This is better than eating cow?: PETA puts up a prize for making fake meat

My gag reflex is acting up and that means some of the folks at PETA and I finally have something in common: We just can't stomach the idea of artificial meat.

Sadly, our votes won't be counting for much with the new campaign that one of it's founders says has caused "a near civil war in [the] office" and among members.

The campaign that's stirring the pot among the hard-core animal advocates is an offer of $1 million to the first person to cook a method for commercially producing "viable quantities of in-vitro meat at competitive prices" in the next four years.

Pardon? In-vitro "meat"? Blerrrrgh.

Since tofu in its many splendors and various marinades makes me a little urpy, clearly I'm the best judge here. Oh, and I'm a meat eater. But before anyone douses in vitro blood all over my leather skirt, I should say that I think PETA is a fine organization (and I'm not just saying that because I can't imagine a culinary world without bacon and the milk people have yet to run their own campaign with naked celebs swathed in American flags) and if someone wants to be vegetarian, vegan, animal-loving, then cool. I can see that.

But even if my healthiest moments involved a vege-mania so intense that I said no thanks to (gulp) bacon, I can assuredly say I would never ask the PETA dinner party guest to my left to please pass the fake, fibrous meat.

While the in vitro-ing has been going on for some time -- the Netherlands has been investing loads of cash and PETA's been working on it for ten years -- the organization's founder admits "many PETA members are repulsed by the thought of eating animal tissue, even if no animals are killed."

So please, seat me next to those folks. The ones who think fakey beef's for the birds. The ones who are repulsed. I mean, I think I'm healthier on the meat than I would be veganized (and that's just me) but I can certainly order up a big old salad for one night of shared phony salami convo and bonding. You know, kind of like my girlfriends and I do every time the McRib resurfaces for 99-cents.

Despite the uproar in the organization, PETA's founder says being uncomfortable is good when it comes to their work as long as, she says, it means animals are spared. She also says "in-vitro meat is a godsend."

Oh, a godsend. I'm sure. I'm going to opt out of this potential miracle of the "meat" kind. I'll also keep as much artificial as I can out of my increasingly healthy diet, even if it tastes or looks like chicken. Even if it has PETA's stamp of approval upon it's flank.

And even if that artificial ass is worth a million organic bucks.

Would you eat this up? Or is the very idea of vegan "meat" gagifying to you too?

Before you (please, stop me) fly the coop, you must read Charlene's post on "free-range" parenting. I kid you not. We're talking about kids like we're worried about the seeds they're eating and what other fowl they're mixing with in the barn.

[photo credit: Getty Images]