Cloning technologies even offer a possible solution for world hunger: creating meat and other protein sources in a factory without animals by cloning animal muscle tissue. Benefits would include extremely low cost, avoidance of pesticides and hormones that occur in natural meat, greatly reduced environmental impact (compared to factory farming), improved nutritional profile, and no animal suffering. As with therapeutic cloning, we would not be creating the entire animal but rather directly producing the desired animal parts or flesh. Essentially, all of the meat—billions of pounds of it—would be derived from a single animal.
There are other benefits to this process besides ending hunger. By creating meat in this way, it becomes subject to the law of accelerating returns—the exponential improvements in price-performance of information-based technologies over time—and will thus become extremely inexpensive. Even though hunger in the world today is certainly exacerbated by political issues and conflicts, meat could become so inexpensive that it would have a profound effect on the affordability of food.
The advent of animal-less meat will also eliminate animal suffering. The economics of factory farming place a very low priority on the comfort of animals, which are treated as cogs in a machine. The meat produced in this manner, although normal in all other respects, would not be part of an animal with a nervous system, which is generally regarded as a necessary element for suffering to occur, at least in a biological animal. We could use the same approach to produce such animal by-products as leather and fur. Other major advantages would be to eliminate the enormous ecological and environmental damage created by factory farming as well as the risk of prion-based diseases, such as mad-cow disease and its human counterpart, vCJD.
Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, New York, 2005, p. 224