Old McDonald had a… problem

Test tube meatDuring a recent dinner, a friend asked me whether I would eat artificial meat – i.e. that which is created in a test tube rather than coming from a slaughtered animal. I said that I would, so long as it tasted identical to the real thing. Would you?

Before I get into the meat of the post (ba-da-boom), it would probably be useful to elaborate on my stance regarding animal cruelty because I can almost feel the heat of indignation caused by my many animal-loving friends. Clearly I am a meat eater, which means I haven’t had an epiphany about the ethics of how my food is sourced. It doesn’t mean I think it’s right that animals should suffer for my sake, just that I have not yet found a compelling reason to weigh my rights vs. responsibilities in that area (read: it’s in the “too-hard basket”).

So getting back to test tube meat, something that occurred to me: assuming it were to take off, and the farming of chickens, pigs, cows and other “meat producing” animals was no longer required – what would happen to those species? As far as I know, these animals are complete domesticated and don’t exist in the wild at all. Does it mean that they’ll effectively become extinct, other than the few that might be kept by zoos and as pets or for personal consumption?

Also on the endangered list would be derivative industries such as “organic” manure, gelatin, leather, and a whole host of other products derived from the meat industry or its by-products.

Food for thought, or thought for food?

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Interesting reading:

The Conversation: What is the value of an animalís†life? http://theconversation.edu.au/what-is-the-value-of-an-animals-life-4412

Scientists working on $330,000 test-tube-meat burger http://articles.latimes.com/2012/feb/20/business/la-fi-mo-test-tube-meat-20120220