Photo credit: ©Mosa Meat
On 13 March GAIA officially launched their slaughter-free meat campaign. Following encouraging results in the opinion poll measuring consumer attitudes towards cell-based meat in Belgium, the campaign launch was tied to the presentation of Paul Shapiro’s book Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World, now available in French and Dutch.
With this campaign, GAIA is profiling itself as Belgium’s leader of societal transition to slaughter-free meat, or in words of Michel Vandenbosch, GAIA’s President: ‘Belgium must not miss the boat of this innovative technology!’
The opinion poll, conducted by Ipsos, showed that 84% of Belgians have neutral or positive attitudes towards cell-based meat, which it defined as a concept scientists are currently working on and which will be available to consumers in the next five to ten years. The research was commissioned by GAIA to anticipate citizens’ perception of the new technology, and identify potential drivers and barriers in the consumption of cell-based meat.
The representative sample of the Belgian population showed that only a very small percentage (2.5%) is vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian, while 31% of the population identifies with flexitarianism (eating meat and fish, but also vegetarian meals regularly). A big majority of Belgians, 66% of them, identified as meat-eaters.
Targeting regular meat-eaters who consume meat out of habit (47% in Belgium) or simply because it tastes good (66%), cell-based meat production distinguishes itself from plant based substitutes. By creating real meat, with one important distinction – free of slaughter, free of suffering – this nascent industry has been trying to reconcile meat lovers with people who love animals for almost 15 years.
While Vandenbosch is convinced that a completely meat-free future may be too optimistic, he believes “a future without the slaughter of animals is no longer a utopian dream’’. Ann De Greef, Director of GAIA, finds the poll results very encouraging because they show that Belgians associate cell-based meat primarily with animal welfare, with respect for the environment. With plans to work with researchers, the government and environmental organisations in future, De Greef also believes that the better informed people are, the more willing they will be to buy and eat cell-based meat.
Even today, the majority (57%) would consume cell-based meat because it allows them to eat real meat without causing any animals to suffer, combined with 74% of those who have a positive attitude to the concept of slaughter-free meat. “These results prove that caring for the welfare of animals is a fundamental value in our society,” concludes De Greef.
You can see the full report of the opinion poll here.