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View Poll Results: Would you eat meat grown in a lab?

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  • Yes - I have no problems with it.

    9 50.00%
  • No - makes me sick to think of it.

    8 44.44%
  • Maybe - depends; Let's discuss it.

    1 5.56%
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  1. #1
    Senior Member sdalek's Avatar
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    Question Would you eat laboratory grown meat?

    I ran across this article about laboratory grown meat being possible in the future. From an animal ethics perspective, this might seem like a viable solution to the mistreatment of animals we use for food, otherwise it seems to me that this has the stigma of being grown in a petri dish. I'm not certain that I feel up to this yet, how does everyone else feel?

    I've worked in a hospital before and played around with petri dishes in biology class before and therefore have a stigma attached to dealing with things used to grow bacteria and other nasties. I still have a lot to learn about the process and a lot of soul searching to do before I feel comfortable eating meat from this source.

  2. #2
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    You're missing something here, mate. Do you realize how disease-ridden most animals you eat as meat are? Do you know how much contamination and cross-contamination is introduced through the process of taking a happy cow and turning it into a McDonald's hamburger?

    If you knew, not even mentioning treatment of the animals prior to that, you would probably never eat it again.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    I ran across this article about laboratory grown meat being possible in the future.From an animal ethics perspective, this might seem like a viable solution to the mistreatment of animals we use for food...
    That is presuming that raising animals to eat is wrong. I do not think it is, so I do not feel an obligation to prevent it. That said, entering into a debate is wrought with difficulties, since so many misconceptions abound concerning ethical problems.

    There is also another point to consider. The only reason there are so many cows, sheep and pigs in the world, indeed the only reason why modern cows, sheep and pigs exist, is because we farm them. There are more cows on the planet than there are people, from an evolutionary perspective, domestication by humans has turned cows into one of the most successful species to ever grace the earth. They do not have to be smart, they are not excellent foragers or deadly predators, in fact they can't do much but sleep and eat, nor do they need to, since all the ordinary problems which face wild animals have been outsourced to human beings, who do all this for them.

    The fact that cows are a valuable resource is precisely why there are so many of them, owners have an incentive to keep breeding more cows, to increase their numbers and get more food to consumers. If we could grow meat in a manner like described above, and some thought it wise to pass laws against slaughtering animals for meat now that we had an alternative, what would happen to all those animals? Perhaps cows might be kept in smaller numbers for milk production, but what of pigs or chickens? Those species which have little value to humans or where there is legislation which makes them unownable, tend also to be those animals which end up on the endangered species list or worse.

    I've worked in a hospital before and played around with petri dishes in biology class before and therefore have a stigma attached to dealing with things used to grow bacteria and other nasties.
    I would not worry if I were you. I am quite sure that if this practice ever becomes a viable business model, there will be manufacturing processes that have no need for petri dishes.

    I still have a lot to learn about the process and a lot of soul searching to do before I feel comfortable eating meat from this source.
    As opposed to the source that walks around in its own crap everyday?
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I don't think I could bring myself to eat it, but in a few generations I'm sure it would be considered perfectly normal.

    To Lee's question of what would we do with all the cows, I'm sure it would be a gradual process and the forces of supply and demand would cause farmers not to breed cattle. Eventually there wouldn't be too many meat animals outside of zoos and a few hobby farms.

    Myself, I would rather stay with real meat, but try to keep it locally raised and humanely treated and slaughtered. I'm not sure how realistic that is, though.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member sdalek's Avatar
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    Well, lets take it a step further; Eliminate the animals from the process altogether. This process could be adapted to do the same with human cells and could be made portable so that people could grow their own meat at home. Image that, a few scrapings from the inside of your cheek and you could grow your own steak out of your own cells. You'd have the growing medium and the nutrients for the cells; I'd read somewhere that a mushroom based nutrient solution would be used as the nutrient solution with additional vitamins and minerals added in.

  6. #6
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    Eating laboratory grown meat could be my ticket to being a vegetarian without having to stop the enjoyment of a nice, juicy steak...or at least that's what I keep telling myself...

  7. #7
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    I'd have no problems with it. The way I currently eat food is that if it tastes good and isn't poisonous, I'll eat it, and the same would apply to laboratory meat.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I don't think I could bring myself to eat it, but in a few generations I'm sure it would be considered perfectly normal.
    Is that a purely aesthetic judgement because it just "seems icky"?

    To Lee's question of what would we do with all the cows, I'm sure it would be a gradual process and the forces of supply and demand would cause farmers not to breed cattle...
    Unfortunately, I doubt that would be the case. To understand why, we only need look at the heavy subsidisation which farming enjoys in both the US and EU, as well as countless pieces of legislation which protect those farmers from competition.

    The fact is that people tend to buy more at lower prices and less at higher prices, likewise producers tend to supply more at higher prices and less at lower prices. Now, farmers in the third world can usually supply food produce to first world consumers at far lower prices than farmers in the first world, especially where such nations have an absolute advantage, such as a climate condusive to growing particular crops, like bananas or coffee. This competition from third world farmers long ago undercut the prices being offered by their first world counterparts, and long ago those first world farmers should have begun directing their time and resources toward other activities where they could be competitive.

    However, by legislating "price floors," introducing tariffs on imported goods and paying subsidies, these first world farmers continue to thrive today, at the expense of the economic prosperity of society as a whole. If third world farmers cannot offer lower prices; because hefty tariffs artificially force the price of getting good to market up; because price floors make it a punishable offence to try and sell at a price below a competitor; or because the losses suffered by competitors are recouped by government cheques, then those third world farmers are unable to capitalise on the advantage they have, and remain unecassirly poor as a consequence.

    The farming lobby which has brought about these laws, would likely kick up a similar fuss, and want similar legislation, in reponse to any such technology that allowed people to grow meat in this way. That is presuming that this technology will oneday be able to to outcompete traditional farming methods, something which I admit to being highly sceptical of.

    In other words, whether it is the farming looby that gets its way, or the animal rights lobby that get their way, it is unlikely that any political party will allow this matter to be settled by supply and demand i.e. letting consumers decide.

    Eventually there wouldn't be too many meat animals outside of zoos and a few hobby farms.
    That would be a likely consequence, presuming that either this new method of meat production outcompeted traditional methods, or the animal rights lobby is successful in getting legislation passed to prevent traditional methods. The two are not the same.

    Myself, I would rather stay with real meat, but try to keep it locally raised and humanely treated and slaughtered. I'm not sure how realistic that is, though.
    Why does it matter if it is locally raised?
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdalek View Post
    Well, lets take it a step further; Eliminate the animals from the process altogether. This process could be adapted to do the same with human cells and could be made portable so that people could grow their own meat at home. Image that, a few scrapings from the inside of your cheek and you could grow your own steak out of your own cells. You'd have the growing medium and the nutrients for the cells; I'd read somewhere that a mushroom based nutrient solution would be used as the nutrient solution with additional vitamins and minerals added in.
    That would be a human steak, would it not? and would certainly increase the ick-factor.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hereandnow's Avatar
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    I would eat meat "born" in a lab. Well...as long as it wears a white coat.
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