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Meat without Animals: Paul Shapiro on PYP 523

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The original mission of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was to combat the mistreatment of horses in New York and other large American cities.

And while educating people and advocating for reform on ethical grounds is important and lovely work, the ASPCA didn't make a dent in the problem.


The automobile rendered horses unnecessary for transportation. At which point people could hear the arguments for treating them with kindness, dignity, and respect.

Similarly, the practice of plucking geese for their quills didn't stop because people suddenly developed empathy for the birds. Rather, the invention of the metal fountain pen did the trick, and fairly quickly.

Which is all to say, convincing people to do inconvenient things for moral reasons doesn't have a great track record in terms of changing behavior directly. (It may lay the groundwork, and spur innovation, but it's a long game.)

While innovating new ways of doing things that render the morally objectionable ones obsolete – that appears to be a winning strategy.

At least that's the view of my guest, Paul Shapiro. Paul is the author of Clean Meat: How Growing Meat without Animals will Revolutionize Dinner and the World. He's also the founder of the Better Meat Company, which uses fermentation to create meat analogues out of Rhiza mycoprotein.

His most excellent book, Clean Meat, introduces the reader to various visionaries, researchers, and entrepreneurs working to make animal-free meat as delicious, convenient, and cost-effective as beef, chicken, pork, and fish.

Once immersed in this world, Paul decided that just writing about it wasn't enough for him. So he did some research, uncovered a potential match between emerging technology and a market need, and started his own company.

In our conversation, we talked about Paul's evolution as a vegan activist, from trying to convince people that animals are not ours to dominate and violate, to working on law and policy, to creating better alternatives to the current animal agricultural industry.



The Better Meat Company

Clean Meat: How Growing Meat without Animals will Revolutionize Dinner and the World

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

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You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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1 comment on “Meat without Animals: Paul Shapiro on PYP 523

  1. Marja Seeve says:

    Hello. This was a great podcast. I have been interested in cell meat as a solution, but you certainly brought out one of the problems. That it will still take time and the cost is high. Also with animal cells, regulation might be harder to overcome. I have 2 issues that keep coming into my mind. The nutritional value is one and the level of processing another. We are a mammal and probably have eaten some animal proteins “for eons”. Our bodies seem to work well on nature’s “natural” ingredients. Many nutrition experts are saying that we should cut down on carbohydrates and eat a low carbohydrate food to be healthy. Also we should eat food that is natural and not too processed. How does the fermentation fungal ingredient manage in regard to nutritional value? I know many people are vegans and healthy. But some people have issues with digesting pulses (one of my vegetarian daughters for instance).I had chronic migraines that lessened when I cut carbohydrates. Does fermentation create a protein that is close to that of meat on the molecular level? I am from Finland and would love to find a job where I could promote alternative proteins. Thank you for your time and good luck with your product!

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