beneficial nutrients and minimize harmful substances
– Low-income countries will become able to produce low-cost, high-quality food themselves. This will bring increased food security to them
These benefits address a good many of the UN’s 17 SDGs!
But farmers around the world will be the losers over time and will probably fight back in several ways. However ultimately the economics of this disruptive technology will erode their margins
We will need to have carefully managed policies to help in the transition
“Only by breaking out of the agriculture system of the first domestication of plants and animals can we hope to ensure a food supply that is abundant, accessible, healthy, inexpensive, and nutritious, without the destructive environmental impact of our current system”
Do you agree we must go down this path for the sake of sustainability?