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The Ethics of Eating Meat: A Fowl Dilemma

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5 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Everyone should eat cicadas and crickets for their protein; as sentience goes these critters are pretty low on the scale and far more environmentally friendly.

 

5 hours ago, HoodedCrow said:

And worms! Recipes? Cicada crunch cereal. Whipped worm icing, on bee cake. Crispy cricket pakoras? Cockroach kale smoothies, and Bhurfi. Mealy bug burgers.

Wuhan again. Covid now. What next. Zoonotic transmission. Blame Zedong. 

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8 hours ago, IFR said:

 

@Leap

Cultured meat is a promising development that I hope takes off. However, there are several obstacles ahead.

An important barrier is that the agricultural industry is a powerful lobby. Recall how difficult it was to convince people to give up tobacco, even though there was clear evidence of it being harmful. Doubt was constantly contrived to sway the public. People were amenable to this because they were familiar with tobacco and liked it. They wanted to believe that it wasn't harmful.

I can see a similar thing occurring here. There will be frequent news reports about the health effects of cultured meat. People will not want to give up a familiar product for this new product. Doubt will be cast on whether animals truly are relieved of suffering, or whether it makes any real difference in regards to climate change, etc. Even weak, unsupported studies will have massive weight in the eyes of the public because want to stay with the familiar.

I can also see lobbyists imposing a lot of political and economic restrictions on cultured meat if it does end up threatening their market.

Cultured meat may take off, but I fear it's probable it will be many decades before this occurs.

I mean, firstly how old do you think I am? :P 

In any case, I think the tobacco industry is a prime example of why we may be positive about cultured meat becoming prevalent - yes, the tobacco industry lobbied hard and successfully to keep people smoking, just as vegan & climate activist groups have been largely unsuccessful in getting people to stop eating meat for ethical or practical concerns. When given an alternative however, a lot of people did give up a familiar product in pretty large numbers - there's under 7m smokers in the UK, but a further 3M who vape. 

In addition to that, I think there's some obvious reasons to choose cultured meat - it's an easy way to be climate conscious, it should be cheaper than regular meat in the medium future, it's a more ethical choice - that don't really exist for smoking where the main motivation by far is "I don't want lung cancer in 10 years time", and humans have never been that great at making health conscious choices. 

That said, I completely agree that it may not happen overnight. I think the potential for a monumental switch is there, but I am very doubtful that for a variety of reasons including agricultural lobbying we just won't get there that quickly. Same sort of thing with self-driving cars (on a completely different tangent).

 

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11 hours ago, HoodedCrow said:

You might forget that the vegetable things that we eat are by no means guaranteed to be unharmful. Find things that don’t have pesticides for real.  I liked The Good Place because they postulate that nobody gets into heaven after a certain time. I have tried being Vegan/vegetarian many times and I can’t stay healthy. Try being decent, and you have background noise with lots of it being complete ultra critical garbage. Puritans. I have my mocking abilities on low.

I hate to say this, but if you want organic gardening, look to Prince Charles. 

 

 

There is no ethical consumption under capitalism but the line that all consumption is equally unethical is just a lie people tell themselves to feel better about themselves. 

 

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I believe that Vat grown meat when viable as for mass production will also be safer than Farmed / wild meat.

Vat grown can be done in much more sterile conditions which should also cut down or eliminate the need to add antibiotics.  Most of our food scares happen because of the way we farm, they conditions the animals are kept in and what they are fed.

Vat Grown is also much less likely to catch diseases since the vats shouldn't be accessible to other wildlife or even humans (not in PPE).

 

 

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I suspect after a century of vat grown meat society will look at slaughtering animals as barbaric. That said I'm not a vegetarian or vegan personally. I find the disconnect in modern society from where our food comes from troubling. In boy scouts I had to butcher a rabbit at the age of eleven and I think it was a good lesson. Our food has a price and it's important to know that. 

