PETA is offering a $1 million prize to the first contest participant able to create in vitro chicken meat and sell it to the public by June 30, 2012. The contestant must do both of the following:
Produce an in vitro 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.
Judging of taste and texture will be performed by a panel of 10 PETA judges, who will sample the in vitro chicken prepared using a fried "chicken" recipe from VegCooking.com. The in vitro chicken must get a score of at least 80 when evaluated in order to win the prize.
Slate reports that the idea has created quite a stir even in PETA's own office.
If this idea repels you as a carnivore, imagine how it feels to a vegetarian. PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk tells the New York Times that the prize offer caused "a near civil war in our office" and that "we will have members leave us over this." Newkirk observes, "In any social cause community, there are people who strive for purity."