The recent laboratory development of an in-vitro beef burger created from stem cells is causing quite a buzz amongst consumers. Most people's first reaction is one of disgust and trepidation. And then the many questions: how can I eat meat that was grown in a lab made possible only by human engineering?
On 5 August, a select group of scientists, members of the media and gastronomes will be invited to try their first taste of in vitro meat at a ceremony in London... It may surprise readers to learn that, among the funders of in vitro meat development in various countries - although not of this particular project - is Peta.
Growing up in Liverpool, I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp... I've been a vegetarian for a long time now and over the years I've seen how the attitudes have changed around the world, so I'm not surprised when I see new research that shows more and more people are increasingly adopting 'meat free eating'. Even 20 years ago, it could sometimes be difficult to find vegetarian options in good restaurants. Now it's great to see more and more choice with some brilliant creative dishes in restaurants, cafés and supermarkets.
Johnny Rogan's 1992 biography of The Smiths' leading duo and subsequent fall out is a big seller and the definitive take on one of the 80's best loved and most missed bands, at least until Johnny Marr and/or Morrissey release definitive autobiographies. It also has the potential to make a great biopic.
Just mention the word vegan or vegetarian and the insults fly. Vegetabilists, plant nazis, salad munchers, eco-warriors, hippy dippy morons, bunny huggers. hese from the meatarians - is that an insult or a proudly worn moniker? Carnivores versus Vegans. Light the blue touchpaper. You could start a riot! Why such outrage?
Traditional farms are arranged to suit the animals. Now animals are selectively bred to suit intensive production. They must grow large as quickly as possible and be as productive as possible. Sows have litters of up to 15 piglets even though they have only 12 teats. Hens lay up to 300 eggs a year - 30 is a natural number.
In the countryside the fields burgeon with pasture and crops. But where are the animals? See the industrial-sized buildings in this agricultural landscape? The lack of life on the outside belies the fact that inside are living beings, crammed together in vast numbers, fed and watered by automation. For them - unlike the fields outside - there is nothing natural.
Making a film about bullfighting is a tricky thing. One cameraman turned down the job on ethical grounds. A couple of well-known Mexican musicians said "no way" to doing the score, they hated bullfighting. "It's not about the rights and wrongs of bullfighting", we said, myself and my co-director Gabriel Range. "That's disgusting and chickening out", said one friend. "Hey, I eat steak, what's the difference?", asked another cameraman, who took a job. That bullfighting is cruel is a given. But those who participate in it say it's so much more. Our film was about child bullfighters - why on earth, in this day and age, a small child would chose to put him or herself in front of a large, bellowing beast?