What human herbivores think of lab-grown meat

Your moment
Lab-grown meat is the talk of the town these days, but what do people who don't eat the real thing think about its lab-grown counterpart?

As a long-term vegetarian and a newbie vegan, personally, I'm not interested in eating lab-grown meat. I associate meat with animal flesh and suffering, thus even meat alternatives that have meat-like texture make me queasy.

This is not to say I'm in any way against lab-grown meat. In fact, I'm 100 percent for it. If it reduces animal suffering and cuts down on the climate change effects of the meat industry it helps my agenda.

However, I'm only one herbivore and not a very fervent, outspoken one at that. I mostly let other people eat what they want and keep my mouth shut — literally and figuratively.

So, to get a wider perspective on how people who don't eat "real" meat feel about its lab-grown counterpart, I went where nobody knows your name: Reddit. 

My "findings" below are based on three subreddits: r/DebateAVeganr/vegan, and r/vegetarian

Here are the highlights:

1) Most human herbivores are not interested in eating lab-grown meat
Somewhat unsurprisingly, most vegan and vegetarians of Reddit share similar views as mine when it comes to eating lab-grown meat. The majority of Redditors participating in the discussion say they wouldn't eat lab-grown meat because it would remind them too much of animal suffering. And some even argue that lab-grown meat isn't technically vegan because:

a) The culture to produce the lab-grown meat is still taken from an animal without its consent.

b) Mammalian cells grown in labs use culturing media that contains bovine serum albumin — a component of cow blood.

2) Vegan is where your heart is
This comes from a "softer" approach to veganism and vegetarianism. For people in this camp, veganism and vegetarianism are about reducing the amount of suffering we bring to other beings. Thus whether lab-grown meat is technically vegan or not is just semantics. I think it's widely acknowledged that the end of factory farming is not going to come from changing the global moral compass, and these herbivores argue that lab-grown meat if/when its widely available will reduce suffering exponentially. 

These herbivores believe in "omnis" (what vegan and vegetarians of Reddit call people who eat meat) in the sense that when presented with the option to choose from meat that comes from slaughter and meat that has been grown suffering-free, most people will choose the former if the taste and the price is the same.

The most optimistic of the bunch, these Redditors believe that "clean-meat" is the technological messiah we've been waiting for, the saviour who's going to bring us closer to a vegan world.

3) The health thing
Some Reddit herbivores argue that vegan or not there is no point to trying to produce meat in a lab environment because eating meat is bad for you and it will be equally bad if it's been grown by scientists instead of factory farmers.  But the counter-argument to this is that indeed because it's grown in a lab, this meat can have any amount of vitamins, nutrients, etc. cooked right into its genetics.

4) Wouldn't trust an omni as far as I could throw them
The Redditors of this camp are hard sceptics when it comes to omnis. They don't believe people would switch to lab-grown meat even if it is widely available.  They think new excuses would pop up similar to current ones, like "you can only get such and such nutrients from real meat." Or that when lab-grown meat becomes affordable, real meat will become luxury "gourmet" food and people will be willing to pay more for it.

5) Something we can all agree on
Everyone would 10/10 feed their cat, dog, pet snake, chupacabra, etc. lab-grown meat. For more on vegan pets, clickety-click.

In true Reddit fashion, TL;DR:

Most vegan and vegetarians are not interested in eating lab-grown meat but support its production because they believe it will reduce animal suffering and the negative environmental effects of the meat industry. There are some who think there's no point to it because meat is unhealthy but others argue that because its lab-grown, this meat can be healthy. Some herbivores believe "omnis" will choose the suffering free option if it tastes the same and is the same price but others think it will only cause "real" meat to become a gourmet item. And finally, (almost) everyone seems to be on board with lab-grown pet food.

More about: Lab-grown meat / Vegetarian / Vegan / Reddit / Food

More Stories

  • 'A Message From The Future' is a new short science fiction movie narrated by AOC


    The Intercept has just released "A Message From the Future," a short science fiction movie narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and drawn by Molly Crabapple, describing the coming "Green New Deal Decade," when Americans pulled together and found prosperity, stability, solidarity and full employment through a massive, nationwide effort to refit the country to be resilient to climate shocks and stem the tide of global climate change.

