Vegetarians: Would You Eat Meat If Animals Didn’t Have to Die for It?

I support stem-cell research. And I oppose killing animals for food when alternatives are readily available (even if they’re “humanely killed”). I’m 28 and I’ve still never (purposely) eaten beef or fried chicken or turkey on Thanksgiving or fish or… you get the point. It used to be for religious reasons, but for most of my life now, it’s been for personal ones.

Here’s a hypothetical scenario I’ve never considered until now: What if you took stem cells from a pig, used scientific techniques to help the cells multiply, and eventually grew muscle tissue that looked and tasted exactly like meat? No animals would be harmed/killed in the process.

Would vegetarians eat it?

Would omnivores eat that in lieu of meat that came from a dead animal?

My initial reaction was to say no. I avoid meat for more reasons than simply the ethics behind it. For one, I dislike the smell of it — If I’m out for breakfast and I smell bacon strips, it’s not a pleasant scent. I even stay away from the deli sections of grocery stores for the same reason. I also think the taste would be awful since it’d be my first time eating it. (Probably the same reason I think beer tastes awful even though I’ve never had more than a sip or two.)

But if no animals are being killed, would I at least give it a try?

Sure, why not. My biggest obstacle would no longer be in play. Is it still meat? Technically yes, and I’m sure some vegetarians would still oppose it on those grounds, but if animals don’t have to be slaughtered, I don’t get the abstinence. It’s not like I have any desire to eat meat, but it’d be nice to experience something everyone else seems to enjoy quite a bit. That is, if I could get over the superficial aspects of it.

In any case, the situation is still a long way from reality. Right now, the biggest “piece of meat” they’ve created organically is “about the size of a contact lens.”

Incidentally, PETA is still offering $1,000,000 to anyone who can make in vitro meat that tastes like the real thing and can be sold commercially.

(Thanks to Angie for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

    There’s room for all God’s creatures. Right next to the mashed potatoes.

    • Chrissy Jones

      Paraphrasing Sarah Palin is a surefire way to appear reasonable, dontchano.

      • Pureone

        Attributing a t-shirt slogan/common phrase/meme to a person who is just borrowing it as well in an attempt to rip on someone else seems foolish and uninformed, don’tchaknow…

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        In regards to the idiot Palin – even a broken clock is correct two times a day.
        Now please pass the mashed potatoes.

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        Sarah Palin? As a Canadian, I can honestly tell that I have never heard her voice in my life. I saw that in post on a picture site, which itself was a photograph of a road sign somewhere in the steppes of Canada. I think.

        • Anonymous

          Consider yourself lucky!

  • Anonymous

    As a murdering meat-eater:

    Yes, I’d eat it if it’s tasty

  • http://twitter.com/gingerjet gingerjet

    You have got to be the only person on this planet who thinks the smell of cooked bacon is “unpleasant”.  Heading to our State Fair – bacon is on the menu.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.freshfield Matt Jones

      I don’t like the smell of meat either, especially bacon.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve read that some fireman don’t care for the smell of pork.

      • Becky Shattuck

        Yes, pig flesh is supposed to be very similar to human flesh, and smell is strongly tied to memory.  I imagine if you have to deal with burned human bodies, the smell of pork would make you think of human flesh.

        • Anonymous

          I hear that surgeons smelling cauterized human flesh initially find it unpleasant, but after a few years on the job, it just makes them hungry.

          • NorDog

            That’s interesting, especially in light of the comment about firefighters.  I’ve not heard of either claim before.

            But what’s interesting is that the reaction of firefighters and the reaction of surgeons (according to these posts) are so different.  I can’t help but think it would be because of the very different associations each group has with the smells.  Firefighters’ experiences would be about human tragedy and gore, while the surgeons’ experience would be linked to healing.

            Still, I really love bacon, but then I’m not a firefighter.

    • Anonymous

      Well, there are about a billion Muslims on the planet, som 13.5 million Jews and some 30 million Sikhs. Even assuming that only, say, 60% of them obey the religious rules when it comes to diet, that makes for a whole lotta people who don’t eat pork and have in many cases never even tasted the stuff and don’t associate it with the word “delicious” (lots would probably go with “disgusting”) so I’m guessing Hemant isn’t exactly “alone”.

      • Anonymous

        Depends on the reason though. If someone tasted some kind of meat and finds it disgusting, that’s fine. I don’t like sausages or meat with lots of visible fat for example.

        Religious dietary restrictions aren’t based on experience however – or even taste or smell. They’ve just been taught that pork is bad and react disgusted when they learn that they just may have eaten some. If you secretly fed them pork in a stew for example, most of them would never notice

        • Anonymous

          Though the above is likely true, that doesn’t negate the fact that Hemant would be far from alone in not liking the smell of bacon. I have no idea what roasted human or dog or cat smells like so I don’t know if I would like or dislike the smell. But if I were to have the misfortune of finding out what any of those smell like while knowing the source of the smell, I would quickly develop a strong negative reaction to them and never say they smell good, even if my definition is just about as arbitrary as any religious one.

        • Anonymous

          Though the above is likely true, that doesn’t negate the fact that Hemant would be far from alone in not liking the smell of bacon. I have no idea what roasted human or dog or cat smells like so I don’t know if I would like or dislike the smell. But if I were to have the misfortune of finding out what any of those smell like while knowing the source of the smell, I would quickly develop a strong negative reaction to them and never say they smell good, even if my definition is just about as arbitrary as any religious one.

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            A burnt human body smells a lot like pork, unless it’s been burnt deeply into the internal organs and then it smells like burnt dog shit, kidney pie…and pork.

            • James Emery

              Can I has longpig nao? ;)

    • dauntless

      I find the odors of bacon and sausage to be extremely pervasive and unpleasant.

    • dersk

      My wife and I were just mentioning the other day that the smell of cooking bacon is nauseating. 

    • Chrissy Jones

      There are at least two of us out there who find the smell of bacon unpleasant.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

        3. I have abhorred the smell of bacon since I was a child, long before I gave up all animal products. When my mother wanted to eat a BLT she would have to boil a pot of water filled with cinnamon to erase the horrible smell of bacon. If she didn’t I would become lightheaded and vomit.

    • Michael S

      Bacon has its own cult. Outsiders are naturally disgusted.

      • Anonymous

        When my five year old heard we were out of bacon he slipped off and called 9-1-1. Funny on a few levels, but needless to say we turned it into a learning experience.

  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    If there’s barbecue sauce, I’ll eat it.

  • Seribus

    Would you eat human meat created the same way?

    • Thorny264

      I would try it,  but i make it from my own cells, just to see how i tasted and if i’m any good then i replace the sunday roast.

    • NorDog

      No, but I hear Soylent Green is high in fiber.

  • Neckwrestler

    Apart from the fact that I prefer real food, and not something “made” in a lab, I still doubt I’d eat it. Meat is a contributing factor to diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol and numerous other ailments. My choice to be vegetarian is only partly based on my distaste for flesh.

  • Anonymous

    As a vegetarian for the last 20 years I would probably not eat it.  Only a few of the many reasons that I don’t eat meat are to do with the fact that an animal dies.  There are health considerations and environmental considerations that wouldn’t be changed by having vat grown synthi-meat.

    I think that my non-vegi daughter would be happy to eat it though.

  • Kelli Smith

    I assure you Hemant,  bacon is wonderful.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      Yup. For heart-attacks and strokes.

      • Anonymous

        Just about any food can kill you in substantial quantities. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

          Everything can kill you in certain quantities. But vegetables aren’t going clog your arteries and put plaque in your brain, which can cause the remainder of your life to be substandard to what it was.

          • Anonymous

            Wow, you live a scary life.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

               I have no idea as to how to take this. You, knowing absolutely nothing about me, assumed I have this vague “scary” life. What in my posts leads you to believe that my life is scary?

              Did I somehow convey the idea that I take unnecessary risks that could lead to my immediate demise? ‘Cause that would be scary.

              Did I lead you to think I am in some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption and that my pragmatism is somehow guiding a tiny ball-bearing, down wire rails, to some death implementing device?

              Or did my not wanting to have a heart-attack, stroke, or diabetes guide you to preclude that my vegetable eating is somehow as terrifying as a naked Rosanne Barr, covered in blood, holding Tom Arnold’s head and cackling: “You’re next!”?

              Please enlighten me as to how you divined I have a “scary” life. I am quite intrigued by this and I wait with bated anticipation.

        • Anonymous

          or just eat from the next batch of recalled sprouts

      • Michael Appleman

        I’ve got bad news for you. You will die no matter how healthy you live.

  • Friedman Leonard

    One potential problem with synthetic meat might be an unfavorable food-energy conversion ratio, i.e. like real meat today, it might take a lot more energy to produce the meat biomass than it would to consume the calories directly as plant biomass.

    It depends on what the technology and finished product look like.

  • Marian

    I am currently a vegetarian.  If I could eat flesh that didn’t come from mistreated animals you can bet I would be doing it everyday.  Eating meat is not immoral, only mistreating animals is.

    • Anonymous

      Go hunting, eat meat and help the environment! Simple!!

    • Michael S

      The moral question involved is interesting. Remember, in this hypothetical world, it hasn’t been specified if others are still eating meat or not. Is it ok to just not directly contribute, while others are doing so? Would it necessary to actively discourage others from eating real meat, (for example, through legal means?)

      There are ways of generating fake furs without using animal fur. By buying fake, you still add value and demand for the real thing in those less scrupulous than you.

      What if the futuristic sci-fi technology allowed us to grow ivory in a lab, without killing animals?

  • Ladycopper5

    Well, there are two main issues that scientists would have to resolve before I would switch from eating “real” meat to the “test tube” kind.

    1.  So far in all the experiments I’ve read about test tube meat has said it horrible, horrible texture because meat is muscle, and when muscle has never been used… well.

    2.  The environmental issues.  How much plastic and fuel would be required for this?  How would it affect the environment overall to take all those animals off the grazing land?  Grazing animals affect the plants they graze on, in many intricate ways that are necessary for the plants’ health.  If we withdrew our animals, wild animals would move in on those lands – the predators of those wild animals typically kill their victims in far, far more gruesome and inhumane ways than humans do.  Are we doing cows a favor at the expense of deer and rabbits?

    tl:dr - I tend to think these projects are simply an exercise in unnecessary guilt and finding ways to feel superior to others by people who are incredibly disconnected from nature.

    • Anonymous

      I thought that when muscles were never used, they were extra tender (less scar tissue)?  Isn’t that why they immobilize baby cows to make veal? Doesn’t texture  have more to do with the extracellular matrix (or lack thereof) in cell culture?

      Implying unfavorable ecological consequences by asking rhetorical questions isn’t a great argument. (I saw what you did there. ;)   Yep, assuming we don’t repurpose livestock land, other species will arrive.  We have a good idea how this works, having observed it many times in human history (see “ecological succession” on wiki). The maintenance of the current livestock model often surpasses local carrying capacities, is less energetically efficient than directly eating the feed, and produces both greenhouse gases and aquatic pollutants (manure runoff).  It’s hard to support the implication that ecological succession will have a worse impact on the environment.

      • Ladycopper5

        Calves do move a certain amount before they are killed for veal (which I do not eat).  I’ve read articles though that talked about how “grown” meat did not have the repeated pulling and stretching that any moving by a living animal causes and thus made it really mushy, not just tender.  That is about the extent of my knowledge of test tube meat.  Of course young muscles are less tough than old muscles.

        I was not trying to imply ecological problems by asking a question.  I was trying to lead into my next point, sorry I was not more clear.  I completely agree that current farming is unsustainable and horrible for the environment.  My point there was that the wild animals who move in would still be killed by something – is it kinder to let animals get ripped apart by predators or to kill them with a bullet to the head?  Either way animals are going to die.  I can understand the impulse not to be personally involved, but I also tend to think about which way an animal might prefer to go and that is one reason why I see no inherent unnecessary badness to eating meat.

        I have major, major problems with the current state of food production at all stages, from the food they are fed to the way they are raised, killed, and processed.  I don’t mind if people don’t want to eat meat, but I would like it if the various factions of people who care about the environment and animal welfare would at least acknowledge that there are other people who eat different foods who also care about the environment and animals.

      • Elizabeth

         Immobilizing the calves was done to keep the meat as pale as possible- I think that’s illegal in Europe now. The pinker the veal, the more free-range iti s.
        Veal is essentially a by-product of milk, BTW. Female calves from dairy herds are kept and raised to be the next generation of milk cows, the males are slaughtered for meat (too expensive to raise, as adult dairy breeds don’t give particularly good meat).

  • Bobhodgen

    The predator-prey relationship is fundamental to the way Nature works.  We evolved as omnivorous hunter gatherers and have become the planet’s apex predator.

    I think it’s a mistake to place human values on the way that nature works.  

    • dersk

      We’re part of nature; my ethical decision not to eat meat is part of how nature works.

    • dauntless

      Meat agriculture barely resembles nature. Domesticated animals have been wildly driven to become large, docile beasts who would be unrecognizable by their ancestors, pumped full of synthetic chemicals. Meat agriculture is not sustainable, since so much grain must be fed to the animals compared to the amount of the meat yield. I imagine laboratory-grown meat would have a similar prohibitive production cost.

      I’d like to try genetically engineered, nutrient rich algae. But, I’m a molecular biologist, so that sort of thing intrigues me. I know it’d probably taste nasty.

      • Ladycopper5

        “since so much grain must be fed to the animals compared to the amount of the meat yield.”

        You might be interested in researching management intensive grazing, like the Stockman Grass Farmer magazine…

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          That type of agriculture is even more unsustainable at the current demand for meat, as it’s much more land intensive.

      • Anonymous

        You should give Quorn a try. It’s pretty decent, and made from mycoprotein.  I like it, even though I am endlessly annoyed that the company calls mycoprotein “an edible fungi” (why is it so hard to put “derived from an edible fungi”?). Anyway, it’s made out of Fusarium venenatum and it’s very versatile.

    • Becky Shattuck

      In terms of meat, we evolved as scavengers.  The “meat” in our diets came from breaking open long bones that were left behind from a carnivore’s kill.  Our ancestors ate the nutrient-rich marrow inside.

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        Really? How do you know this to be factually correct?

        • Becky Shattuck

          I was a physical anthropology major and studied human evolution.  

          Here is an article from the BBC to support what I wrote:
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/human/human_evolution/food_for_thought1.shtml

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            We also were “marathon-hunters”, where we just chased our prey for miles and miles until they dropped from exhaustion. We didn’t evolve to have speed, we evolved to have stamina (it was a hypothesis I read that makes complete sense if you think about it).

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            I’m a little skeptical as to your claim to have studied any science with your assertion phrased the way it was. Such sureness in your statement with no room for correction.
            I’ve studied human evolution as well, and actually paid attention.
            The evidence we have to date indicates that we evolved from scavengers into hunters. That’s a rather glaring omission on your part.

      • http://casinosonthemoon.blogspot.com Kevin A

        Even if that was the case, that doesn’t make it morally correct. You’re committing the naturalistic fallacy when you try to derive ought from is as you just did.

        • Becky Shattuck

          My post was in response to another person who seemed to be arguing that eating livestock is “natural.”  

          He wrote, “We evolved as omnivorous hunter gatherers…”
          I responded to him and told him that we evolved as scavengers.   I didn’t state my point of view on the morality of it all.  I’m a vegetarian and have been for fourteen years.  

          • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

            Eating livestock is natural. An argument can be made that masturbating to images on a computer screen isn’t natural either, but most serious individuals possessing more than three firing synapses would laugh you out of the room.
            Obviously these behaviors have roots in drives and needs (nutritional and otherwise) that must somehow be met.

      • Gus Snarp

        I second what Kevin A and the Godless Monster say, but I would also point out that while there is certainly a case to be made for humans having incorporated meat in our diets as scavengers, mostly based on the behavior of certain groups of people in Africa still living without agriculture, those people as well as other scavengers often scavenged actual meat as well as bone marrow. And it’s important to note that this could easily apply to one group of humans in one particular place and one particular time. As such, it’s pretty meaningless. Humans have been killing and consuming meat for a very, very long time. Even if we evolved as scavengers, we have been evolving for quite some time since.

      • Elizabeth

        Depends how far back you want to go. By the time we were tool using we were DEFINITLY hunting, and hunter-gatherer people were very healthy (source- comparing bones from hunter-gatherers with roughly contemporanious agrarian people’s bones at the British Museum).

        • Becky Shattuck

          Well, if you go back far enough, we were almost entirely vegetarian.  Look at the diets of other great apes today.  When you look at early Homo (our genus), we were still not hunters.  We scavenged meat and fished for termites.  When we first started using tools, we used them to break open bones left behind from other animals.  We didn’t use them to hunt.

          • Elizabeth

            If you go back far enough, we were small shrew-like creatures that probably ate bugs and worms…

            Yes, sorry, tools first, then hunting.  But it definitly happened. And it was good for us. Starting farming, on the other hand, was murderous.
            So while we didn’t evolve into Homo Sapiens with livestock, we did get there with meat. Scavaged, hunted or raised, the stuff’s been part of human history for as long as there’s been human history.

             

    • Anonymous

      An appeal to nature is no justification. We replace nature with “human values” when we care for the physically and mentally disabled, despite them having almost no chance in nature. “Human values” have led to every advance in medicine, increasing health and longevity so that in the developed world we now live twice as long as is “natural”. It’s “unnatural” to fly. It’s “unnatural” to drive cars and it sure as hell is “unnatural” to communicate electronically. Altruism for people you have never met or will meet is also “unnatural”.

      Oh, and the domesticated animals that we developed (who look very little like their “natural” ancestors) cannot be called “prey” and very few modern humans could ever be called “hunters”. We get our meat with shopping carts, not spears.

      Appeals to nature are attractive when defending something we like or attacking something we don’t like, but they are not good arguments.

      • SJH

        Great comment. I especially like how this is true despite one’s belief or disbelief in God. An appeal to nature is pointless in a God created universe and a godless universe unless you believe that God and nature are one in the same.

    • LaPalida

      Saying it’s part of nature is simply committing the naturalistic fallacy. What does it matter what we ate before or what our ancestors ate before… we go back far enough and “we” were microbes consuming other microbes. What matters is what YOU do now not what someone sometime did. How is that a justification for anything? Why should that influence our current actions? We are not them and we shouldn’t compare ourselves to them. Our ancestors also raped, pillaged and kept slaves. Our ancestors used to kill or be killed. Their actions should have no bearing on your choices right now. Saying that your ancestors hunted and ate meat therefore that is the reason you do it too is a complete non sequitur.

    • kaileyverse

      So, where did you hunt your dinner down?

      If you got it shrink-wrapped from the super-market, there ain’t nothin’ natural about that.

  • MDSD

    Thanks Hemant for posting this. As a vegan I find it frustrating talking to atheists about why they eat meat. Many seem incapable of applying the skeptical thought process they use on religion and other things to eating meat and enter this denial state that’s similar to Republicans talking about climate change. It’s so bad for the planet, for people, and especially for animals (in our evil and unsanitary factory farm system).

    I urge everyone to give it the benefit of the doubt and think about this from a fresh perspective. And maybe try going veg for a week… you’ll be happy you did.

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t like eating meat, fine. Don’t. But when you try to convert others to becoming vegan and try to guilt and shame them to stop eating meat, you are as bad and annoying as Christians

      • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

        Absence of religion doesn’t mean absence of ethics, that’s one of the most common slurs that religious folks level against atheists. most atheistic systems of ethics are based on some variant of not causing harm to  others, at not without some over-riding reason.

        In eating meat you’re causing suffering and death to a great many animals, and for no better reason than that you enjoy the results. It’s a shame you find being called on it ‘annoying’, but that’s really your problem.

        It is possible to be good without god. It’s also possible to be bad.

        • The Captain

          There is nothing “bad” with being a meat eater. “suffering” and “death” are an intrical part of nature and frankly are relative. Your definition of “suffering” is not the same as a dogs.  Your understanding of “death” is not the same as a birds. To apply a humans definitions of concepts to lifeforms that  do not share the same ability to understand, or views of those concepts is ridiculous and arbitrary. It is also the hight of arrogance to then judge other humans for those applications. Really, are poor african “bad” for eating their cow? And if not, then no other human is morally different than them.

          • Michael S

            If suffering and death are relative, can’t the morals that are based on them also be relative? If so, a poor anyone’s choices would be morally different than others’.

            Ewan makes the mistake of painting all meat consumption as absolutely bad. Arguing against it by saying “it’s all morally good” won’t get us anywhere.

            • kaileyverse

              I do not think people who eat meat are bad people. I do not have an inherent problem with those who chose to eat meat.  I have no real problem with individuals who hunt food they need, or that raise animals for food.

              While suffering is a part of life -  I don’t believe it is right to take a cow/pig/sheep/chicken/what have you – forcefully get it pregnant (through artificial insemination), feed it foods unnatural to it’s diet, pump it full of anti-biotics and steroids, keep it in a cage or too-small pen- all to be slaughtered before their first birthday. CREATING suffering without regard to the intelligence and social needs of these creatures is just cruel and inhumane.

              • http://twitter.com/justhypatia hypatia

                Sorry but I can’t help but laugh every time someone tries to complain that animal husbandry forces pregnancy on animals.

                As we all know cows and pigs and chickens are all about safe sex and family planning when left to their own devices.The real options are pregnant every year WITH medical care or pregnant every year WITHOUT medical care. 

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                  Your counter-argument is irrelevant. You equate the sexual practices of humans with cows, pigs, and chickens (not even a mammal!); while also ignoring WHY cows, pigs, and chickens in the wild become pregnant every year.

                  Forcing an animal to become pregnant for monetary gain is no different than rape; it’s still a violation. Sure, in the wild, rape occurs- but so does consensual mating. Is that really too different from humans?

                  Medical care?! Such a pointless non sequitur. Animals being farmed receive medical care for one reason: profit. If a cow develops diabetes do you think they’d receive daily injections of insulin, or one injection of a metal bolt to the brain? They are being sustained merely to provide profit; a life-extension that continues their exploitation and suffering.

                  I love that you think it’s okay for an animal that’s ‘Just going to get pregnant anyway’ to be forcefully impregnated. Not to be crass but I have heard men say the same thing about women; some religions even write into the scripture. It’s called “making excuses for rape”. You justify it by thinking non-human animals are distinctly lesser than you. In reality they are simply this: different.

                  The only species humans are “better” than are the ones that died out in the evolutionary arms race. And the only reason we are better than them (for now) is that we’re still alive (Ha!, take that Great Irish Elk).

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

          I go shooting and often literally have to finish a kill with my bare hands. 

          So, moral arbiter, am I a “bad” person?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            It depends. Are you hunting for food or sport? If you’re hunting for food, then you’re okay. If you’re just out shooting things for the fun of it, keeping portions of it’s body as a trophy and nothing else, then you are a sociopath.

            Hunting for food is a part of the human experience (for most, especially in the past). There is nothing wrong with killing and eating what you need. But when you kill for shits and giggles (not saying you do), then you are a sociopath. Ned and Jimbo, from South Park, are good examples of a sociopathic hunter: they’ll kill anything for fun, and routinely do. Obviously they are satirical characters and use insane arsenal -like RPGs – but the glee-killing is what disturbs me about sport hunters and catch-release fisherman.

            • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

              Pretty much anyone commenting here that hunts is doing it for ‘shits and giggles’, even if they then eat the results. None of us are subsistence hunters without readily available alternatives. 

              The level of unthinking denialism that this issue brings out in meat eaters is extraordinary to see. It’s pretty widely accepted that killing people is basically wrong, though there’s a range of circumstances under which it may be an acceptable ‘lesser of two evils’ option. The same applies to killing animals – shorn of religious ideas that humans are special, or ‘chosen’, or that the world and universe revolve around us, there’s no reason to treat other creatures as qualitatively different.

              So in short, yes, if you’re causing death and suffering when you don’t need to, you are a bad person. Regardless of who’s needless death and suffering you are choosing to cause.

              • Goodson

                Wow. That’s a pretty big leap. I assume you avoid driving or riding in a car at night so as to avoid murdering innocent bugs. You don’t have to be religious to prefer your own species above others. Does this mean I kill puppies for fun? No, but it also doesn’t mean that killing an animal is morally equivalent to killing a person.

                • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

                  “Does this mean I kill puppies for fun? No”

                  So just cows and sheep and pigs then?

                • Sal Bro

                  Or perhaps wild deer whose populations are so high that up to 50% of them may starve to death during a hard winter.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                  Which is the way nature intended it, isn’t it?

                  What about the fact that where most deer populations are high their natural predators are missing?

                  So shouldn’t your argument be to reintroduce the indiginous predators to properly control the population of the deer that humans let get out of control by driving away, or killing,  the natural predators from that region?

                • Anymouse

                  Have you lived anywhere with deer, or that they have reintroduced their natural predators? I have lived in MT and WY. I support the reintroduction of wolves, but um, wolves, cougars, etc  can be very dangerous to people. I don’t assume you want to send your kids to schools with huge fences around them to keep out huge “natural predators”.  We are natural predators of deer too. 

          • Becky Shattuck

            I think trophy hunters are bad.  They purposefully shoot an animal in places  that don’t lead to quick death just to have a pretty looking corpse to mount later.  

      • Becky Shattuck

        I disagree.  There is a lot of science behind animal production and its effects on the environment.  Here is a clip from a wikipedia article on environmental vegetarianism:  

        According to a 2006 United Nations initiative, the livestock industry is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation worldwide, and modern practices of raising animals for food contributes on a “massive scale” to deforestation, air and water pollution, land degradation, loss of topsoil, climate change, the overuse of resources including oil and water, and loss of biodiversity. The initiative concluded that “the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”In 2006 FAO estimated that meat industry contributes 18% of all emissions of greenhouse gases. This figure was revised in 2009 by two World Bank scientists and estimated at 51% minimum.

        So, vegetarians have important science and reasoning behind their decision.  It’s not like religion at all.  In fact, the emotional/subjective argument that you want to eat meat simply because it tastes good (even though it has devastating effects on our planet) is more akin to a religious argument.

        • Ladycopper5

          I completely agree that factory farming is a blight and curse on our poor planet.  I do not think that means that there is only one alternative, and that is vegeterianism.

          • Becky Shattuck

            You’re right that vegetarianism isn’t the only solution to the problem.  However, when it comes to steps an individual can take to help the planet, decreasing meat consumption is one of the easiest and most effective.  

            I don’t think that a person is wrong for eating meat sometimes, but I do think it’s a little sad that we (culturally) seem to think that meat needs to be included in every meal, every day.  We can’t sustain that quantity of meat consumption.  

            I would never tell you that you’re a bad person for eating meat.  However, I would encourage anyone who is willing to try to consume less meat.  I love the concept behind Meatless Mondays, and I think it teaches the average Joe how to prepare good meals without meat.    

            • Ladycopper5

              OK, cool, I think we agree on quite a few things.  FTR, when I talk about eating meat I am not talking about the average American fast food style meat eating.  I often try to imagine I grew and had to kill and process or pick or dig whatever I am eating, and I want to actually be doing that at some point.  Somehow, just imagining I did the work myself the whole way has a big effect on what I eat and how thankful I am to eat it.

            • Ladycopper5

              OK, cool, I think we agree on quite a few things.  FTR, when I talk about eating meat I am not talking about the average American fast food style meat eating.  I often try to imagine I grew and had to kill and process or pick or dig whatever I am eating, and I want to actually be doing that at some point.  Somehow, just imagining I did the work myself the whole way has a big effect on what I eat and how thankful I am to eat it.

        • monyNH

          I have two Tamworth/Old Cross pigs and five Cornish Rock roosters in my backyard who would never know the feel of cool grass under their feet,  warm sun on their backs, or the joy of a good ear scratching (in the case of the pigs) were they not intended to be humanely brought to our plate. Heck, these species and hundreds of others wouldn’t exist if our ancestors didn’t include meat in their diet.

          The argument that eating meat is wrong because of the way in which factory farms treat animals is missing the point–even if you can’t raise your own livestock, there are options for healthy, sustainable, humanely raised meat. I respect the choice to be vegetarian–my 11 year-old daughter recently decided to go veg, and we support her 100%–but don’t assume that all omnivores don’t strive to make choices that are good for the animals and for the environment.

          • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

            I have two indentured servants and five negroes in my backyard who would never know the feel of cotton on their fingertips, a wooden roof over their heads, or the joy of a good meal of leftovers were they not intended to humanely bring food to my plate. Heck, these savages and hundreds of others wouldn’t know civilization if my ancestors didn’t own this plantation.

            The argument that slavery is wrong because of the way in which big plantations treat negroes is missing the point–even if you can’t own your own negroes, there are options for whipping free, sustainable, humanely raised slave tobacco and cotton. I respect the choice to be abolitionist–my 11 year-old daughter recently decided to re-think this whole chattel thing, and we support her 100%–but don’t assume that all overseers don’t strive to make choices that are good for the negroes and for trade.

            • Anonymous

              And there lies the problem. Animals are not humans. Your type is far more disturbing than any factory farm.

              • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                But don’t you see the point of the parallel I’m drawing? Wasn’t the precise argument used by slave owners “Slaves are not humans?”

                • Anonymous

                  My dog is an animal. My hawk is an animal. My kids are human. My animals are well treated, well fed and taken taken care of. If an individual wishes to wring their hands at animal suffering, go ahead. When you have no argument you try provocative imagery to try and push your belief. Thats not debate no more than the PETA Holocaust ads were.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  I have an argument, and you’ve been ignoring it. The analogy was an aspect of the greater argument that beings capable of suffering deserve moral consideration. Personally, I consider not killing them a part of moral consideration.

                • http://strollinggamely.wordpress.com/ Fiyenyaa

                  Your analogy reads the same way to me as people who say “well if you wouldn’t murder someone, why do your support abortion?”.
                  I do not consider a developed human being comparative to a blob of stem cells in the same way I do not consider a human being comparative to a dog. I have too much respect for humanity for that.

                  Be against cosmetic animal testing – fine. Be against unsustainable agricultural industries – fine. 
                  And frankly, if your thinking leads you to believe that medical animal testing is wrong, then you’re causing moral harm. I’ll torture animals myself if it leads to a better life for people. 
                  Humanity has so many problems that it truly astounds me that people find so much time to care about other animals.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  Well, I’m against abortion too (unless it’s medically necessary), but that’s another discussion for another day.

                  You should read up on the actual usefulness of vivisection. Most data gathered by animal research turns out to be completely useless. Often times, drugs that do what they’re supposed to on animals aren’t effective on humans. Often times, drugs that kill animals do what they’re supposed to on humans. Chocolate will kill your dog, but in moderation it’s good for you. Not to mention that there is also a requisite human trial before drugs come to market. Vivisection is not only morally wrong, it’s scientifically unnecessary.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                  You are an animal too. You are making a bizarre distinction that doesn’t exist in nature. Human is a species of animal, not something outside of the animal kingdom.

