On In Vitro Meat: The Question
When I say: What are your thoughts? that's what I mean. And your thoughts lead in various directions and gel in those directions (or not) among us and also often reveal one particular question.
To recap yesterday and also to clarify my thoughts and intentions:
- I wasn't thinking any vegans would want to eat flesh grown in sheets in a laboratory. However, I was thinking non-vegans would, as some currently eat sphincters and lips and cartilage, not to mention kidneys and livers (do they not know what those organs do?), and you can't get that much worse than all that. I never underestimate the human willingness to eat anything, except perhaps Soylent Green. And that's only if they knew what it was. And maybe feces–that would be a tough sell (but Google "products made from feces" and see what happens).
- If you read the articles on the technology, you'll find that the ability to control which"type" of flesh (re: texture, marbling and all that) is a benefit. Also, it would be healthier, allegedly, as there would be no environmental toxins, growth hormones or antibiotics involved. Not to mention, as one of the farmers said, animals don't come in convenient shapes to make into meat. There's all that bone and tendon and the head and eyeballs, and it's a lot of work to get what you want. Cultured meat is just the part you want, he said.
- The aspects of environment degradation associated with CAFOs as well as small farms would be nonexistent.
- More people are eating animals than ever.
The angle my mind goes to is food supply. This is by no means the ideal solution, but if we significantly decrease the number of sentient nonhumans brought into this world only to be dominated, exploited and slaughtered for parts, isn't that good? Fewer animals will be bred to die. How do you argue with that?
Now, does it address speciesism or animal rights? I don't think so (does anyone disagree?). But I hope that there isn't anyone who will not support this effort simple because PeTA does. (And yes, they will claim victory, but it's going to take a lot more than $1 million.)
Considering that consumption of sentient nonhumans is on the rise, and if we could distill this down a bit as there are some unknowns and there's the factor of time (we don't know the ETA), here's the question: Do you think it is in fact ethical to support in vitro meat as a way to use fewer animals? That's what it does. A very thick steak hasn't been perfected, but thinner "cuts" have. People all over the world could have their taste for blood met without animals having to be brought into existence to satiate it.
When I say "support," by the way, I don't mean financial support. I'm pretty sure you all would rather give to a sanctuary or donate rice and beans to a food bank rather than invest in cultured meat (and if not, speak up!). Other than PeTA, the financial support allocated to this venture wasn't taken from the vegan education portion of any budget and moved to the culturing of flesh. Given that, and given that the goal of vegan education is to decrease the use of animals and in vitro meat does that, by definition, I think I'd have to say that I like the idea of a guaranteed decrease in the use of animals, and don't think supporting it for the purpose of the food supply is wildly at odds with being vegan. Would I rather there were no potential of cultured meat or live animals used for their flesh? Yes. But that's not the question.