POSSITIVE NEWS - What went right this week: a milestone for lab-grown meat, plus more positive news
The world’s first lab-grown meat factory opened, an ‘extinct’ mouse reappeared, and the UK brought forward plans to phase out coal, plus the week’s other positive news
The world’s first lab-grown meat factory opened
Meat, without guilt: that’s what the founders of the world’s first no-kill, lab-grown meat factory promised this week, as they cut the ribbon on the facility in Israel.
Future Meat Technologies (FMT) claims that it can produce up to 500kg of cultured chicken, pork and lamb at the factory per day – equivalent to around 5,000 burgers. Beef, they added, would be on the menu soon.
The opening of the facility represents a big leap forward for a technology that could help feed a growing population without slaughtering animals or clearing forests. FMT claims that it generates 80 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and uses 96 per cent less water, than traditional meat producers.
“This production facility is the real game-changer,” said Prof Yaakov Nahmis, the firm’s founder. “[It] can produce meat that is GMO free, without antibiotics or animal serum, meat that is delicious, safe, healthy and affordable.”
Lab-grown chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore, but there are many regulatory hurdles to navigate elsewhere. Nonetheless, FMT expects to sell cultured meat in the US and beyond from 2022. And the cost? $3.90 (£2.80) for a chicken breast – a price that FMT aims to half in a year.
An ‘extinct’ mouse reappeared in Australia
A mouse believed to have been wiped out 150 years ago has been found alive and well on a remote island in Western Australia.
Distinguished by its shaggy fur, the Gould’s mouse has been hiding in plain sight for decades: researchers monitoring the rodent thought it was a different species. This week scientists set the record straight.
The ‘resurrection’ of the mouse is a rare piece of positive news against a backdrop of population declines. However, it’s not the only cause for celebration down under: in May, Tasmanian devils bred on mainland Australia for the first time in 3,000 years, delighting conservationists.
The UK hastened the end of coal power
Coal will not be used to generate electricity in the UK from 1 October 2024, a year sooner than originally planned. The accelerated phase out of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel was announced by the UK government this week. It urged other nations to follow suit.
Friends of the Earth described the announcement as “welcome news”, but pointed out that coal power plants provided just 1.5 per cent of UK electricity in the last quarter of 2020.
The charity’s energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said: “Ministerial boasts about taking radical action to completely eliminate this dirty fuel ring hollow while this government is still sitting on the fence about a new coal mine in Cumbria.”
China was declared malaria-free
China’s 70-year campaign to combat malaria finally paid off this week, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the country had defeated the disease.
An estimated 30 million Chinese people had malaria in the 1940s, prompting the authorities to act. China has since pioneered the use of mosquito nets, and has been at the forefront of developing drugs to treat the disease.
News that the country had defeated malaria came as a study revealed that an experimental vaccine protected all participants from the disease in a clinical trial. More research is needed, but the findings offer hope for the estimated 229 million people who get malaria annually.