                  You are confusing elitism with reality, while you may have an more advanced brain than the other 8.8 million species of animals on this planet, it doesn’t mean your not an animal. Ants are as much our distant cousin as the Bonobo and Lemur (admittedly though, we are more closely related to Bonobos than any other species).

                  That said, you raising your own animals for food is far more respectable and acceptable than any factory farm (be it flesh, egg, or dairy). This doesn’t change the fact though that you view other animals as distinctly lesser than you, as opposed to the reality that they are merely different.

                  I’m not trying to be rude or inflammatory, but it is the truth. Humans are animals and to think otherwise is a cognitive fault. We are different than all of them (save the Great Apes), but we are all still animals.

                • Anonymous

                  I do not subscribe to the animal rights “speciecism” BS. If you wish to believe that your children have the same worth as an ant, go for it.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                  Yeah, this is a lovely case of cognitive dissonance. You are confronted with opposing facts- Humans aren’t animals, which is scientifically incorrect and that Humans are animals, which is scientifically correct. And instead of accepting that humans aren’t special in terms of species existence (though we are advanced beyond most any other species), you continue to think humans are special, in this regard.

                  I’m not saying you have to value ants the way I do (as they are my favorite insect). I wasn’t talking about animal-rights or animal equality. You chose to make that claim. You made those claims, not me. All I said was that humans ARE animals, and in that regard we are equal to, and no different from, any other animal on this planet.

                  You ignored the whole point of that post, instead jumping on to something that wasn’t there.  at all. Humans ARE animals. That is as much a fact as gravity, evolution (actually evolution proves we are animals), and that H2O is water.

                  Fun tidbit: The Earth’s eco-system is more dependent upon the existence of ants and every other of the 1.6 million+ known insects than any single human being.

                  You place your child in a more important group because he/she/they are more important to you: their value is dependent upon your existence. There is nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, it’s that mentallity that has probably helped our species flourish. In the grand scheme of the eco-system though, a single ant is more important for the Earth than any of your children.

                  Animals value (including humans) is wholly dependent upon perspective. Humans are more important to us because we can fully communicate with each other, are able to share thoughts and feelings beyond words, and we are naturally inclined to favor our own species. Which is how we have survived millenia. We are not the top of the food chain (bacteria, viruses and  parasites take that cake). We are not the best species on this planet- there is an “immortal” jellyfish, which is something humans aspire to achieve. We can barely run, in fact elephants can out run us. Our eyes are a joke, the Mantis Shrimp can both polarized light and the electromagnetic spectrum. Birds can fly. Cats clean themselves (it may sound gross, but think of the cost savings on water usage). Our hearing is pathetic when compared to almost any other above-ground land mammal.

                  My point is this: we are not the greatest, best species on the planet. We are not better than any of them in terms of evolution or biology. Where they evolved to have great vision, or running, or flying or whatever, we evolved to have more complex brains. The one thing that truly separates us from other animals is language: and even then Macaques have been found to speak using syntax which used to be thought as solely human.

                  You may not ever see non-human animals the way I do, and why should you? You’re not me, you haven’t lived my life. You make decisions based on what you know and what has happened to you. That, though, doesn’t change the irrevocable fact that humans are animals. To say otherwise is foolish and incorrect. Saying that humans are “better” than other animals is a personal choice, one that all people are free to make (and usually do). But we are just evolved apes, in the homo genus, under the flying banner of Animal.

                • LaPalida

                  My slaves are also well treated and well fed and taken care of.

                  You’re missing the point of the OP. Human Rights is an arbitrary line we have been extending to different groups over many years (poor, women, children, people of other ethnic origin, intelligent animals, etc). Why should that line stop at homo sapiens? Isn’t that an arbitrary criteria? What if we made contact with other alien species with the same intelligence should we not grant them the same rights? What if they were slightly less intelligent that us, should we just steamroll over them? Is that really ethical? Isn’t that what the Western Europeans did with American natives and other cultures that were less developed than them, justify it as they were not really worth that ethical consideration.

                • Michael Gibb

                  “Why should that line stop at homo sapiens?”

                  One simple answer: because we rely on the social bonds between fellow humans for survival. The same can’t be said for other species, with the exception of domesticated species, e.g. dogs.

                • kaileyverse

                  Bonobos? Chimps? Wolves? Lions? Fish?
                  Bees? Ants?

                  Lots of non-human animals live and work groups – as well as have communication and social bonding. Human beings are not unique in this respect.

            • monyNH

              That is the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard, and your equating homesteaders and farmers with slave-owners is nothing short of douche-tastic.

              The people who used the “slaves are not human” argument to support slavery were A) clearly wrong in both the factual and the ethical sense and B) in many cases, on to the fact that they were wrong, but for economic reasons continued to spout the mantra (think of Jefferson’s “peculiar institution”). My pigs are clearly not people. Your argument not only falls flat, but offends.

              And I have to wonder why, if we are to equate people with wolves, cows, and chickens…why is it perfectly okay for carnivorous animals to eat other animals, but not okay for people? Or are hunters off the hook?

              • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                See, that’s the thing. It’s easy to say those that came before us were wrong. What’s not so easy is to look at areas of our life where we may be wrong. James Baldwin said “People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.” Peter Singer said “It is easy for us to criticize the prejudices of our grandfathers, from
                which our fathers freed themselves. It is more difficult to distance
                ourselves from our own views, so that we can dispassionately search for
                prejudices among the beliefs and values we hold.”

                The historical fact is that while you had an occasional slave owner like Jefferson who struggled with the ethics of it, the majority of them not only believed that there was nothing wrong with slavery, but argued that slavery was GOOD for black people and that black people LIKED being slaves. We see the same type of defense offered up in this situation. It’s cognitive dissonance.

                “And I have to wonder why, if we are to equate people with wolves, cows,
                and chickens…why is it perfectly okay for carnivorous animals to eat
                other animals, but not okay for people?”

                It’s a different situation. Carnivorous animals eat other animals for survival. They eat them because the only thing they can digest is meat. And even if they could digest vegetables, they don’t have the mental capacity to think “If I eat an animal I’m causing harm to a sentient being. Maybe since I don’t have to eat animals to be healthy, I shouldn’t.” Humans in well-off countries have none of those excuses. (Unless you’re gonna throw out one of those improbable “But what if you were on an island…” scenarios that meat eaters love to use.)

        • Nomajic

           These refer to modern factory style animal production.  Goats, chickens and sheep raised free range and in smaller numbers can be an effective way to live on less than fertle land.  To irrigate and supplement that land to the point where it can support the local population’s dietary needs would create an environmental disaster.  I am a vegetarian myself, but a strict veg diet is not a sustainable choice in many parts of the world. 

      • Vegetarian

        As bad a Christians?  I can’t agree with that, and honestly find it rather demeaning.  Christians argue a mythical opinion based on fear and mindlessness, while proponents of vegetarianism have real scientific points as to the problems and costs of meat consumption.  Vegetarians don’t tell meat eaters that they’ll burn in eternal fire if they don’t adopt vegetarianism.  We just suggest that you actually think about the costs of your choices.

        • P. J. Reed

          The offensive part is that you’re implying I [i]haven’t[/i] thought about my choices.

          I have, and I still eat meat.

        • Brett Hansen

          As someone who eats meat, I say keep trying to convince me I’m wrong.  Open minded people just end up moving more towards being right about things when they have to defend (or decide it’s time to stop defending) their positions.  I admit that there are some things where out of two positions, only one of them actually makes sense after studying the issue, but you might want to be careful assuming vegetarianism is one of them.  At the very least, it alienates people you’re trying to convince, and that won’t end up saving any animals ;)   It seems to me that eating small amounts of ethically treated meat is probably morally neutral, but I concede that I probably shouldn’t eat how I do now if I wanted to be applying my normal ethical standards to meat consumption

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

          When lions and tigers stop eating meat so will I. Take it up with them. They kill animals under HORRIFIC conditions, chasing their prey to exhaustion.

          Go and picket the jungle. Go protest on an African Savannah.

          Sorry, meat is part of the human ancestral diet. I don’t see any reason to start having a modified diet now that my body hasn’t evolved for, and which would likely turn me into a pale, sickly, busy-body guilt-tripping others into living as righteously as I.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            When you hunt down your food with only the tools nature provided you (no spears, knives, guns, bows or bludgeons), then you can talk to me about how lions and tigers do things.

            If you are going to make this erroneous argument you had better back it up with action. There is nothing natural about buying your meat shrink-wrapped and on Styrofoam.

            Also, unlike lions and tigers, we over-kill and consume more than we need. Lions and tigers struggle to get their food, most hunts end up without success. How often do you go to the grocery store and not leave with food (barring having no funds, but if broke why even go to the store)? And cats are obligate carnivores meaning they have to eat meat- they need Taurine, which they don’t naturally produce in sufficient quantities unlike most omnivores. We are omnivores, hence, we don’t need to eat meat (or that much of it) to survive. A better example to use next time would be bears, pigs, or most any bird as they are omnivores like us.

            You’re right, meat is a part of our ancestral diet but vegetables more-so. Our bodies evolved to consume more vegetable matter than meat, so when you eat meat at every meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, 7 days a week) you are not living a natural existence. How many predators do you know of that don’t have claws or conical teeth (sometimes with serration)? We don’t have claws and our teeth are splayed like horses, meant for grinding more-so than tearing.

            Look at our closest evolutionary cousins, the Great Apes -specifically gorillas and chimpanzees – both of which are omnivores but there diets consist of 85-95% vegetable matter (Gorillas and Chimps eat termites, and chimps occasionally eat other chimps).

            I don’t care what you eat, I made a dietary decision for myself and that’s it. Much as the same I don’t care what people believe. I have a problem with disinformation and straight-up illogical arguments- of which you are guilty of both with this post.

            The reality is, though, that with the current human population and our limited access to resources, continuing to produce meat is going to further destroy the environment. People eat WAY TOO MUCH meat and it shows (especially in the United States). You want to eat meat, that’s fine, all I care is that people start eating a healthy amount. Which means less meat over-all, that would curb the over-production and limit the continued devastation animal-farming does to the environment. In reality, based on our biology, people should only eat meat 3-5 times a week and in small quantities. And hardly ever should they eat red meat. Humans evolved eating mostly fowl and fish, which is why red meat does so much damage to our arteries.

            Being chased means one has the chance to get away, so even if that gazelle’s heart is racing, and it’s mind is reeling with extreme thoughts of fear, they know they have a chance to get away (and statistically, they more do than don’t). A cow, chicken, pig, or other animal sourced for food, doesn’t have that chance. They are bred solely for death. That isn’t natural. That is HORRIFIC.

            Do you think that the Jewish people fleeing from Nazi’s thought that the ones already in “labor camps” had it better off? Do you think the Jews in the death camps thought, “Hey, at least we aren’t running for our lives.”?

            And no, this isn’t a strawman. I can’t speak for Jews or Gazelles or anybody else. But my point stands. Is it truly more horrific to have a chance to survive than to be locked up and have no real chance at all?  Somehow I think that having a chance to survive, using the skills nature provided, is less horrific than being penned up and having no chance at all.

            • Goodson

              “When you hunt down your food with only the tools nature provided you (no spears, knives, guns, bows or bludgeons), then you can talk to me about how lions and tigers do things.”

              It’s pretty easy to catch a chicken. Just saying.

              Also, when you say, “I don’t care what you eat,” and then launch into a holocaust analog, you may find that people doubt your sincerity. 

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                It wasn’t a monologue, it was a direct response to statements about wild vs. domesticated. A controlled genocide, as with the Holocaust, is as close to an analogous situation that I could think of to compare factory farming to.

                My point was directly in response to this statement: “They kill animals under HORRIFIC conditions, chasing their prey to exhaustion.” To which I asked, using a human-related analogy, is having a chance at surviving (fleeing) worse than having practically no chance (confinement). Labor camps and human-hunting (like the S.S. performed) are perfectly suited to compare a lion hunting a gazelle and a cow being raised in a pen.

                If someone doubts my sincerity it is more of result of reading between the lines than anything else. Yes I may view factory farming as controlled genocide but that is because it is exactly that. Regardless of how you view other animals, the systematic destruction of a species is a genocide- because we force continued breeding to maintain numbers doesn’t change that fact.

                However that doesn’t mean I care what you eat. Why should I? My not eating meat, or purchasing animal products is almost all I can do to limit non-human suffering in the world. I can’t change a meat-eaters mind about their diet, nor do I care to. My goal, aim, course (what have you) is to dispel misinformation and erroneous arguments. His (Glenn Davey) falls into the latter category, which I was supporting with the Holocaust analogy.

                There is a healthy, and possibly more naturalistic, way to consume meat. I don’t deny that meat played a key role in our evolution and that people will continue to eat it. That doesn’t it’s okay to maintain the system of meat production (and consumption) we have now. People eat too much meat causing major health problems (which affects the whole economy), the excessive demand drives companies to cut-corners to save money (or turn a tidy profit), and some uber-shady farms do things to meat that would make Stephen King cringe.

                Eating meat can be more ethical* and substantive, but it requires people to start caring a little bit more about the whole of the world. This gluttonous system we have towards meat needs to end before it’s too late for the health of our nation (and consequently the world).

                * Used loosely, applying to life-standards and kill methods; not the act of eating meat itself which is a different topic.

              • http://twitter.com/AbsurdHero Nick Wright

                No it’s not. Haven’t you ever seen Rocky?

          • Anonymous

            Using your same logic, I guess I might as well become a terrorist until others stop.Lie, cheat and steal until others stop.

            Or should I follow the Golden Rule because others do. Or keep thinking for myself since some others do.

             

          • Becky Shattuck

            You have a lot of anger (and stereotypes) for vegetarians.  You also have a lot of incorrect information.  Allow me to educate you.

            Lions & tigers are carnivores.  Their bodies literally need meat to survive.  Humans are not carnivores.  Move your bottom jaw from left to right.  Carnivores can’t do that.  Their jaws only move up and down.  Jaws move sideways to process tough plant matter.

            Humans did evolve eating some meat, but their diets were mostly plant matter.  In terms of meat, our ancestors evolved as scavengers.  We evolved our large brains after we incorporated bone marrow into our diet.  These early ancestors who evolved large brains did not hunt.  

            There are healthy people who eat meat, and there are healthy people who don’t.  For the most part, meat adds a lot of unhealthy components to the diet, including a lot of saturated fats and cholesterol.  Many people switch to a vegetarian diet to GET healthy, not to become unhealthy.  In fact, the new dietary guidelines in the US now support a vegetarian diet as a good, healthy diet.  Famous people, like Bill Clinton, have switched to vegetarian diets to survive.  

            I haven’t heard any vegetarians sound self-righteous on this blog, but if I’ve heard a lot of non-vegetarians attack them anyway.  

            There is a lot of logic behind choosing a vegetarian diet, but you don’t have to do it.  The meat industry is one of the leading causes of environmental destruction in the world.  In fact, recent studies have shown that the meat industry is responsible for over half of all greenhouse gas emissions.  

            People don’t need to give up meat entirely, but just decreasing consumption helps the planet.  This is why there are Meatless Monday movements.  