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I would eat insect products or vat grown meat. When I’ve been vegan, I got drawn and sick, and lost hair, so I need quality protein from somewhere. I try to buy cage free eggs, etc., and must eat animal products often to survive. Less is more. You name it, I could critique it.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, TheLastWolf said:

Wuhan again. Covid now. What next. Zoonotic transmission. Blame Zedong. 

Insects arent mammals (edit: or poultry or birds), so the risks of some disease making the jump is different and probably much smaller.

Edited by IheartIheartTesla

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Insects are easy to breed. I had to breed fruit flies for genetics. I know their gender from a short distance. It’s not a very useful skill, but I substantially remember the genetics. I would eat them rather than starve and many cultures do. Could there be vector issues. Yes! I bring you, the mosquito, and the flea.

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6 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Insects arent mammals (edit: or poultry or birds), so the risks of some disease making the jump is different and probably much smaller.

Insect consumption is an interesting approach. From my understanding there's not much data on how insects experience pain (as Starkess observed, that is a potential consideration for simpler organisms). I think from that perspective the cultured meat is a more conservative approach to humane sustenance.

And the propagation of that form of consumption would pose a challenge. It's largely associated as a disgusting food, and people would be reluctant to try to alter that mentality.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Pebble thats Stubby said:

I believe that Vat grown meat when viable as for mass production will also be safer than Farmed / wild meat.

Vat grown can be done in much more sterile conditions which should also cut down or eliminate the need to add antibiotics.  Most of our food scares happen because of the way we farm, they conditions the animals are kept in and what they are fed.

Vat Grown is also much less likely to catch diseases since the vats shouldn't be accessible to other wildlife or even humans (not in PPE).

 

 

Yeah I kinda struggle with this. Having done a decent amount of lab cell culture work I know how much of a pain they are to keep pathogen free. Cells grown in a lab don't have an immune system. They're hyper suspetible to bacteria / viruses / parasites, and if anything at all gets in it'll just grow unchecked. I know the labs currently growing lab meat say that aren't / won't be using antibiotics, but on an industrial scale the temptation to throw some antimicrobial agents in as a layer of protection against throwing away large quantities of product out will be quite strong imo.

Having said that I 100% agree that we need to move away from industrial scale animal consumption for environmental reasons if nothing else. Lab grown meat has the potential fill that gap, would be very interested to try some. My wife is 100% vegetarian (I eat vegetarian about 4-5 days a week mostly just for convenience in food prep these days), and has said she'd be onboard with trying some too, first 'animal' meat she would've intentionally eaten in a decade.

Edited by Impmk2

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1 hour ago, IFR said:

Insect consumption is an interesting approach. From my understanding there's not much data on how insects experience pain (as Starkess observed, that is a potential consideration for simpler organisms). I think from that perspective the cultured meat is a more conservative approach to humane sustenance.

And the propagation of that form of consumption would pose a challenge. It's largely associated as a disgusting food, and people would be reluctant to try to alter that mentality.

Maybe for a generation, and only in some cultures.  I'm sure there have been other foods that were once considered disgusting by some and then became extremely popular / common.

 

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11 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Maybe for a generation, and only in some cultures.  I'm sure there have been other foods that were once considered disgusting by some and then became extremely popular / common.

 

Yes, like cultured meat I think changing attitudes with regards to even insect consumption is possible. A single generation is probably optimistic, but over several decades it is something that could occur - and may occur.

However, at that point the number of animals who have been subjected to a barbaric life and death will likely reach the trillions, which is mind boggling. In addition to extinction events due to environmental damage, from a non-anthropocentric point of view, that would put our interval of time as the single most tragic period of all of Earth's history.

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13 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Maybe for a generation, and only in some cultures.  I'm sure there have been other foods that were once considered disgusting by some and then became extremely popular / common.