    It's an astonishingly moving and beautiful piece, and deploys a tactic that has been surprisingly effective at mobilising large groups of people: creating a retrospective describing the successful project to inspire people to make it a success. Famously, this is the tactic that Jeff Bezos insists on at Amazon for the launch of new internal projects: ambitious internal entrepreneurs must submit a memo describing the project as a fait accompli, and if the description is compelling and exciting enough, they get the resources to make it happen.

    But it's not just Amazon: as anthropologist Gabriella Coleman describes in Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy, her seminal 2014 study of Anonymous, this is how Anon ops get started: an individual Anon makes a video announcing victory in some op that hasn't taken place yet, and if enough other anons are inspired by it to make it happen, then it happens.

    In her article accompanying the video, Naomi Klein describes the audacity of other projects on this scale, like FDR's New Deal, and how much skepticism they were met with at their outset -- and how, as the vision caught on, it spread like wildfire through the population, so that something that was once impossible became inevitable.

    "One reason that elite attacks never succeeded in turning the public against the New Deal had to do with the incalculable power of art, which was embedded in virtually every aspect of the era’s transformations. The New Dealers saw artists as workers like any other: people who, in the depths of the Depression, deserved direct government assistance to practice their trade. As Works Progress Administration administrator Harry Hopkins famously put it, 'Hell, they’ve got to eat just like other people.'

    Through programs including the Federal Art Project, Federal Music Project, Federal Theater Project, and Federal Writers Project (all part of the WPA), as well as the Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture and several others, tens of thousands of painters, musicians, photographers, playwrights, filmmakers, actors, authors, and a huge array of craftspeople found meaningful work, with unprecedented support going to African-American and Indigenous artists.

    The result was a renaissance of creativity and a staggering body of work that transformed the visual landscape of the country. The Federal Art Project alone produced nearly 475,000 works of art, including over 2,000 posters, 2,500 murals, and 100,000 canvasses for public spaces. Its stable of artists included Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. Authors who participated in the Federal Writers Program included Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and John Steinbeck." (A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

    This article was originally published on BoingBoing under a Creative Commons license. It's written by Cory Doctorow. You can read the original article here.

    This story features:
    Read more
  • Is Instagram's upcoming donation sticker just a way to lure credit card numbers?


    Last February, Facebook announced that it will release a donation sticker feature on Instagram, giving its users the possibility to support charitable organizations through Instagram Stories.

    The move is part of Facebook conglomerate’s increasing interest in philanthropy. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably already come across a fundraiser from a friend, asking you to donate to a charitable cause. Or maybe, you set one up yourself for your birthday. This Charitable Giving feature on Facebook raised over $ 1 billion as of November 2018.

    It seems that Zuckerberg’s plan is to transform his social media into the go-to virtual place for charitable donations. The endeavor appears nothing but noble and laudable.

    On Facebook, donors enjoy a smooth experience that allows them to donate to their favorite organizations in a matter of seconds and to share their philanthropic efforts with friends and followers. Moreover, Facebook does all of this for free, having abolished its transaction fee in November 2017. There are no reasons to suspect that Instagram’s upcoming donation sticker will be anything but another sleek and convenient feature of the Facebook family.

    However, over the years, we have learned that when Facebook says “it’s free”, it might mean you’re paying in currencies different than a direct monetary transaction.

    Again, there are no reasons to suspect that it will be any different when it comes to Instagram’s new donation sticker.

    To explain my point, let’s look at the bigger picture and consider the general direction Instagram is going towards. Last March, the social network rolled out a new feature called “Checkout”, which enables users to buy directly from select brands on the platform.

    Users can shop for items on their favorite brands’ Instagram profiles and head to an in-app payment screen to order them, paying with the credit card information they have stored on the platform.

    The aim is evidently to transform Instagram into an e-commerce app, adding another revenue stream next to the ad dollars.

    Soon after Facebook announced the “Checkout on Instagram” feature, Deutsche Bank wrote a note to investors highlighting how the move could enable an “incremental $10 billion of revenue in 2021”.