            Now, I ask you to be respectful of other people’s decisions.  No one here is being a busy-body and forcing you into giving up meat.  In fact, only a few people have stated their reasons, and those reasons have varied drastically.  Some people choose to be vegetarian for health.  Some people choose to be vegetarian for animal rights (i.e., they don’t think it’s right to raise animals for slaughter when it’s unnecessary to survive).  Some people choose to be vegetarian because they don’t like the taste of meat or it grosses them out to think about where it comes from.  Others are vegetarian for environmental reasons.  Be respectful, don’t be so angry, and don’t write things that aren’t true.

            • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

              Your ignorance of human evolution is overwhelming. Your assertions are completely unsupported by the evidence and only reflect what vegans and vegetarians spew to rationalize their dietary preference.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                Do you have any proof to back this claim, or is this the same rhetoric you accuse vegetarians of spewing?

                What aspects of evolution are you talking about, since it is a rather broad topic (biologically, sociologically, culturally, technologically)?

      • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

        Agreed. I find the whole discussion snobbish, elitist and downright silly. If you don’t want to eat meat, that’s great, but my wanting to eat meat does not make me an asshole.

      • LaPalida

        That depends. If eating meat worsens global warming and promotes  suffering among other life capable of feeling pain then by all means they have every right to judge and shame those that do eat meat. It’s no longer simply your choice as it affects others as well. It would be akin to saying… if you don’t like keeping slaves then by all means don’t, just don’t judge those that do. These people feel a moral responsibility to judge and shame others in order to change their behavior because they feel that that behavior is unethical and must be eliminated. Maybe not the best tactic but still a tactic nonetheless. 

    • Elizabeth

      What would happen to the existing food animals if everyone went veggie, do you think?

      • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

        Well that’s easy – they’d all be killed and eaten just like now, but that would be then end of it. Rather than growing next years crop to replace them.

        • Elizabeth

          Well, only if everyone decided to go veggie on a certain date, and had a big binge to finish off all the food animals beforehand. Otherwise we’d probably be looking at huge pyres…

          Some sheep and cows might survive the cull, unless everyone went vegan as well.
          Next step- drain wetlands and similar areas to grow crops (bye-bye wildlife habitates) and try not to think too much about the smaller animals killed by combine harvesters…

          • dauntless

            Why would we drain wetlands to grow crops? What do you think animals produced for meat eat? Do you really think they subsist on just grass?

            • Elizabeth

              Animals produced for meat eat an awful lot of stuff that humans wouldn’t or couldn’t.

              To grow enough vegetation to support humans would require more land- in Norfolk, East Anglia, England, grazing cows play a key role in the conservation of the area. Without the impetus to keep cattle, these areas would be drained and farmed.

              Keeping livestock calls for growing a range of plants for fodder. Without them- fewer types of environments and habitats for wildlife.

              • Anonymous

                Here in the midwest the land is perfect for grazing and not farming. The buffalo were a critical part of the ecosystem.Granted, humans really screwed the buffalo, but back “in the day” when cows were sent to the grassland to fatten it was a win-win. As I’ve said before, all soils are not the same and to think you can grow something just because there is dirt there is overly simplified.

                • Elizabeth

                  Good point, thank you.
                  There are several areas in the UK which could not be farmed at all, but are perfect for sheep.
                  Those would survive a global shift to vegetarianism as the wool would be wanted, and maybe also for milk, but if everyone went vegan there’d be no money in animal husbandry- not sure what would happen exactly… might end up with feral sheep…

                  Parts of East Anglia are drainable for farming, though. It’s expensive though, so cattle are the most economically viable option at the moment.

                • Gus Snarp

                  I’d be curious to know your definition of “Midwest”.

                • Anonymous

                  geographically that is a loaded question the same as “heartland”! My use would be the plains country (which may not be technically correct), so NE, SD, ND, WY, etc.

                • Gus Snarp

                  That’s why I asked. There is no “technically correct”. Everyone has a different view of what the Midwest is. People from the west tend to shift it farther west, people from the east shift it farther east, and anybody who lives anywhere that might be the Midwest considers where they live to be the Midwest. For the record, your definition is a pretty western one.

              • Gus Snarp

                I don’t think that’s remotely true. Livestock in the United States consume an awful lot of vegetation that is human consumable. Very little cattle is raised on grass anymore.  All that land in the midwest is growing corn, wheat, soybeans, and sorghum. All human edible, lots of it turned into cattle feed. Meat raised this way is terribly inefficient  compared to eating plants. Even if all cows were pastured and not corn fed, I’m still not sure that would be particularly efficient compared to a vegetarian diet. Small scale cattle pasturing might be quite useful ecologically, but we would still need to eat less meat to reach an ecologically sound position. Unless you’ve got a source on the notion that:

                To grow enough vegetation to support humans would require more land

                • Anonymous

                  Not all livestock is raised on entirely on plants. Lots of them eat stuff that’s a byproduct of slaughterhouses. Bones and organs that humans can’t eat and ground and processed into animal food. At least as part of their diet

                • Gus Snarp

                  Not nearly enough to offset the inefficiency of raising meat.

                • Anonymous

                  The whole question is really a moot point when you consider the amount of farmland that is lost to development every year. Most of the best spots I had for hunting rabbits are now strip malls and a Wal-Mart. So, yes we would need to expand and put more land under the plow. We would need to do that meat or vegan. You are also incorrect about cattle grazing, out almost million acres of farmland, over 500 million is pasture.

                • Gus Snarp

                  How is it a moot point? It takes more land to raise a cow for human consumption than to feed those same humans entirely from plant sources. Eating meat means plowing more land than eating vegetables. It also means burning more fossil fuels and, what we’ve neglected so far, vastly more water use, which may turn out to be more important than anything else. Also, that a large amount of land is dedicated to grazing does not change the fact that corn and other human edible plants make up a large portion of the diet of most American cattle. Unless someone can prove to me that raising meat uses less total resources than providing the same nutrition from plants, can we please stop trying to turn reality on its head? I’m looking for an actual meaningful fact here. You’re up against the 2nd law of thermodynamics, so you’ll need some pretty hard evidence.

                • Anonymous

                  Reading is fundamental. The main point of my post was the development of farmland and how we’re losing it at an alarming rate.

                • Elizabeth

                  I’m not in the Midwest of America. I’m in Britain.
                  I admit that I don’t know the full figures, but most sheep and cows seem to be pasture reared here- probably topped up with fodder, true. Cattle all over the bloomin’ place.

                   Farming isn’t great for the soil either- it needs time to recover between crops every few years. Livestock also helps with this…
                  (Source- Hopefully fairly accurate memories of GCSE geography)  

                • http://twitter.com/AbsurdHero Nick Wright

                  It takes 8 pounds of vegetation to produce 1 pound of meat. You’re not going to find an excuse to eat meat for sustainability or availability reasons.

            • Chrissy Jones

              It’s mindblowing how many people, even skeptics (who you’d think would be questioning everything), still believe that livestock live on happy little Fisher Price farms where they merrily feast upon emerald green grass all the livelong day, and then magically fastforward past any sort of unpleasantries, until they reach the point of a tasty hamburger. No one wants to ask questions about factory farms, or where their meat comes from, because the answers are so awful, and so hard to unknow.

              • Elizabeth

                Oh, I know it’s not all bucolic fantasy. We had the BSE crisis over here because some bright sparks thought that feeding meat scraps that included spinal matter and bone meal to herbiverous animals was a good idea.

                But there’s enough in the way of livestock out in fields for foot-and-mouth disease to be a serious problem too.

              • NorDog

                Some of us don’t ask because we already know, but we don’t care because we really like bacon.

                I mean, REALLY like bacon.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  Yeah dude, it’s like, I love punching babies in the face. I know it’s probably a little messed up, but I really like it. I mean, REALLY like it.

                • LaPalida

                  This made me smile. 

                • Nordog

                  You’re sick.

                • Nordog

                  I’m curious, are you pro-choice for abortion?  If so, do allow for limiting abortion as regards the unborn that has developed the ability to feel pain?

                • kaileyverse

                  Currently, it is scientifically unfounded to suggest that while in the womb a fetus can feel pain. 

                • Nordog

                  To make such a statement one must be infinitely dense, or a liar.

                • kaileyverse

                  Electroencephalography suggests the capacity for functional pain
                  perception in premature infants probably does not exist before 29 or 30
                  weeks; this study asserted that withdrawal reflexes and changes in heart
                  rates and hormone levels in response to invasive procedures are
                  reflexes that do not indicate fetal pain.[2]

                  Also in 2005, Mellor and colleagues reviewed several lines of
                  evidence that suggested a fetus does not awaken during its time in the
                  womb. Mellor notes that much of the literature on fetal pain simply
                  extrapolates from findings and research on premature babies. He
                  questions the value of such data:

                  Systematic studies of fetal neurological function suggest, however,
                  that there are major differences in the in utero environment and fetal
                  neural state that make it likely that this assumption is substantially
                  incorrect.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                   ”I’m curious, are you pro-choice for abortion? ”

                  No.

              • NorDog

                Some of us don’t ask because we already know, but we don’t care because we really like bacon.

                I mean, REALLY like bacon.

              • Ratsnake

                 I have relatives who are farmers and have visited some “factory farms”. None of them are like the farms shown in Animal Rights propaganda videos.  Yes, some of them are bad, but the reality is that mistreating the animals and keeping them in unsanitary conditions results in dead animals and the loss of revenue, so explain why a farm would “abuse” their animals.
                 Most animal rights people have no clue about animal husbandry or what the normal procedures are.

              • Anonymous

                I, for one, have thought about all of those issues and discussed them at length with my partner.  We decided that there are more important things to worry about, like people starving in our own country, child abuse, and equal rights.  You go ahead and worry about the animals… someone obviously has to.  It takes a village to address all of the concerns of a nation (or some such pablum).

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  I don’t get this argument. Can you only address one social injustice at a time? Does abstaining from eating meat somehow impair you from helping the starving people, or abused children?

                • Anonymous

                  And ther elies another problem, kinda pushy aren’t we? His/their choice, not yours. Keep your preaching to yourself. Still disturbing.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  Gotta go back to what I said below: Amazing that a group that prides itself on open, rational dialogue can’t have one on the subject of what they eat. Suddenly I’m “preaching” because I’m pointing out a logical fallacy.

                • Anonymous

                  Rational dialouge: “I really, really like to punch babies in the face”. What was I thinking, your a master debater!

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  Oh, come on. That was clearly a joke in response to a joke.

                • LaPalida

                  What preaching? The OP argument is clearly flawed and all he is doing is pointing it out. 

              • Michael S

                Good thing the answers aren’t hard to swallow!

                Get it?

      • Becky Shattuck

        I’m not sure, but the environment and the earth would be in much better shape: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_vegetarianism

      • http://twitter.com/AbsurdHero Nick Wright

        The whole world isn’t going to go vegetarian at once.  Production of food animals would simply dwindle down through the normal cycle of supply and demand.

    • Kevin_Of_Bangor

      I eat meat because I love the taste of it. I don’t eat fish because I can’t stand the smell of it and while you may love chocolate cake I find it even more disgusting than fish.

      The thought of eating chocolate cake makes my stomach churn and most people find that very odd but we are all different. Don’t like meat, don’t eat it but don’t tell me what I should be doing with my life because you disagree with it.

    • http://profiles.google.com/johnperkins21 John Perkins

      I eat meat because I don’t eat vegetables and I need to eat something. I would love to be a vegetarian, but the vast majority of vegetables make me sick. I’m not sure I could subsist on legumes and grains alone.

    • Caerleigh

      I tried going veg for a week and couldn’t hack it.  I hate all forms of onions and peppers and most beans, and tofu.  Do you know how many veg recipes have at least one of those ingredients?  Most.

      Of course I am sitting here eating Quorn for lunch, so I guess it wasn’t all a waste.  But I am happily happily eating meat for dinner.

      • http://www.facebook.com/maik.both Maik Both

        Quorn is a town in South Australia with a population of around 1000 – that’s a mightly big appetite you have there, and it’s human meat to boot!
        Oh, I know I know – you meant corn – but it’s so rare to get a chance at a joke like that….

        • Anonymous

          Quorn is made from a particular fungus:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quorn

        • Becky Shattuck

          FYI – Quorn is a brand that makes meat substitutes (mostly “chicken”) :)  

      • Michael S

        Do you like spicy foods? I’m still with you about tofu, but in the last couple years I’ve learned to love vegetables.

        On the chance you haven’t tried cooking or preparing them in different ways, it could pay off to experiment a little more. I recommend it.

        There are veg foods that go so well with meat. Do you like mushrooms or
        bell peppers? There is some work involved, but steak sauces and
        marinades can almost always be replaced with your own spices and veggies. I’m getting too hungry now…

    • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

      On the contrary. As an atheist, I am very skeptical. I am skeptical of everything, including unbounded skepticism. I am skeptical about your claims. Also I find your appeal to emotion to be a sure sign of a weak argument. To wit:

      “…I find it frustrating…” That’s not an argument, that’s emotional blackmail. Are you really so weak that everyone must abide by your polite requests to avoid frustrating you?

      “Many seem incapable…” I am much smarter than those other atheists over there. Why doesn’t anybody pay attention to *my* opinions?

      “…denial state…” Why can’t everyone just agree with me?

      “…Republicans…” I have a special hate on for those guys, and if you don’t obey my dietary laws I will have reserved a special hate for you, too.

      “It’s so bad for the planet…” Oh, I can’t stand it, why can’t everyone agree with me on this?

      “I urge everyone to give it the benefit of the doubt…” I am sure that if you just make yourself believe as I believe, you’ll be very happy. And if not, I’ve got a special circle reserved for you in the Vegan Hell.

      Like I said. I am skeptical about your beliefs.

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

        Also note how the post begins as an address to Hemant, ambiguously transitioning to a direct argument at meat-eaters.

        Talking to people tends to be more frustrating in general when you avoid direct, open discussion.

    • Anonymous

      I am a non-vegan vegetarian.  There many reasons not to eat meat and seafood in addition to not killing animals.
      1) Would the stem-cell grown meat be safer than real meat? Would it be free of antibiotics? Would it be handled to avoid other meat/fish borne toxins and biological hazards?
      2) Would it take many times more resources than other foods to create, like meat does? Lots of water, vegetation, and petrolieum in its creation and distribution? Would poor immigrants be exploited in its manufacture?
      3) Would it have most of the nutritional benefits (e.g. seafood) and less of the negative effects (e.g. artery clogging fat) than the real stuff?
       

    • http://seetolearnru.blogspot.com/ see to learn

      “Many seem incapable of applying the skeptical thought process they use
      on religion and other things to eating meat…”
      Do you really think that we eat meat because we believe in something extraordinary? :)

  • Erin W

    I’d give it a go.  I’ll try pretty much anything edible once.

  • Annette

    Yes, if I were sure it was no more dangerous that non-lab created meat, I’d eat it!

  • Annette

    Yes, if I were sure it was no more dangerous that non-lab created meat, I’d eat it!

  • http://twitter.com/Kahomono Kahomono

    Don’t forget the economics.

    As a dedicated carnivore I would try it, but it’d have to not break the bank.  Pork loin, to choose a middle-of-the-road item, is currently $2.69 / lb ($5.92 / kg) at my Wegmans.  I suppose I would try this if it were up to $6/lb ($13.20 / kg) but it would have to get down into the neighborhood of $4 or so to make it a permanent substitute.

    Oh, it would also have to not suck, to cook with and to eat.

