A certain author has been a vegetarian for going on twenty years. Now, it's true my choice was first made for health reasons (lower rates of heart disease and cancer) because a close friend had just died of a brain tumor, and my wife and I took care of his toddler children for a day while his wife dealt with her loss and the funeral arrangements.
However, I could easily have made the same choice for animal humane reasons, for environmental reasons, or even for just plain fear of steroids and other livestock food additives. It would appear, however, that the time may soon come for me to revisit the entire issue.
The current technological revolution will soon produce actual steak, fish, and chicken in lab-grown environments. And, though slightly farther out on the horizon, 3-D printers will soon be assembling proteins, piece-by-piece, not unlike the way food was created on the starship Enterprise.
So the real question is: how long will it take for these new technologies to move into mainstream acceptance? How long before you and I will actually add these foods to our weekly purchases?
I believe the sea change for lab-grown and printed foods will happen fast, making them the choice for the majority of us almost as soon as the processes are universally available and affordable. No surprise ingredients and no slaughterhouse horror stories--that's a hard combination to beat, especially if flavor and texture is top notch.
You can learn more about the $330,000 lab-grown burger that was just eaten here: http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-05/national/41081437_1_stem-cells-lab-grown-meat-burger
To see where the 3-D food printing technology stands, check out this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2013/08/06/wheres-the-beef-its-in-the-lab/
By the way, both of the above articles appeared in THE Washington Post. Should it surprise us that Jeff Bezos (Amazon Owner and fifty-billionaire) just purchased the paper that commonly reports on the cutting edge of technology? My money says it will soon be the tech-paper of record for much of the world.