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Chicken Without the Egg: Israeli Startup Creates Bioengineered Meat Without the Bird

The Israeli startup SuperMeat launched their crowdfunding campaign on Monday, hoping to deliver on their tagline: “Real meat, without harming animals.” The company bioengineers chicken from cultured cells to create meat without harming animals.

A visit to the SuperMeat website [1] prompts users to choose between “Meat is delicious!” or “Stop animal suffering!”— then proposes an option to satisfy both camps: tasty meat that causes no animal harm or environmental degradation. Co-founder and co-CEO Koby Barak, a vegan and longstanding animal rights activist, promises that SuperMeat will be both vegan and kosher.

“The vast majority of the vegan-vegetarian movement is very supportive, and we thank them for really supporting us,” Barak explained in an interview [2] with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I have spoken to about 10 rabbis and I don’t see any problem. It will be kosher.”

SuperMeat’s process starts with taking cells from a chicken without harming the animal. The cells are then developed within a machine that replicates the bird’s biological environment, spurring the cells to self-assemble into meat. While SuperMeat isn’t the first cultured meat company, it is the first to specialize in chicken, and it uses a new and patented technology developed by Yaakov Nahmias, a biomedical engineer at Hebrew University of Jerusalem who is the startup’s co-founder and head of research.

Barak believes that SuperMeat has the potential to entirely revolutionize the way by which the world eats. It can counter the environmental degradation and animal suffering that results from the way the food industry works now, as well as improve global food safety and accessibility.

The current Indiegogo fundraising goal [3] is $100,000, from which SuperMeat aims to demonstrate popularity to investors and attract the millions more that the project will need.