    • Becky Shattuck

      Tofu is on sale at Safeway right now for $1/pound.  

      • P. J. Reed

        You can get grass for free outside!

        But that’s deliberately missing the point, isn’t it?

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        Tofu isn’t food. It’s what even food doesn’t eat.

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          At what point does something “become” food? Tofu has been eaten for centuries. It’s not some recent vegetarian invention.

          • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

            Appeal to ancientness. Food has meat and bones and blood. Most everything else is just filler. The rest should never be eaten, even if we can technically digest it.

            • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

              Oh, I get it. You’re a troll. OK.

        • http://twitter.com/Jalyth JT the Girl

          I liked this even though I also like tofu. Made me laugh.

      • TychaBrahe

        Sorry.  I can’t eat tofu.  I have a family history of breast cancer, so I try to minimize my intake of phytoestrogens.  It’s a pain to avoid soy in our society, but there it is.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’m not a vegetarian, but if I were it would be because of the environmental impacts of our meat consumption and industrial agriculture. So I try to reduce my meat consumption, and I buy most of my meat products from a local farmer who raises his cows, chickens, and pigs in a humane and ecologically sound manner. That’s probably still not good enough environmentally, but it’s where I am right now. So the question that would have to be answered for me is what the total environmental impact of this test tube meat is and how it compares to my local farmer. To get calories out, you have to put calories in. Now we’ve removed the need to keep a large animal alive, but how much is that and how much of it is replaced by new energy needs in facility maintenance, raw materials, the production process, etc. My meat eats grass and it’s manure fertilizes my vegetables. The cycle of life goes on, just as it would in any case. Facilities are minimal and require much less energy input than a factory farming operation. So when they convince me this stuff is safe, tasty, healthy, and less environmentally damaging than my pastured cows and chickens, then I would eat it.

    • Anonymous

      “My meat eats grass…” I think that says a lot. Your meat doesn’t actually eat anything. A living, conscious creature eats. Carol Adams calls this trick of pulling the wool over your own eyes “the absent referent”.
      http://www.caroljadams.com/interconnectedoppressions.html

  • Vukota

    As someone that was primarily motivated to be a vegetarian because of the horrific conditions of factory farms, I would give it a go. I’m sure it would be weird at first, much like how eating various mock meats was weird at first for me, but I’d try it.

  • Anonymous

    Realistically i might be inclined to try it, however my reasons for not eating meat and other animal products are based on personal health issues, and I really doubt that test tube meat would also magically bypass those issues for me.  I also avoid GMO’s and other such things, so, really, i don’t see this as much different. It makes me uncomfortable. We have the ability to avoid meat all together, i don’t know why we’d just go ahead and invent a new way to eat it.

  • http://twitter.com/meanwhileinrice J Hackett

    Vegetarian for five years and I can sympathize with disliking the smell of bacon.

  • Anonymous

    I know many vegetarians who just don’t eat meat because they don’t like it and for them it has nothing to do with moral reasons. I think only a percentage of vegetarians is going to want it and the average carnivore isn’t going to want synthetic meat next to the real thing since there’s always paranoia when it comes to science, especially in relation to food. Not to mention people will say it’s nothing compared to real meat no matter how good it actually is. I don’t really see much of a market for it among the general population.

    I do see other applications though. If it can be produced quickly and cheaply it could go a long way to help reduce hunger issues around the world.

  • http://twitter.com/patrickptomey Patrick Ptomey

    I am finishing up on my 31-day-long vegetarian diet challenge. This is my last day and I have learned a lot. Although I was not doing this challenge for ethical or health reasons, I think those reasons are valid. If I may, I think it is worth noting that although vegetarians may not eat meat they still have a negative effect on animals. Think about all the animals killed and forced into new habitats so that you could eat those salad greens.

    • dauntless

      Yes, but animals raised for food eat far more grown food per day than any human and, once slaughtered, yield only a fraction of that back as consumable food. So while vegetarianism certainly has an impact on the environment (as all agriculture), it is far less than the impact of those who eat meat.

    • Becky Shattuck

      Sorry, but the livestock industry is one of the worst (if not the worst) factors in environmental destruction, loss of habitat, and greenhouse gas emissions.  When you factor in the food that livestock eats, it’s very inefficient.  It takes a minimum of 4 pounds of vegetable food to produce 1 pound of meat.  

      • Josh

        Meat has a higher caloric content that balances that ratio
        and causes it to be more efficient under certain circumstances. It true that today you can get vegtables from around the world and eat pretty much anything at any time of the year, but that hasn’t always been the case and it is not the case in some parts of the world right now.
        I agree that there is a lot that could be done to clean up the agriculture industry. Like less reliance on pesticides, improved transportation techniques to reduce spoilage and less focus on moncultural farms just to name a few. I don’t know as much about livestock though.

  • http://diaryofamessylady.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    Am I the only person who’s thinking of the meat blob from Better Off Ted?

    • Anonymous

      NO!  LOL!  I was wondering if anyone else was thinking of the meat blob.  :-)

  • Jake

    As an omnivore, if the artificial meat were identical in taste, texture, etc. to real meat, I would judge by price.

  • Matthew Prorok

    A very interesting concept.  I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ve heard a number of reasons for being so from friends who are.  Ignoring religious reasons, the primary ones I’ve heard are moral, economical, environmental, and health-conscious.  Personal preference, as you’ve noted, is of course something that is an important factor, and this would do little to change it.  You’ve covered the moral objection pretty well, so I’ll look at the others.

    This hypothetical scenario would likely help replace the massive environmental impact from factory farms.  The pollution produced by thousands of animals all in one place is astounding.  If instead of a huge factory farm, we just had a nice, clean laboratory, that would certainly eliminate the environmental objection.

    The economics of the issue, however, are something on which we could only speculate.  Its possible that, by cutting out the costs of feed, housing, and medical care, creating meat without using an animal could be much cheaper.  But I suspect it would likely take a lot of time and effort to make the process efficient, such that large amounts of “lab meat” could be produced at a low cost.  Until that happened, it would be even more expensive than regular meat, which isn’t at all cheap compared to many vegetarian alternatives.

    Regarding health-consciousness, this would seem to be an objection that could be overcome by creating the meat in a lab.  In theory, it would be indistinguishable from traditional meat, and thus have all the same bad health effects.  But on further reflection, that may not be the case.  Keep in mind, a lot of the problems associated with meat don’t come from the meat itself; they come from the fat around it and from the carbon that accumulates from some cooking methods.  If all the meat you ate was 90+% lean, something easily done when you’re directly controlling what cells are in the meat, then you’d actually be eating quite healthily.  Currently, the leanest meat is usually from the best cuts, and thus is the most expensive.  If the economics were to work out, then I would see health reasons being far less of an objection than they currently are.

  • http://pythagoreancrank.com PythagoreanCrank

    The quickest way to get an atheist to quote the bible would be to mention vegetarianism. ;)

    I love the taste of meat and I’m excited by technology like transgenics (GMO). As a 13-year vegan and animal rights activist I would be first in line to NOM that shit. I cannot justify taking my animal cousin’s life for the relatively tiny bit of pleasure derived by a personal preference.

    • Josh

      Actually, I think the quickest way is to misquote the bible. :)

      So, how do you justify taking your vegetable cousin’s life? I grew a small patch of plants for a few years and for what my thoughts are worth, I can tell you plants are not only alive, but they even have personailties. I don’t mean that in the anthropomorphic sense but just that each one was unique and beautiful and worthy of its life.

      Of course that never stopped me from harvesting.

      • dauntless

        They key difference is that plants do not suffer. Plants don’t have anything even remotely resembling a central nervous system in terms of function.

        • Michael S

          That’s like saying I can kill any human or animal I want as long as I do it with anesthetic.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            Uh, no it’s not. An anesthetic only temporarily removes the ability to sense pain, but it doesn’t always work and it isn’t anything like a plant. Blocking pain receptors with medicine is a fundamentally different thing than not having a central nervous system.

            • Drakk

              Given a situation where the anaesthetic does work, is there a functional difference between the two, or only a technical one? What if we could use GM technology to create animals that didn’t feel pain?

              • Anonymous

                Then they’d eat themselves. There is a genetic disease that prevents humans from feeling pain. Those people eventually start chewing off their lips and fingertips because they haven’t learned that it’s a bad thing.

                Not feeling pain may sound like fun, but pain actually serves a purpose

                • Drakk

                  You’ve missed my point. Is it okay to kill animals if they “can’t feel pain” in the same way as plants apparently do not?

                  This is not a rhetorical question. I eat meat and am not ashamed of it. I am at ease with the fact that animals die to provide me food. I genuinely want to know what your opinion on such a hypothetical would be.

                  My point is, does it matter why exactly they can’t feel pain, just as long as they don’t? I do not condone animal cruelty to get my meat, I prefer my animal to die peacefully if possible.

                • dauntless

                  A nervous system does not just give one the ability to feel pain, although that is a part of it. A nervous system also gives memories and personality. So by removing suffering, although that is a big motivator, I would still not eat animals.

            • Michael S

              My point was not about anesthetic.

      • http://pythagoreancrank.com PythagoreanCrank

        That’s a good point Josh. Why stop at recognizing the interests of our animal cousins? All life on this big rock in space is related so why does a particular category of life here garner the consideration? Well, since we animals have to subsist on the bodies of others it behooves us fancy monkeys to do so in a way that causes the least amount of imposition. We know the egregious harm and suffering we inflict on other animals who are closer to our own experience than any other species or kingdom. Recognizing that we should start with animals. 

        No worries though beyond that. By that time we’ll all have robot bodies with solar panels and the issue will be moot. ;)

  • Guest

    I’m a vegetarian (most of the time vegan) because of ethical reasons for about 4 years now. So, if we solve the ethical issues by producing meat without using animals, I would definitely eat it. I think that some sorts of meat are disgusting, but some other sorts (for example the one used in a turkish doner) are really tasty!

    After all, I’m a homo sapiens and therefore an omnivore.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a meat eater.  I understand that man has always eaten meat and that we are top of the food chain.  I’m okay with that, as long as we find ways to raise the animals responsibly and process them effectively.  I know I could not kill an animal for my own food… I’d be veg if that were the case. 

    I have more important issues in my life than feeling guilty for eating meat.

    We are doing Atkins and it’s working out wonderfully.  My preference is fish and chicken while hubby and the Kid prefer beef and pork, so we mix it up a lot.  If it were a viable, cost-effective, and tasty alternative to animals, we would definitely eat it.  But I have serious doubts that it can be done in my lifetime.

  • guest

    Some concerns for ethical vegetarians might include the following:
    1) Unless synthetic meat was the only meat available, eating synthetic meat encourages the notion of meat consumption.  Some ethical vegetarians might not be comfortable with this.  One way to address this issue might be to actively encourage a preference for the synthetic meat over natural (dead animal) meat, perhaps by subsidizing the cost of the synthetic stuff to make it cheaper than natural meat.
    2) Another important reason ethical vegetarians avoid meat is the environmental impact of the various industries involved in the production of meat food.  This environmental damage is extensive and of multiple dimensions, so its hard for me to imagine that the environmental costs of creating synthetic meat would match those of producing natural meat, but the environmental impact of synthetic meat production would need to be assessed.

  • dersk

    Presumably it would be at least as inefficient to have a lab-grown meat diet as natural meat (you have to put all the energy into it, right?). I’ve been veggie for 17 years now, and would have no interest in eating lab-grown meat myself. 

  • http://www.phoenixgarage.org/ cr0sh

    Meat eater here. Let me put it this way: If such a form of meat production could gain us a perfectly well-marbled “rib-eye” substitute as tasty as the natural form, while being cheaper, I’d be all over it like nobody’s business! Heck, I’d try it at least once even if it were more expensive (perhaps up to double or triple cost-per-pound). Until then, it’ll be $4.99/lb and up for me.

    On a different note – from a meat-eater’s perspective, regarding things you would think would “taste bad”; a couple of weeks ago I ate tripe accidentally on-purpose. I was at a local latino/mexican grocery store (Pro’s Ranch Market) which has a cafeteria-style eatery inside; I selected a couple of items off the menu for a plate, and I wasn’t sure what I was selecting on one of the items, but it looked like it would taste good. It was only when I got it and started eating it that I realized I had selected “tripas” as one of the meats (the other was carne asada, which I like).

    I guess I like tripe.

  • William R. Dickson

    I’ve been asking myself this for years. I started shifting my diet away from meat about 24 years ago, and stopped eating it entirely 20 years ago. Ten years ago, I would have said no question, I’d eat vat-grown meat. Fifteen years ago, I’d probably have said, eh, I dunno about most of it, but buffalo-style chicken wings, definitely (don’t ask me how they’d get the vat meat into a reasonably wing-like format, I haven’t worked that out).

    At this point though, after 20 years, I’ve developed a more visceral revulsion to meat akin to that most people in the US (including myself) experience when offered, say, a cicada for a snack. I know intellectually that the vat meat would involve no harm to an animal, just as I know intellectually that the cicada is rich in protein and enjoyed as a delicacy in many parts of the world, but EEEWWWWWW.

    I won’t know if that’s something I can (or even care to) get past until there’s a plate of vat-grown buffalo wings I front of me.

  • Thorny264

    As to the vegitarian argument heres the way i see it, i like meat, it tastes great and having a roast beef/chicken is the best meal i have in a week, yes many things die to feed me but i’m selfish enough to just not care about it. Also i would have to give up fishing if i used the cruelty argument so i only got one life and i’m going to enjoy it as i see fit. 

    • Thorny264

      i should add if they could grow meat that tasted the same or better than sure i eat it, even if it was made by my own cells.

  • Kevin_Of_Bangor

    Well I enjoy a big plate of baby back ribs so while you could produce the meat I still would not have my rack of ribs and being able to lick the bones is part of the experience. I could not enjoy a rack of ribs, without the ribs and I love me some pig. I love pig more than I do cow but I could never give up eating either of them.

    Then you have wild game such as deer, duck, rabbit, moose and bear. All which is tasty, tasty meat when killed and prepared properly.

    Even if they could do what the article states for all the animals above I don’t see it changing my eating habits anytime soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1245766187 Nikki Parker

    I doubt it. I’m an omnivore, but I wouldn’t trust “food” made in a lab. I’d at least try it, though. 

    • Anonymous

      Have you ever eaten any kind of convenience food?  Doritos, Hostess snack cakes, Pop Tarts, frozen pizza… pretty much anything that comes in a package?  Where do you think those foods come from?  There’s no nacho cheese tree from which they harvest that orange powder, you know.  Sorry, but in modern America, it’s completely ridiculous to say that you wouldn’t trust “food” made in a lab.  The MAJORITY of the standard American diet consists of laboratory-processed food-like substances.  Unless your diet consists primarily of fresh vegetables and other plants, you’re likely not eating anything close to what you think of as “real food.”

      • Beijingrrl

        Why would you assume that @facebook-1245766187:disqus eats a “standard” American diet?  She sounds like a thoughtful consumer.

        I know many vegetarians who don’t eat meat, but do eat absolute garbage like you describe above.  If you’re vegetarian for health reasons, but still eat that stuff, I just can’t take your stance seriously.  If it’s for ethical reasons, that’s another story.

      • Beijingrrl

        Why would you assume that @facebook-1245766187:disqus eats a “standard” American diet?  She sounds like a thoughtful consumer.

