Florida lawmakers criminalize the production, sale, and distribution of lab-grown meat

Florida lawmakers have yet another beef to pick with the 21st century. The legislature recently passed a bill making it a crime to produce, sell or distribute lab-grown meat, punishable by a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. Wired reported on the latest insanity from the Sunshine State.

"Beating somebody up and selling cultivated meat are the same in the eyes of the law in Florida," says Justin Kolbeck, CEO of cultivated seafood startup Wildtype"

Other states are considering similar laws, even though cultivated meat isn't on sale anywhere in the United States — yet. Grown from cells extracted from living animals, lab grown meat could have a hugely positive impact on the climate, and the FDA has decreed it safe to eat

So why has Florida added petri dish patties to a hit list of public enemies that includes AP Psychology courses and drag queens? According to the Wired article, the answer may lie in both culture wars and economic protection of cattle farmers. 

In the Florida House, Representative Dean Black, a cattle rancher, was vociferous in his opposition to cultivated meat. "Me and my Earthling friends will eat real meat here on Earth, and let us reserve this fantastical meat to outer space," he said in a speech that was greeted with whoops and cheers from legislators. 

Considering big time meat producers like Cargill and Tyson have invested in the product, it feels like regressive legislation is closing the barn door after the cultivated cow meat has escaped.

See also: Religious authorities establish new rules for lab-grown Kosher or Halal meat