big bend ranch state park 

Here's an appetizing question--would you eat fake meat?

  The President of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Macia McNutt, told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board during an appearance in San Antonio that 'man made meat' is right over the horizon.

  She says that is the logical solution to concerns over the expense and damage to the environment caused by raising cattle for food.

  "Bio-printing of meat has already been demonstrated in the lab," she told a sustainability conference in San Antonio.  "If you produce animal protein with 99% less less land and 96& less water."

  It is no secret that the Texas ranching industry has been under pressure for a number of years, troubles which were only made worse by the Great Drought of 2011-2015.  Eating of beef cattle is under pressure from health advocates, from animal rights groups, and from vegans who claim that raising cattle for food is an irresponsible allocation of resources.

  Global warming advocates also say cattle raising is inefficient, and contributes to climate change.  And fewer and fewer young people today are attracted by the rural lifestyle.

  Dr. McNutt says while artificial beef is on the horizon, she is not quite ready personally to sit down to a heaping helping of Bio-printed meat.

  "I'm sure I'm actually ready to eat a Bio-printed beef burger," she said.  "But I would not be surprised to see this becoming more mainstream in the next twenty years."

  This is in line with the annual 'Big Dinner' sponsored by the Witte Museum, which explores the use of alternative sources of food and protein.

  So what would become of Texas ranches?  McNutt says many could make more money as theme parks, teaching tourists about the 'Old West' romance of the cattle industry.