        I know many vegetarians who don’t eat meat, but do eat absolute garbage like you describe above.  If you’re vegetarian for health reasons, but still eat that stuff, I just can’t take your stance seriously.  If it’s for ethical reasons, that’s another story.

    • Becky Shattuck

      It would probably be safer and cleaner than stockyard meat.  Those animals are often fed the inedible (to humans) remnants of slaughtered animals and are pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.   

  • caffeine_stream

    I’m a meat-eater that is trying to slowly become vegetarian which is hard because I freakin love meat, every single type. So of course I would eat it. My main reason for wanting to become vegetarian is because I personally cannot justify killing an animal when it is not necessary for my sustenance. So this would solve that problem as long as it tasted right.

  • Ratsnake

     Sorry, vegans, but there is no food without death.  Do you think farmers run around their crops yelling “shoo shoo” to all the critters that would eat them?   My fathers relatives were farmers. They were permitted to shoot deer off season to protect their crops. They also poisoned and trapped raccoons and other critters that would wreak havoc on their cops. Lets not forget all the insects that are poisoned and the small animals like mice that are ground up by harvesting equipment. Of course this is OK, right? I have heard this called collateral damage.
     Untill you grow all your own food without killing ANYTHING, including bugs, then get back to me.

    • Chrissy Jones

      It’s about doing the least possible harm, not attempting to undertake the impossible. Just because I can’t do everything, doesn’t mean I can’t do something.

      • Ratsnake

         Oh.  It’s naive to think that you are acutally saving animals by not eating meat. It’s just like prayer. It acomplishes nothing but makes you feel good.  It’s OK for animals to die your dinner, but not for mine. Got it.
         I have cleaned the blades of the harvesting machines on my cousins farm and have had to remove blood, mouse and snake bits. Think about that when you are sitting down to your veggie meal.

      • http://theotherweirdo.wordpress.com The Other Weirdo

        Just because you do *something* doesn’t make it good.

  • Inferno

    Interesting dilemma here, if eating synthetically grown meat can remove the stigma of having the animal killed for it, and there never “was” an animal to begin with, does that open the possibility of using human stem cells to create human meat? Or would that be cannibalism despite the fact that there was never a human who was killed to produce it?

  • http://twitter.com/Data_Jack DataJack

    My wife and I don’t eat meat, for roughly the same reasons you don’t (also: I had no idea you were a vegetarian!). So I suppose we might give that meat a try. But honestly, we don’t really miss anything at this point (been veg for 25+ years) , so I couldn’t say for sure.

  • http://mamamara.wordpress.com/ Mara

    I’m an omnivore who would be *thrilled* to be able to eat meat without killing animals in the process. If it tasted good, I’d be happy to pay more for it. Guilt-free and better for the environment? Count me in!

  • Anonymous

    So because it’s impossible to avoid absolutely all harm, we should quit trying to reduce what harm we can?  Bullshit reasoning, dude.  Eating plants causes significantly LESS damage in terms of animal lives and suffering, resource waste, worker exploitation, economic disparity, and environmental damage, even though it still does some damage – our existence itself is damaging to the world around us, despite all efforts otherwise.  But it’s a better choice, even if it isn’t perfect.

  • Chrissy Jones

    My husband I are both vegetarians, and he would eat it, I would not. He feels like if nothing suffered/died, it’s cool. I would be uncomfortable eating any animal flesh, period. I haven’t eaten meat in about fifteen years, and it doesn’t seem like food to me. I wouldn’t want to eat it any more than I’d want to eat a stone off the ground.

    • Chrissy Jones

      I should add that I think it’s great, for people who do want to eat meat, and I hope it becomes a reality.

    • Chrissy Jones

      I should add that I think it’s great, for people who do want to eat meat, and I hope it becomes a reality.

  • Annie

    As an omnivore who goes to great lengths (and expense) to eat local, it would depend where it was produced.  If you had a day to kill, I could take you on a tour to all the places my family gets its protein from:  the water buffalo pasture, the alligator farm, my friend’s chicken coop, the tempeh producer a mile away.  We could go to the Atlantic and gulf coasts and look at the waters where our shrimp, fish and scallops come from.  And yes, we’d be home in time for supper. The one exception we make is sockeye salmon season, a special treat from afar, much like people buy Swiss chocolates.

    Now, if you are a vegan or vegetarian who simply buys whatever veggies are at your local grocer’s, I’d be happy to drive the few hours to take you to the tomato farms where slaves (yes, slaves) pick your tomatoes.  The ethics of eating to me does not come down to what you eat, but rather where and how it is produced.  Know your producers.  Talk to the people who grow what you eat, walk on their farm. 

    If I had to choose between eating bacon that was produced from a pig confined to filthy gestational crates, or a tomato that was picked by a migrant worker who is chained up at night so he can’t run away… I’d go with the bacon.

    • Josh

      What’s that about slaves?

      • Josh

        Oh migrants. If you have some evidence that migrant workers are being chained up at night somewhere you should go to your local police station. Or if that doesn’t work, try the local news.

  • Francis m

    I’ve been eating a vegan diet for a few months now. To me, there are many reasons why I’m choosing not to eat meat, so I most likely won’t ever choose to eat synth meat. I love eating a plant based diet, and I feel great for doing so. I wouldn’t eat it but if it’s created and the rest of the population decided to limit the amount of “real” meat they eat? That would be great! However, I would be completely against not letting the consumer know whether the meat they’re eating is real or was created in a lab– regardless of how I feel about meat it should always be left up to the consumer. GMO crops makes me uncomfortable and I wish the government would step in and make these corporations put a GMO label for the consumer to know, and decide for themselves whether they want to eat it or not.

    And even when I ate meat, I hated the smell of cooking bacon. I don’t know why but that’s what I always imagined would be the smell of a cooked human. I eventually even told my husband that I couldn’t make it for him anymore because I found the smell to be so foul.

    • Pureone

      All crops are GM. 

  • Anonymous

    So because it’s impossible to avoid absolutely all harm, we should quit trying to reduce what harm we can?  Bullshit reasoning, dude.  Eating plants causes significantly LESS damage in terms of animal lives and suffering, resource waste, worker exploitation, economic disparity, and environmental damage, even though it still does SOME damage – our existence itself is damaging to the world around us, despite all efforts otherwise.  But it’s still a better choice, even if it isn’t perfect.

  • The Captain

    I never have understood the “it’s killing an animal” argument. The whole it’s “alive” argument is bunk, because your vegetables are “alive” too. Do fish count? If so, what is the arbitrary line you draw for what counts as a”life”, and it will be arbitrary. Also why are you applying a standard to the animal, the animal would not apply to you? To do so sounds like a religious belief that their is some higher morality you must obey. Morality only applies to other life forms that share your ability to comprehend said morality. So no, I probably wouldn’t eat a dolphin. But a cow, yea (going for some meat laden Pho right now!).

    As an atheist meat eater, I view the killing of an animals for food as a beautiful thing, the balance that nature has in one animal giving its substance over to on other in order for that animal to flourish. Just as I will for worms, cows do for me. We are all just future poo for something else to shit out. One big beautiful cycle of poo.

    The Circle of Poo (Season 4, Episode 17) – Video Clips – South Park Studios

    • The Captain
    • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

      “I never have understood the ‘it’s killing an animal’ argument.”

      …Do you understand the “it’s wrong to kill things that are sentient and don’t want to die” argument?

      “The whole
      it’s “alive” argument is bunk, because your vegetables are ‘alive’ too.”

      Alive, but not capable of suffering. There’s no central nervous system. Plants feel no pain. They can’t suffer.

      “Do fish count?”

      I never got this question. Fish are animals, are they not?

      “If so, what is the arbitrary line you draw for what
      counts as a ‘life,’ and it will be arbitrary.”

      I don’t think “Can it suffer?” is arbitrary.

      “Also why are you applying a
      standard to the animal, the animal would not apply to you?”

      Sounds terribly like the pro-waterboarding argument. “They would do it to us, so why should we not do it to them?!” Eye for eye, whole world blind, etc.

      • The Captain

        “Do you understand the “it’s wrong to kill things that are sentient and don’t want to die” argument?” 
        Not particularly …no.  Someone who say tries to kill me in a robbery for instance does not “want to die” but I have no problem shooting them, or is it wrong. Or a solder in a foreign army who may be about to kill everyone in my town probably does not “want to die”, but I’ll kill them before they can burn my village down and that wouldn’t be wrong either.

        And hell, some people want to die, how do you know a cow does not want to die? Do you speak cow?

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          Well, if a cow ever tries to rob you or kill everyone in your town, I think you’re completely justified in killing them.

          “And hell, some people want to die, how do you know a cow does not want to die? Do you speak cow?”

          How do you know a human baby doesn’t want to die? Do you speak baby? Baby-kabobs at The Captain’s place!

          There, now that we’ve addressed ridiculous hypotheticals and gotten our requisite atheist snark out of our system, maybe we can move on to a real debate rooted in logic?

      • The Captain

        Besides, since when does what anything “wants” have anything to do with it? I “want” a Ferrari Enzo, and a blow job from Alyson Hannigan, I guess by your logic I deserve them then?

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          It’s not a matter of wanting and deserving. You’re latching on to this word “want” (and for the record, we appear to want some of the same things). I think it’s a big leap to make from my argument of “It’s wrong to kill something that can suffer” to your argument of “I DESERVE SPORTS CARS AND FREE BLOWJOBS FROM CELEBRITIES!”

          If you can successfully come up with the money to buy an Enzo and the charm to land Alyson Hannigan, then yes, you deserve it. But that’s a different thing than saying that you have to earn the right to not be killed, don’t you think?

          • The Captain

            You said it was wrong to kill things that “don’t WANT to die”, and I was just pointing out “want” has nothing to do with it.

            As far as it not being right to kill something that “suffers”, then kill it quick. No really “suffering is also an arbitrary thing, define “suffering” first that is not relative to your desires specifically. I mean a teenager thinks he’s “suffering” by staying in on a saturday. 

            Besides, “suffering” is part of life. I will “suffer” you will “suffer” we all will. “suffering” is part of nature, just like eating things is. 

            • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

              I included that bit because I know how arguing with omnivores works. If I just say “It’s wrong to kill sentient beings” they come up with some crazy hypothetical like “DERP BUT WHAT IF THEY WANT TO DIE?! DO YOU SPEEKS ANUMAL?!” It wasn’t meant to be the central part of the statement, it was meant to avoid having this exact part of the discussion, and it obviously failed.

              Suffering, feeling pain, whatever. If I shoot you in the head, you won’t feel a thing. It’s still wrong for me to do it. It’s not made right for me to do it because I later feast on your flesh. (In fact, most would argue that makes it MORE wrong.) Why is that standard not applied to other sentient beings?

              The killing is not done without suffering in slaughterhouses – the industry defined “humane” way to kill larger animals like pigs and cows is to slit their throat. Not exactly the most painless way to go out. But the killing isn’t the only part of the process, either. There’s also the life they lead pre-killing, which for the majority of animals that end up as food is short and brutish. From genetically modified chickens whose legs and breasts grow so large that they can’t walk after a short time to battery cages to whatever other factory farm practice, it’s not exactly aimed at making life better for the animals before they meet their end.

              But ignore all that for a minute. Let’s assume that all animals are raised by happy and loving farmers in an awesome environment where they’re super stoked to live and they’re treated like royalty, then when the time comes they die quickly and painlessly before they even know what happened. EVEN THEN, I still maintain that it is wrong to kill a sentient being for no other purpose than “‘Cause it tastes good,” especially when you live in a rich country like the United States and have the ability to get all your necessary dietary needs filled without doing it.

              Also, appeal to nature…a logical fallacy from someone posting on The Friendly Atheist. They’re terrible until they support your point!

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

                I agree with a lot of what you say, except this line: ” especially when you live in a rich country like the United States and
                have the ability to get all your necessary dietary needs filled without
                doing it.”

                More than 50% of the United States is in poverty, or hovering around the poverty line. This country, and it’s people aren’t rich (hell, we are in MASSIVE debt), only a select few are rich (like 10% of the population).

                Poor people usually can’t afford healthy produce, so they have to buy cheap, unhealthy foods (like Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese). There are many systemic problems that cause this: lack of education, teenage pregnancy, lack of social programs/not enough funding etc.

                I just think using a line like that is in poor taste in comparison to the reality of the “wealth” of the United States.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  I have to disagree. I myself am below the poverty line. I work a minimum wage job and support myself. I don’t receive any government assistance. If anything, I have MORE money since becoming a vegan because I spend LESS on groceries now. Fresh produce and dry grains are dirt cheap. Veganism isn’t expensive unless you buy a lot of the faux meats, and in most cases it will actually save money on the grocery bill.

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          It’s not a matter of wanting and deserving. You’re latching on to this word “want” (and for the record, we appear to want some of the same things). I think it’s a big leap to make from my argument of “It’s wrong to kill something that can suffer” to your argument of “I DESERVE SPORTS CARS AND FREE BLOWJOBS FROM CELEBRITIES!”

          If you can successfully come up with the money to buy an Enzo and the charm to land Alyson Hannigan, then yes, you deserve it. But that’s a different thing than saying that you have to earn the right to not be killed, don’t you think?

      • Drakk

        Suffering isn’t terribly well defined. We’re still not completely sure if, for example, crustaceans can feel pain. Even plants are capable of responding to tactile stimuli. Can you prove conclusively that there’s no signalling in plants for “damage to living tissue detected”?

        Do you kill mosquitoes and cockroaches? If not, are you as opposed to the idea of doing so?

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          I’m assuming since you’re posting here that you’re an atheist, so you should be very well aware of the fact that one can’t prove a negative. Can you conclusively prove that there are no deities? No, but without the evidence, it’s hard to make a claim that there are deities. There’s no evidence pointing to plants feeling anything resembling pain. They can sense damage, sure, but they can’t FEEL it. Their reaction is simply to send nutrients to fix the problem. That’s not sentience, as I define it, which is the ability to feel sensations and emotions. There’s no evidence plants have these capacities.

          However, assume for a moment that plants are sentient. Even in that case, eating them directly still does less damage than eating meat. Animals have to be fed plants (more plants than a human would need) to reach slaughter weight. At that point, they’ve been filled with thousands of sentient plants, and to top it off, we’re slaughtering and eating sentient animals. Even if plants are sentient,  it does less damage to eat only plants than it does to eat animals.

          As for mosquitoes and cockroaches, no, I don’t kill them, but no I’m not morally opposed to doing so, because like with plants there’s no evidence that insects have emotions and feel sensations.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            They feel sensations, how else would they know they’re leg/wing/abdomen etc. was caught or being attacked? Also, I once had a spider in a cup that I was bringing outside and the weirdest thing happened: I tapped on the paper plate I had on the top of the cup, which acted like a drum-head, and when I would tap on it the spider would begin cleaning (or something, not sure how to describe it) it’s legs. It was as if the vibrations cause some sort of nervous tick/response. I have no idea why, or what the behavior was about (nor do I know the species of spider it was). I let her go outside and have been enamored/perplexed by this behavior ever since.

            They, however, do not feel pain. As per the emotions, well, that is something that I’m not sure can ever truly be answered. Based on our understanding of emotions and the brain, it stands to reason that they don’t have emotions in the sense we do. I still won’t kill them though, unless I am being attacked (swarmed) or there is a clear and present danger to a loved one (including my non-human companions). Mostly I trap all insects (except for ants, I usually let them roam around) in a cup and move them outside.

      • NorDog

        “…Do you understand the “it’s wrong to kill things that are sentient and don’t want to die” argument?”

