Paul Shapiro

The meat industry is known for following dirty and often inhumane processes


Fermenting Better Meat with Paul Shapiro - Episode 41

Apr 7, 2022
Paul Shapiro

Fermenting Better Meat with Paul Shapiro

The meat industry is known for following dirty and often inhumane processes. But the fact that meat consumption is such an ancient practice doesn’t mean that it can’t be reinvented. In this episode of Before IT Happened, Donna meets Paul Shapiro, author of the bestsellerClean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner And The World. As the book’s title suggests, Paul is hopeful of rendering the factory farming system totally obsolete. They discuss his decision to become vegan at age 13, the mysteries and virtues of the fungi kingdom and the possibilities of alternative meat experiences in the future.

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the ideabeforeit happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.


(01:17) - Discovering veganism as a young teenager: “I thought ‘Wow, not only can you abstain from eating animal products, but you can actually thrive as the world's number one athlete and be vegan’.”

(06:30) - The Compassion Over Killing Club: “I decided to shift it from being a high school club at my Washington DC high school to being really like a DC-wide organization. And so I expanded it out and more and more adults started getting involved.”

(09:25) - How animal rights have evolved: “Nobody stopped because they cared about geese. They stopped because metal fountain pens were invented.”

(14:30) - Understanding the benefits of fungi and the many ways to produce meat without killing animals: “Most of the time, when people think about fungi, they are thinking about mushrooms and they're not synonyms. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of the fungi.”

(17:28) - A new food pyramid: Why fungi, like animals, needs to be domesticated for human consumption: “This is an effort to optimize both the actual organism and the environment in which it's grown to make sure that we can produce the most efficient and most sustainable type of meat experience on the planet.”

(22:41) - The mission to render the factory farming system obsolete: “We want to create a world in which a factory farm is viewed as much as an archaic relic of an obsolete past as a whaling ship is.”

(27:04) - Conversations inside the meat industry, home based solutions and the future of meat consumption - “If we know that eating animals is a driving factor for pandemic risk, if we know it's the number one cause of deforestation, antibiotic resistance and cruelty and more, why not try to recreate meat without animals?”


Connect with Paul on Twitter and at his website

Learn more about The Better Meat Co. and follow them on Instagram

Watch Paul’s Ted Talk: Clean meat: The clean energy of food

Read Paul’s book:Clean Meat

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Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.

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