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A Reflection of New Harvest’s Achievements: Fulfilling PETA’s Dream

In celebration of New Harvest’s 10 year anniversary on 23 July 2014, we are looking back at some of the milestones on our timeline of events, which covers the many achievements and breakthroughs in New Harvest’s work and the research into alternative meat production over the last 10 years.

Published July 21, 2014 | Updated October 4, 2021 |

2008: PETA offers $1 million reward to the first group to produce and bring to market cultured chicken meat 

In 2008, PETA announced its competition for a $1 million prize to the first person to make commercially viable cultured chicken meat by March 4, 2014. They stated that the contestant must do both of the following:

  • Produce a cultured chicken-meat product that has a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh to non-meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike.
  • Manufacture the approved product in large enough quantities to be sold commercially and successfully sell it at a competitive price in at least 10 states.

Click here to read the complete contest rules.

Chickens have been labeled as the most abused animal on the planet, as more are raised and killed for food than all other land animals combined, yet there is not a single federal law is in existence to protect them. Over 99% of the 7 billion killed each year in the United States are reared in unnatural intensive conditions on inhumane factory farms.

PETA sign that says 'sure, you might be right in liking lab meet. Cruelty Free!"

Because of this, PETA has stated that their primary aim is to replace conventional chicken production to save the millions of chickens that are slaughtered every hour from the suffering they must endure on factory farms and inside slaughterhouses.

While many researchers may agree that $1 million dollars to bring a biotechnology product to market is not a big prize, compared to the R&D costs involved; the prize definitely succeeded in getting the word out about the importance of producing cultured meat.

Whilst the deadline has now gone by there have been significant developments in the production of cultured meat since PETA first announced their competition, most notably of which was the creation of the world’s first ever cultured hamburger by Mark Post in 2013. In addition, over the last year New Harvest has successfully built a large community of cultured meat supporters, including many scientists that have been brought together in their mission to create commercially viable cultured meat. New Harvest has also helped researchers obtain thousands of dollars worth of research grants into cultured meat production. Scientists now predict that cultured meat could be on our supermarket shelves in as little as 10 years, replacing the need to factory farm chickens and other animals used for human consumption.

PETA has now announced that they are currently entertaining ideas for how to put that unclaimed $1 million prize to good use in combating cruelty in food production in other ways, stating that “We’re eager to move on to yet more innovative ways to combat animal suffering in the meat industry.”

Well, there may no longer be a million dollar prize reward for cultured meat production, but there are plenty of other reasons for scientists to race to be the first producers of commercially viable cultured meat. And on behalf of the pro-cultured meat community…good luck!