        No.  Please make that argument so I can decide if I think it has any merit (though doubting that it does).

        Why should I not kill a cow for food simply because it has the capacity to suffer?

        Also, would the proscription against killing a sentient cow because of its capacity for suffering still apply if i decided to kill a cow without causing it pain?

        I would seriously like to know how you would answer these questions.

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          Well, following your same line of logic, why shouldn’t I kill a fellow human for food simply because it has the capacity to suffer? Or, if you believe humans are on a higher plane of existence, why shouldn’t I kill common pets like dogs and cats and what have you and eat them? Why do we kill and eat some animals and think that’s OK, but we’re horrified at the prospect of eating others?

          I’ve answered the painless slaughter question a few times in this thread, but I realize it’s long and you probably have better things to do than read the whole thing, so I’ll sum it up again: Even if it’s a completely painless and worry free life/death, suffering is only a part of the equation here. Another part is the moral issue that I feel it’s wrong to kill a sentient being just because it tastes good. Especially in a situation like in the United States and other developed nations where you can go to the grocery store, find alternate food sources, and still meet all your nutritional requirements (and, honestly, I find the food I eat since becoming a vegan tastier than the meat and potatoes I ate before.)

          • Nordog

            “Well, following your same line of logic, why shouldn’t I kill a fellow human for food simply because it has the capacity to suffer?”
             
            Well, so much for that much vaunted rationality I hear so much about around here.
             
            For the record, I did not offer any line of logic, because, ah, well, I made no claim pertaining to the subject.  Rather, my post to you was one request and two questions.
             
            Be that as it may, while you do offer a conclusion of sorts, if this “conclusion” is a summation of what you have offered elsewhere, you offer no logical argument for a your claim.  Rather you offer your feelings.  You “feel” something is wrong.
             
            I don’t want to know why you feel that way.  I want to know why you think that way, if in fact there is any though that approaches a rational argument.
             
            Should someone cue the crickets at this point?

            • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

              Morality is entirely based on the feelings of individuals. If you can’t even agree that killing is wrong, I can only assume you’re a moral relativist. How am I supposed to argue from an objective point of view when morality is a subjective term? You may feel it’s wrong to do X, someone else might feel that it’s wrong to NOT do X. There’s no empirical test of moral right and wrong. Morality is in the eye of the beholder.

              In addition, I answered both of your questions. I’m sorry if I didn’t do it to your satisfaction, but I answered them. What you haven’t done is answer MY question. I’ve put on the table the moral stance “it is wrong to kill sentient beings for food.” You have rejected this stance. If it’s not wrong to kill a sentient being for food, where is the line drawn? How do we decide what beings are to be killed for food and what beings aren’t? How do we decide the sacred and the profane in terms of sentient food sources? My question is valid: If you reject the notion that it’s wrong to kill a sentient being for food, why SHOULDN’T I kill and eat a fellow human? Why SHOULDN’T I kill and eat a dog or a cat or whatever? Why not farm these animals? If I were to start a farm of dogs or cats or humans and treat them the way that livestock are treated on modern farms, I’d be brought in on charges of animal cruelty (or in the case of humans, unlawful detainment, assault, battery, murder, etc.) and “But Your Honor, I was going to eat those!” wouldn’t be a valid defense in a court of law. Why? Why are humans and animals that are commonly kept as pets exempt from the pool “can kill for food?” Make that moral argument for me, and keep it consistent with your “it is not wrong to kill sentient beings for food” argument. And if you’re arguing that it IS OK for me to eat human, dog, or cat, then your opinion may fall out of the mainstream and many people would consider you deranged, but at least it’s logically consistent.

              Your second question, I answered pretty simply. It may have been too long, so here’s the TL;DR version: No.

              • NorDog

                That you “think” that morality is based entirely upon emotions explains a great deal, but not in way that reflects well upon you.

                You ask, “…it is wrong to kill sentient beings for food[?]”

                If we hold that some non-human animals are sentient, then the answer would be, “It is not wrong categorically.”

                You ask, “If it’s not wrong to kill a sentient being for food, where is the line drawn?”

                Draw the line between human | non-human.

                If you need an argument as to why people are in a different category, then I pity you.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  OK, what is morality based on? You’ve asked a lot about my world view, but steadily dodge any questions about yours.

                  “If we hold that some non-human animals are sentient, then the answer would be, ‘It is not wrong categorically.’”

                  This implies that it is sometimes wrong. When is it wrong to kill a non-human animal for food? If I started my hypothetical dog farm and somehow was able to convince the legal system to allow it to stay open, would you be one of my first customers, or would you join the masses in saying “It’s messed up to do that to dogs”?

                  “Draw the line between human | non-human.

                  If you need an argument as to why people are in a different category, then I pity you.”

                  Since you want to throw relativistic morals out the window in this discussion, fine: Explain to me why, purely rationally speaking, we shouldn’t practice cannibalism. It’s practiced in other parts of the world, and while there is some problem with disease, there’s also disease risk in the animals that we do eat. So where is the rational argument for not eating fellow humans when you remove morals from the equation?

              • NorDog

                “There’s no empirical test of moral right and wrong. Morality is in the eye of the beholder.”

                “Without God, everything is permitted.”  — Ivan Karamazov

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      Sentience isn’t an arbitrary line. While you view cows with disdain, in comparison with dolphins, it shows you have done no research on the sentience and intelligence of cows.

      You lament about how “Also why are you applying a standard to the animal, the animal would not apply to you? “. Well it depends on the animal you are talking about, but cows are herbivores and not usually violent or in the mood to kill. That’s not always the case, as some cows have killed (most due to abuse or disease).

      It intrigues me that you consider killing “animals for food as a beautiful thing…”
      While I can’t see the “beauty” in it, I do understand the point you are trying to make. And at it’s root, you are completely correct. However, that “beauty” can not, and does not, apply to animal farming.

      There is no beauty in controlled genocide and torture. There is no beauty in depriving a sentient animal of a wholesome life (like putting a bird in a cage). If one hunts an animal, especially without guns -sticks, spears, and wooden bows are at least easily fabricated and more akin to how our ancestors did things- while in the animals natural environment (like deer hunting in the woods), then your beauty argument would hold ground.

      I can’t argue with our evolutionary past, that when we began eating meat millions of years ago that caloric boon (as well as cooking that food) helped to allow our brains to develop to the tool it is now.  However our bodies are more  tuned to a majority-filled vegetable diet. Our teeth, jaws, intestines, hands, and slow-moving bipedal nature helps to conclude that.

      “…balance that nature has in one animal giving its substance over to on
      other in order for that animal to flourish. Just as I will for worms,
      cows do for me”

      With factory farming though, that balance doesn’t exist (and with burying laws and cremation, worm-food probably won’t actually happen for you). The cows existence was unnatural, an error of time and space, since it didn’t go through the natural cycle of life instead was bred solely to die (how is not having fighting chance beautiful?). At least with hunting, “survival of the fittest” plays in, and natural evolution plays a part. Hunting, in moderation, can improve a species if we end up culling the weaker. That can never happen with factory farming.

      What system we have now, factory farming and shrink-wrapped flesh, is
      wholly unnatural and unhealthy- for us, other animals, and the planet as
      a whole. While I will probably never eat meat again (a post-apocalyptic
      wasteland changes all the rules), I don’t harbor ill-will towards those
      that do. I have a problem with the over-consumption of meats, dairy,
      and eggs (which is why America is so fat and unhealthy). If you haven’t inferred, I am a vegan.

      I know that, even with this in-vitro food possibility, people will always eat meat. As long as people like me exist, the demand for meat is less which is a positive result of my life. I just wish that more people were less cavalier about meat (“But it tastes so good”, “It was going to die anyway”, “it’s just a X animal”, etc.). Also people need to eat far less of it, especially red meat. In reality people should only eat meat at 3-5 meals a week, and then it should be a smallish quantity and as low-fat as possible.

      Also, as a note, lions, bears, wolves, alligators, and every other non-human predator don’t over-kill, produce more than needed, and they don’t kill non-stop. They, unlike humans, eat what they need and more realistically, what they can catch. If we want to be “natural”, or a meat-eater wants to make the argument that “eating meat is natural”, then factory farms must go and a co-op, community involved farming practice is needed. And, if meat-eaters are so keen on natural, then predators that we eradicated from areas (like wolves and pumas) should be re-introduced. Isn’t competition for food sources a part of the natural world? Isn’t that how our species lived for millenia, upon millenia? Yes we are “advanced”, but that doesn’t mean we can’t create a balance between our civilization and our wild past. Earth requires a balance, and we act as a parasite, a virus, on this planet.

      If we can lessen the demand for meat, and thus decrease people’s consumption of it, having community based farming (imagine Central Park as a massive fauna and flora farm) is a huge step in the right direction. It can help heal the planet, create a bond between people and the Earth, and empower people by them providing for themeselves in a healthy way and creating life-long skills.

      Sure this isn’t likely to happen, as our population is well beyond what it should be (7 billion people) and that alone puts an incredible stress on what the Earth provides for us. Even though that hurdle exists, that doesn’t mean we as a species can’t start making this a better world, for us human herbivores, omnivores, and our animal brethren.

      P.S. – I love that episode of South Park, and I can proudly say that my body, is not in fact, covered with vaginas. You should watch the episode “Douche vs. Turd”, they lambast PETA so wonderfully (PETA is a massive joke and hinders animal-rights everyday).

  • patientia

    No. If ethical reasons for not eating meat were eliminated, I would still not eat it because of my health. And disgust. Besides, animals are still being used, at least for cells (probably for testing a novel food, too). Maybe if human volunteers donated their cells… Would you eat lab grown human meat?

    • stellaluna

      yes.  according to most cannibalistic tribes it tastes just like pork, which is fantastically delicious!  then again, i’m an asshole & a misanthrope.

  • http://www.shadesthatmatter.blogspot.com asmallcontempt

    Wow! What a question, and all of the comments are insightful and different.

    I am an avid cook, and meat of all varieties show up in my kitchen. However, meat is EXPENSIVE and, quite literally, we can’t afford to eat meat every day. Our semi-vegetarian lifestyle is us living within our means.

    I grew up raising farm animals for the 4-H program (any 4-Hers out there? holla…) and quickly came to terms with the idea that these animals are raised for slaughter. I distinctly remember a certain prize-winning lamb that I tearfully refused to part with (for about five minutes) and a pig that I raised, like a pet, that would eat a popsicle right off the stick. I was incredibly sad to know that they went to the processing plant, but that’s how my parents stocked the freezer – that’s how we ate. A family of 5 would be fed (with meat every day as the centerpiece of every meal) with a single pig and a 1/4 beef for around a year. I was taught that the animal’s death was simply a part of my life (although I can see now that it more had to do with the way my mother cooked and not the way “that things are”).

    Now, with some additional knowledge, I DO have serious ethical concerns with factory farming. It’s a contemptible practice that has been necessary because of our meat-centric society. We need to change that.

    On the other hand, I know that large-scale farming is necessary to feed all of the people on this planet; although I support organic farming and local providers in theory, I know that this method can’t sustain everyone (large-scale farming, for all its hangups, is definitely more efficient, and we just don’t have the amount of arable land needed to provide for everyone on the planet) and it’s pricey. 

    The way I choose to live and cook on a day-to-day basis is based on our budget and providing healthful, tasty meals for my husband and I. Sometimes that includes meat, sometimes not. Ethics are something afforded to people who can pay, in time or money, for alternatives.

  • Anonymous

    Though I’m not a vegetarian yet, I hope to make the transition at some point, because most of my justifications for eating meat really sound like craven rationalizations to my brain, and if I’m honest I eat meat because it’s easy and I like the taste, which isn’t a moral justification at all.

    However my reasons are almost entirely ethical, so if artificial meat (unassociated with any nervous system) could be engineered, I’d love that.Initial experiments have yielded uninspiring results, but hopefully the science will progress, both in terms of quality and the energy imput required to produce it. Though I wonder if I would say the same once I actually become a vegetarian. I’ve heard from several that after a certain amount of time the taste and even the smell (two senses that are linked) of meat becomes disagreeable for many of them.

    On a side-note, I’ve noticed an odd convergence of attitudes towards vegetarians/vegans and towards feminists. People seem overly eager to tell you Why You Are Wrong, to get very defensive (as if you were trying to steal their cheeseburger and whip them besides), accuse you of being aggressive etc. even though all you said was ” I oppose killing animals for food when alternatives are readily available”.

    • Becky Shattuck

      It’s true.  I typically don’t discuss my vegetarianism with other people because they either 1) respond in anger, or 2) say something stupid like, “I love steak!  More cow!”  

      I know that I won’t get a respectful response, so I typically avoid saying anything about my dietary preferences unless it’s necessary.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=719095026 Zach Johnson

    I do love meat; burgers, steak, chicken, bacon, etc.  But I don’t eat boned meats – drumsticks, wings, even a t-bone steak.  I just can’t do it – not for any particular ideal though, it just grosses me out in a bad way, the idea of gnawing meat off a bone.  It’s purely psychological I think – there isn’t really much difference between a hamburger and a t-bone steak, or a boneless chicken breast and a boned wing – but still, I just can’t do it…

    So if they’re cooking up meats with no bones in a lab someplace, hell yeah I’ll eat it!

  • Josh

    So what does PETA think is going to happen to the animals now bred on farms? Will they be released into the wild? If so, how are we to prevent a drastic environmental change? How will animals selected for control over thousands of years survive without protection?

    I know this was posed more as a philosophical question, but I find it hard to imagine such a change happening without an accompanying envorinmental and probably economic disaster. As a side note, I predict that synthetic meat will never get any sort of government funding during my life. The agriculture lobby is too powerful.

    But to answer the question in the spirit of the asking: assuming it was in fact indistiguishable from “natural” meat, I’d buy whatever was the cheapest.

    • Josh

      Oh by the way my diet consists mainly of meats, grains, potatoes, cheeses, and fruits. I can’t stand most vegetables. I suppose I’m an omnivore leaning toward carnivore.

    • Anonymous

      So far as I can tell, PETA is offering a prize for someone making marketable artificial meat, not advocating a blanket ban on meat-eating (though I don’t doubt some in the organization would defend just that). Meat production could be phased out just like any other industry. There are hardly any seamstresses anymore, or chimeney cleaner boys, or horse buggy constructors, or armor producers. Changing an industry does have economic costs, especially when its very rapid, but this does not in itself constitute a justification for not doing it.

      As for the argument that somehow domestic animals are better off with a human race that kills and eats them, this reminds me a great deal of the debate on bullfighting. You see, where I live bullfighting is still legal and those that advocate it say that without “La Fiesta” (which involves the cruel torture to death of an animal in front of a man dressed like a Christmas tree) humans would have no motivation to maintain the bull species and hence the barbaric practice of torturing them to death for fun and profit is just. If one agrees that you cannot justify the practice of killing animals when you have other means available to feed yourself, then the argument that the practice is just because humans would lack the motivation to maintain the domesticated species strikes me as very similar.

      • Josh

        What I’m saying is that I think  after years of cultivation and selected breeding, the animals that we rely on can no longer survive in the wild. Look how hard it is to reintroduce animals from zoos into the wild.

        Also I think I can justify eating meat, even if there are alternatives.

    • Anonymous

      I’m shocked that people still think PETA and their HSUS lapdaogs care about animals!

