Would You Eat Synthetic Meat?


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The issue of in-vitro grown beaker bacon has been a meaty issue on Treehugger before; now James McWilliams looks at the issue in the Atlantic. He quotes Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society, who says "in vitro meat has the potential to prevent an enormous amount of suffering" and adds that "Anyone who cares about animals and the environment must acknowledge Shapiro's point. In so far as cultured meat would obviate the need to raise flesh for human consumption, it would arguably be the most pivotal development in 10,000 years of farming."

But others disagree.

Kate McMahon, who represents Friends of the Earth, complained to CNN that "At a time when hundreds of small-scale, sustainable farming operations are filing for bankruptcy every day, it is unethical to consider purchasing petri dish meat." Unethical! Slow Food USA is skeptical for reasons that defy easy summation, but here's president Josh Viertel's take on "test-tube flesh": "The problems with cruelty to animals are born of that gap [between producer and consumer]. I see [test tube flesh] as a solution that just increases that gap ... This is a technology that's just going to give more to companies and create a larger distance between us."

McWilliams is shocked at this, and says that "these responses boggle my noodle." What about you?