 

I also think that the disconnect most people already have from their food sources is an advantage in this case.  For pretty much every Westerner not in the food or agriculture industries meat is something you get out of a package at the store or shows up on your plate at a restaurant. If the cultured ribeye looks like a ‘normal’ ribeye I’m not sure it is a huge leap. I think it’s really a question of terminology and marketing. Come up with something that sounds enticing and responsible like ‘sustainably grown’. If there’s a big orange sticker on the package that says ‘VAT MEAT’ it’ll be a harder road.

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When I was in France I ate the local, which was a big dish of lightly steamed snails in the shell. You were given a pin implement. In China, my DH was given a big bowl of dead  mealy worms, and he ate them. It’s mind over matter.

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I think you have to axe lab meat. First, because it's not meat, and second you're still normalizing the consumption of 'meat'. If you truly want to end meat consumption you have to end meat.

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11 hours ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Insects arent mammals (edit: or poultry or birds), so the risks of some disease making the jump is different and probably much smaller.

Yet the probability exists. 

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6 hours ago, kairparavel said:

I think you have to axe lab meat. First, because it's not meat, and second you're still normalizing the consumption of 'meat'. If you truly want to end meat consumption you have to end meat.

I still believe with will become the mainstream version of meat because it will allow a small number of giant corporations to control the market. 

I would prefer not meat consumption at all but perfection is the enemy of good

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On 6/9/2021 at 7:14 PM, IFR said:

We agree in some respect. I personally have no problem eating hunted meat, or partaking of eggs from people who I know raise their chickens to my arbitrary standards of good welfare. The wild is a terrible place, and "natural" deaths are often very brutal.

Yes, exactly.

Quote

I'm not compelled by the argument of nature though. What is natural? Genetic engineering isn't natural. We do it anyway, and it has become an essential part of food production.

I have a much broader definition of natural, I suppose. I mean, humans are animals. Basically anything that humans do is natural. But my point is that not eating meat requires some sort of advancement above and beyond the typical diet of homo sapiens. If there were a global apocalypse tomorrow, veganism wouldn't be a viable option. Again, this isn't an argument against veganism. I mean I love me a good bag of Doritos and that ain't natural either. But I think it is an argument in favor of an omnivorous diet.

Quote

It's even to the point where habits such as veganism are often derided. In what other circumstance is the effort to reduce the massive blatant torture of others considered absurdity?

The derision of veganism is often directly tied to the high-horse moral superiority of vegans. Most people really dislike evangelism.

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I personally really enjoy eating meat (and fish, seafood and dairy). I've never tried going vegetarian.

 

I acknowledge that both animal welfare and sustainability have to become part of the equation of farming (though not only farming, most industries affect these in some degree). I would vote for a politician demanding farm animals are treated well during their lives (up until they're butchered) and that meat production be done in a sustainable way, even if this might up my personal food bill noticeably. A politician (or anyone barring my doctor, really) telling me what I must or mustn't eat would not find a sympathetic audience, though.

 

Though I personally may be able to afford more expensive meat and may be willing to pay more for sustainable, ethical farming, the whole fast food/processed food industry relies on cheap meat to operate. There are lots of people (many of them with low income) who enjoy these places and make a living working for them who might be unappreciative.

 

There's also the issue that farm animals are farm animals. They will not survive out of farms. Exploiting them may appear cruel, but the moment we don't have a use for them, we'll just get rid of them. There's no ecological niche waiting for them to come and fill outside of farms.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Mentat said:

.

 

There's also the issue that farm animals are farm animals. They will not survive out of farms. Exploiting them may appear cruel, but the moment we don't have a use for them, we'll just get rid of them. There's no ecological niche waiting for them to come and fill outside of farms.

While mostly true*, not sure why this matters.  If you're raising something just to kill it and eat it what's the problem if its population is drastically reduced?  I don't understand why this is an issue.

eta: domesticated pigs and goats can become feral pretty easily, some dogs and cats as well.  cattle less so, and chickens probably not much at all.  

Edited by larrytheimp

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