PETA US confirms development of in vitro chicken
The animal rights group announced a $1 million award for the first laboratory to use chicken cells to create commercially viable in vitro (test tube) chicken, back in 2008.
The deadline for the contest was 4 March 2014, and although in vitro chicken is not available yet, PETA said that the prize money had acted as a catalyst, with laboratory work coming a long way since.
It said a commercially viable in vitro beef hamburger or pork sausage "is certain to be created", and that this science will eventually be used to create in vitro chicken.
Last summer a professor from the University of Maastricht created the world’s first artificial burger grown from a cow’s stem cells.
Ingrid E Newkirk, managing director, PETA UK, said: "PETA US is happy that its offer sparked debate, created a fellowship, prompted interest and investment from the food industry and dot-com millionaires and has seen patents pending for breakthroughs in developing the process, from tissue scaffolding to muscle development."
As the $1m was not awarded, PETA US said it would look to put the prize to good use in combating cruelty in food production. Its primary interest is in replacing chicken factories, transport and slaughter.
"The first focus may be in legal challenges to ‘ag-gag’ legislation that makes it a crime to record atrocities on factory farms and in slaughterhouses, thereby keeping the consumer in the dark," it said.