An Alabama cattle farmer and beef processor has devoted the last several years of his life to producing high-quality local beef products. He has worked from sunrise to sunset, ensuring his products are what the people of Alabama and beyond deserve. Now, lab-grown meat is sneaking into households, and Joseph Mason of Mason Hills Farm has something to say about it.

"When I think of lab-grown, I think of a science project," Mason told 1819 News. "It offends me that lab-grown meat has been given a foothold in our country. We've been treated for so long like subjects instead of citizens. We are, in fact, not lab rats."

State Sen. Jack Williams (R-Wilmer) is sponsoring a bill to outlaw lab-grown meat in Alabama. Senate Bill 23 would prohibit manufacturing, selling or distributing food products produced from cultured animal cells within Alabama.

"We don't know what's in this," Williams previously told 1819 News. "We don't know what it's going to do to your body yet. There hasn't been enough research done."

Mason agreed.

"Lab-grown meat further distorts the lines between what is real, what is life-giving, and something that is artificial with no proven data on its effects to the body," Mason said. "If you 3D print meat, theoretically, you can put anything inside that meat and force it on an already susceptible society."

Mason Hills Farm in Grand Bay not only raises cattle, but it is also a USDA-inspected beef processing plant. While the threat of lab-grown meat looms, Mason is proud of his product and doesn't think there is anything better than real meat.

Mason Family Alabama News
Photo: Mason Hills Farm.

"I don't think lab-grown meat is going to have much effect on our business," Mason added. "That's because there is no replacement for the real and quality products that we produce."

Still, Mason is thankful for legislators looking out for the agriculture community.

"It seems to me that our lawmakers are really fighting to protect our local farmers and that means a lot to me," he said. "We live in a society with such a progressive political climate that our current administration says yes to everything and approves everything without thinking of the long-lasting effects to the population that it is supposed to protect."

"In the state of Alabama, it seems we're last to a lot of things," Mason continued. "But this time, instead of being reactive, we are being proactive on an issue that impacts the dietary welfare of citizens and further supports Alabama's agriculture security and growth."

During an already difficult time, Mason said he is standing against forcing citizens to buy a cheaper and possibly harmful protein. He said that, along with the government's financial mismanagement and inflation, families and farmers are at risk.

"For the last 50 or more years, our government and big corporations have sold us proteins that are laced with various types of harmful additives," he added. "So, as we go through history, the modern-day farmer is starting to fade away. If we're not careful, what used to be the bedrock of our society will slip away into the bleak future of lab-grown products."

"That is further confirmation of why small farms and local producers like Mason Hills Farms are so integral to our society," Mason continued. "We raise what we eat, and we give further value to our local farmers as well."

Mason said consumers can think of purchasing food as voting with money.

"Think about how plant-based burgers were pushed on us years ago, but that didn't work well," he explained. "Well, now it's imperative in this capitalist society for everyone to support local and support often."

Mason Hills Farm is having a Taste of the Farm event on Saturday, March 16. For more information, go to Mason Hills Farm online.

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