    Wondering if the average user would be willing to hand payment data to Instagram, the Deutsche bank memo fconcluded that many people already use Facebook for charitable donations through the app’s giving tools, and might be willing to extend that to shopping.

    From this perspective, the upcoming Instagram donation sticker would certainly facilitate the acquisition of users’ credit card information. After all, you’re much more inclined to give up your payment data if a trusted friend asks you to support a human rights organization rather than if you have to buy the umpteenth pair of sneakers from a large, anonymous corporation. But, of course, once your credit card number is stored in the app that alluring pair of sneakers becomes literally just a click away...

    In a way, it seems that Facebook will use philanthropy as a lubricant oil to ease its transition from a social media platform to an e-commerce one.

    I’m not saying that this is the only reason Instagram is adding a donation sticker to its deck (they also just like to monopolize your digital life) or that the donations made through it will be tainted. This is just an invitation to reflect on the way social media are reshaping the world of philanthropy and whether we like it or not. Full disclosure: one of the reasons I've been thinking about this is that also here at Kinder we're trying to build some digital tools to make donations to charities more convenient and rewarding.

    Obviously, we don't have Facebook's firepower so I hope that Facebook's donation tools will continue raising generous amounts of money. It's just that they're also part of the company's bigger expansion plans. Since philanthropy really is a noble undertaking, it would just be better if the donation tools were clearly separated from Facebook’s more commercial functionalities.

    But Instagram’s donation sticker has yet to be implemented on the platform, so there’s still plenty of time to fully remedy the situation.

    Credit header image: Wikipedia

    This story features:
    Read more
  • For the first time, a woman will lead a public university in Mozambique


    In March 2019, Mozambican professor Emília Nhalevilo took office as dean of the recently-created Púnguè University, becoming thus the first women to ever lead a public university in the African country.

    She was nominated by President Filipe Nyusi, but the decision about the recently-created universities was announced by the Council of Ministers on January 29. Nhalevilo will remain in office, in principle, for a period of four years.

    Born in Nampula, the most populous province in Mozambique, Nhalevilo holds a doctorate and master's degree in education from the University of Perth, Australia, and a bachelor's degree in science education from Pedagogical University (UP).

    From 2005 to 2007, she worked as Professor at Curtin University of Technology, in Australia. In 2008, Nhalevilo became the head of the chemistry department at UP, and then took office as deputy director of the Center for Mozambican Studies and Ethnoscience, a research center at the same institution.

    In 2017, she was a fellow with the Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development of New York University, in the United States.

    Nhalevilo was the vice-dean for research and extension in the UP since 2018.

    As dean of a public university, her current position is equivalent to that of a minister in Mozambique.

    Eliana Nzualo, an activist and feminist blogger, says Nhalevilo's appointment is a historic moment:

    Nhalevilo is the first woman to lead a Public University in Mozambique. Congratulations to the Magnificent Rector! For more women in the Universities, For more women in the lead!

    In Mozambique, women still face challenges in accessing leadership and management positions. But there have been improvements: in the current parliament, for example, both the president of the assembly and the heads of the two largest political caucus are women.

    But gender inequality still prevails in the southern African country.

    The UNDP's 2016 Africa Human Development Report, whose title is “Accelerating Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Africa,” revealed that Mozambican women and girls continue to suffer from inequalities, such as poor access to justice, poor access to school and health care, and repeated acts of violence.

    In 2018, there were 25,356 cases of domestic violence in Mozambique, of which 12,500 were against women and 9,000 against children.

    Mozambique ranks 10th in the world for child marriages, according to a UNICEF report from 2015. The organization defines “child marriage” as a marital union in which at least one person is under the age of 18.

    In mid-2018, pilot Admira António became the first woman to ever captain a flight in Mozambique, while in December 2018, an all-female flight crew took to the skies for the first time.

    In 2014, when the Police of the Republic of Mozambique turned 39, Arsenia Massingue was presented as the first woman general in the corporation.

    This article is republished from Global Voices. It's written by Alexandre Nhampossa and translated by Dércio Tsandzana. You can read the original article here.

    This story features:
    Read more