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    As a current meat eater, I would certainly switch over to the lab-grown meat if it was available (and not obscenely expensive).  I’ve always been a bit conflicted about the morality of killing animals for food. Arguments from nature (“tigers eat meat so we can too”) are horribly invalid ( i.e. “Preying mantises kill their mates so we can to!”). As humans, we have agreed to minimize suffering and death whenever possible and it really comes down to whether or not we extend this to other species as well. I’m not sure exactly where to stand there…
    I think it’s telling that most people do not want to think about where their meat comes from, or the slaughter house process. Many people are shocked to see dead chickens hanging outside in Chinatown. We are happy just pretending that chicken appears magically at the supermarket, already cut up and in nice little packages.
    Lab-grown meat would be fantastic and would remove this conflict. Though I’m sure there would still be people freaking out that it is “franken-food” and a whole pseudo-science of “naturally killed is better” would grow (assuming lab grown meat is truely equivilent.)

    PS: Hemant, you are completely wrong about the smell of bacon though…

  • Pureone

    I’m curious how we should handle the subsequent deer population explosion and the increased damage and human death toll associated with that.

  • Anonymous

    I’m an onmivore, but I eat a fairly low-meat diet.  Partially this is economic, but it’s also about the resources required to produce the food, and about having a lower environmental impact.  As a result, I tend to prefer poultry to beef, since it takes less feed to produce each pound of poultry.  And I also try to prepare meals that stretch a small amount of meat to feed more people.  I figure that if everybody were to reduce their meat consumption by even 1/10, that would be as much of an impact as 10% of the population going vegetarian, and also much easier to achieve.

    Sorry, can’t give up the bacon.  But if I eat it on BLT’s, preferably with home-grown tomatoes, I can get by on far less bacon.

    A few years back, we took a friend who was raised vegetarian out to a vegan restaurant.  That restaurant does amazing things with TVP, and if you didn’t know better, you’d swear it was meat.  He tried it, but didn’t like it.  He’s never developed the taste for meat, so their amazing veggie version of it was not to his taste at all.

  • http://twitter.com/thesexyatheist KTSA

    You’re only 28. I thought you were 48. sorry buddy.

    Kriss

  • NorDog

    Test tube steaks?  Hhmmmm.

    If they serve it at Ruth’s Chris Steak House with a crusted bleu cheese topping, then I’m all in.

  • Aaron Scoggin

    Really, the only reason to go vegetarian is because you just don’t like eating meat. Any other reason is just elitist. I like meat. I don’t eat it every day, but when I do, it’s delicious. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      And your assumption that “any other reason is just elitist” is elitist itself. 

      • NorDog

        I know you are, but what am I; to infinity.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

           Can we play “Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot” next? I so don’t want to get cooties from those awful girls.

          Oh, wait, this isn’t elementary school? Your clever comment had me so confused- nay, discombobulated- that I lost track of where I was in time and space.

          Shit, I FUCKING TOUCHED INFINITY BY TRAVELING THROUGH TIME AND SPACE BECAUSE OF YOUR JUVENILE REBUTTAL. So I guess that means: I know you are… but what am I?

          • NorDog

            LOL.  That’s the spirit!

  • Guest

    I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do love bacon and a nice juicy cheeseburger every now and again. I’ll be surprised if a synthetic meat substitute is ever developed, at least that is indistinguishable in taste and texture etc from the real thing.

  • Tom

    I’m a weekday vegetarian, because I’m not prepared (by preference) to give up meat entirely.  But I’ve often thought that it would be a great alternative to switch to vat-grown meat that’s seeded from a human volunteer — consenting all the way down to the first cell.  If grown human flesh that had never been connected to a nervous system ever became available as an alternative to animal products, I would become vegan.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I do love bacon and a nice juicy cheeseburger every now and again. I’ll be surprised if a synthetic meat substitute is ever developed, at least that is indistinguishable in taste and texture etc from the real thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eukota Darrell Ross

    I ate essentially vegetarian for two years; it wasn’t intentional. I worked at a vegetarian restaurant and didn’t know how to cook meat at home so I didn’t eat any. I have since learned how to cook meat. Health-wise, eating vegetarian/vegan requires more attention to my nutrient intake – nutrient issues can arise if vegetarians/vegans don’t watch their protein intake, etc. Ethically I would say I’m ok with eating animals. I’m not ok with factory farms and I try to buy as much meat as I can directly from local farmers whom I can visit. I also have an incredibly robust metabolism and tend to digest vegetarian/vegan dishes in about 20 minutes. I do feel a bit more weighed down when I eat meat but at least I’m not hungry 20 minutes later – lasts a couple hours instead.

    On a side note, vegetarians that eat meat-flavored foods clearly aren’t doing it because they dislike the taste of meat (eg: chix patties, quorn patties, etc). 

    • kaileyverse

      Uh – have you had a veggie burger? they Do NOT taste like meat. they are a convenient way to eat a whole bunch of veggies in a bun.

    • Anonymous

      “Health-wise, eating vegetarian/vegan requires more attention to my nutrient intake – nutrient issues can arise if vegetarians/vegans don’t watch their protein intake, etc. ”

      To be fair this is true of any diet.  The US does have a reputation for citizens who, shall we say, don’t watch their protein intake all that closely.

  • http://www.leftchristianity.wordpress.com Brenda

    I’ve been a vegetarian for about 9 months now.  I’ve never tried to convince anyone to give up meat though.  I still cook meat for my 5 kids and my meat-loving husband who also likes to hunt occastionally.

    I find that when the topic of veganism/vegetarianism comes up online, atheists get as riled up as religious people do when their faith is up for debate.  It’s kind of amusing to watch :)   No lack of passion!

    I’d have to think about it more, but there’s something to be said about getting used to a certain way of eating.  Don’t know that vegetarians would be highly motivated to change the way they are used to eating. 

  • Lyra

    “Would omnivores eat that in lieu of meat that came from a dead animal?”Yes, so long as it tasted (roughly) the same.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been a vegetarian since my early teens – around 20 years. I didn’t quit eating meat because I didn’t like it, or even any health concerns, but rather for reasons akin to the ones Hemant suggested – I couldn’t justify putting animals through pain and suffering when there were so many alternatives.

    Putting meat back into my diet at this point would likely be difficult. I don’t need it, certainly don’t crave it, and not eating it is a part of my lifestyle now. However, I do eat a few soy products that are supposed to be ‘meat like’ – vegetarian bacon, veggie burgers and dogs, and even the odd veggie ‘chicken breast’.

    I’d definitely give no-suffering meat a try. There would be no reason not to. I’d actually be somewhat curious as to whether I would prefer it over the things I’m eating now.

  • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

    I love things like this, where a community that prides itself on its rationalism gets oh-so-defensive about what it is they eat. I think this sums it up pretty well:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Tvmm0-NSzE

  • Justin
  • Starry

    If it tastes good and is affordable, I would eat it. In all honesty, I just eat what tastes good. I remember one lunch at band camp, they were serving a pasta-y thing with chunks of what looked like meat in it. Turns out, it was tofu, but I couldn’t tell the difference and it tasted quite good.

  • http://religiouscomics.net/ Jeff P

    I would definitely try it.  If it didn’t cost significantly more than real meat, I would switch over to it.   (I’m an omnivore).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

    Hemant, sounds like you’ve developed a negative psychological connection towards meats in your mind, which affects how you perceive the smell of meat. That’s a real phenomenon that you might find interesting to research.

    Roast Lamb. Mmmm. Turkey. Yumm. The smell is as much a part of the pleasure as the taste.

    For myself and most of my friends, bacon in the morning is one of the finest pleasures in life. But then, we weren’t raised to have the negative psychological connection to the smell that you did.

    I don’t believe anyone is born pre-disposed to smelling meats any differently to anyone else. We develop these sensory responses through conditioning. Interesting thought to consider!

    And yes, I’d eat grown meat over killed meat any day.

    PS: Wow, you’re only my age! Good work, dude.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593675787 Glenn Davey

      Also, I eat meat because… well, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Meat is part of our ancestral diet, and too many vegetarians seem pale and sickly. But basically I just love meat.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

        I have seen WAY more pale, sickly, unhealthy looking meat eaters than I ever have vegetarians. It is just as easy to be nutritionally deprived when you eat meat as it is vegetables. In fact, look at the majority of people who have diabetes, heart-attacks, and strokes: too much meat, not enough veggie.

        As per the smell thing, while there may be a psychological component to it, all people smell things differently. I always found the smell of bacon to be disgusting (well before I gave up meat), as well as pretty much any aquatic-fauna food (cooked or raw, they all smell vile). I also can’t stand the smell of most perfumes which is why I don’t wear deodorant, cologne, or put product in my hair. My mother loved bacon, I wasn’t conditioned to dislike it. I just prefer the smell of vegetables to that of meat, they aren’t as pungent or offensive. I have a sensitive nose. I can’t even walk through detergent aisles in stores because I’ll get a massive headache and once I passed out, and walking by those candle stores in malls almost kills me. Or those old-ladies that dump whole bottles of perfume on themselves. Uggghhh…..

        • Anonymous

          Josh, are they pale and sickly because they eat meat or say sit on their ass all day in front of the tv?I’m sur eyou could eat all the nuts and berries you want and still look like crap if you never moved.  Doctors say a vegan diet needs to be carefully formulated for the individual because it could be dangerous to do otherwise. I’ve never heard that stated by a medical professional about a balanced omnivore diet.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

            How many people, honestly, eat a “balanced omnivore diet”?  It is recommended that you eat a small (palm-sized) portion of meat 3-5 times a week (not every meal, everyday), while eating mostly veggies. If meat-eaters at a balanced diet, then the United States wouldn’t be the fattest nation. Most meat-eaters don’t have any semblance of a “balanced diet”, look at that Atkins phase so long ago. That much protein is so bad for your kidneys, heart and brain.

            Anyway, that was my point. No diet is perfect without work, even a meat-based one. There are more meat-eaters, so therefore by population size alone, there are more unhealthy meat-eaters than vegetarians. I couldn’t wager as to what the population percentages are [(like, say 50% of meat-eaters are unhealthy as opposed to 25% of vegetarians)<- not a real statistic, using for reference].  Though based on the fact that 2/3 of the United States is overweight (1/3 obese), and that being overweight causes more health problems, and that more people eat meat than don't, it stands to reason that more meat-eaters, by and large, are unhealthy compared to vegetarians/vegans.

             A vegetarian, vegan, or meat diet ALL require intense attention to make sure you get the nutrients you need. It seems to me, though, that vegetarians and vegans are more likely to do that than most meat-eaters, since people typically view meat as the most important part of a meal (it isn't, and shouldn't be).

            I'm not saying my diet is better, or that you don't take health into consideration for yours, it's just the majority of people do not.

            • Anonymous

              Actually that is my approach roughly.  I enjoy and eat meat but do not know how anyone can eat a 16+ oz steak…it’s way way way too much.  However I probably take in more grains than I should & know I need more vegetables…I just don’t find them terribly satisfying.

  • http://smorgzone.blogspot.com Smorg

    I won’t set about trying to convert vegetarians into meat-eaters, but this notion that it is unethical to eat meat because something has to die for the meat to become available for eating bugs me. Plants are living things, too! I would submit that it is even more ‘inhumane’ to kill plants than to kill animals. Plants can’t even try to run away from you. They can’t even squeal in horror when you approach with the sickle…

    It’s personal choice whether someone decide to eat meat or to never eat meat. I can respect that, but you shouldn’t make that into an ethical question. (I’ll make exceptions for the case of excess or wasteful consumption or for cases where sadistic methods are used in the killing of the animal, of course).

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      Fallacious argument. See: Central Nervous System http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_nervous_system

      How many cows, pigs, and chickens on factory farms do you think get a chance to run away? Isn’t it more “inhumane” to lock a nomadic animal in a small cage and then rank-and-file them into a slaughter room? Or to just go cage to cage and let all the other animals watch as you slaughter the only other beings they’ve known? Is it better to cramp a chicken in a pen so small she can’t stand up or spread her wings, while also having her beak cut off? What about cows that are forced to give birth, never get to see their calf, and are hooked up to machines that pump their milk from them? These are all basically standard practise for large-scale farms.

      Eating meat isn’t the unethical, immoral part: factory farming is. I can’t stand it when people say “it’s natural” to eat meat when the process they go about getting it is a far from natural as we are from the other side of the universe. Humans are supposed to eat far more vegetable matter than animal matter, but the inverse is standard. Our bodies evolved that way and we fight it by eating way too much meat.

      There is a reason the United States is the most obese nation on the planet. Our portion sizes are massive, we eat way too much meat and dairy (every meal, really?), not enough good vegetables (potatoes are tasty, but not so healthy once fried and battered and covered in dairy), and our physical activity has plummeted.

      As per the “natural” argument, then processed dairy should be RIGHT OUT. If any person makes the “eating meat is natural” claim then I hope they don’t eat dairy. Because much like the internet and plastic, processed dairy (cheeses, yogurt, pasteurized milk, etc.) is unnatural and made by man. No single other species of animal – other than scavengers that eat our refuse – consume any type of dairy post-infancy (nor to they produce cheese). In fact the majority of the world is lactose intolerant, and really only decedents of Europeans are lactose tolerant.

      You’re right though, it is a personal choice. Unfourtuantely though many make that choice wholly uninformed about the reality of it. I’m talking about the biology and health of vegetarianism, not the moral/ethical additions. Being a vegetarian (or eating FAR LESS MEAT) is the healthiest diet a human can have (Vegan is more a lifestyle, the diet being strict-vegetarian). To many meat tastes good, but so does sugar and eating too much of that is just as bad as eating too much meat (in fact, both contribute to diabetes).

      • http://smorgzone.blogspot.com Smorg

        I’m not the one that made this vegetarianism v meat-eating thing an ethical issue. Hemant (and many other vegetarians commenting here) did by saying that they don’t eat meat at all because that’s ethical. They didn’t say they don’t eat farmed meat.

        And even if you are to argue that we all should eat ‘naturally’ as in going about hunting wild animal for meal… perhaps you could wake up from the dream world and consider the real world that we all live in and see the impracticality of that.

        And as to the assertion that ‘being a vegetarian is the healthiest diet a human can have,’ I’m afraid that’s wishful thinking. Homo sapiens are omnivores, as our teeth attest. Choose to eat only plants if you’d like, but you have no case in going around asserting that that makes you more ethical than anyone else.

        • kaileyverse

          Right. Our superior canines can rip and tear through raw flesh easily!

          Our teeth are actually more similar to those of horses.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

          Our teeth attest to our need for more vegetables and less meat, not what you seem to think. When you get a chance, take a look at your average omnivore/carnivore’s teeth. You see that one called the canine that is conical in shape? Yeah, we don’t have that. Ours are splayed, not conical, nor do they have any serrations like many predators.

          Look at their backs molars. Notice how they are spiked, with sharp ridges on the top? Yeah, ours are flat and fat, not thin and jagged.

          Reality: Our teeth are more akin to horses and cows (herbivores) than most all meat-heavy omnivores (like dogs, cats, etc.). We CAN eat meat, and in SMALL quantities, it MAY be helpful and positive for our health. However our bodies are meant to process HIGHER amounts of vegetables than meats, which is the natural diet for our bodies (as evolution resulted).

          Our ability to eat meat is more of a result of our tool use and fire making skills. Our jaw is meant for grinding and chewing, like one does with plant matter, not for tearing and slicing like most omnivores.

          Also our jaw is further proof of our greater need for vegetables instead of meat. As with our teeth, our jaw is meant for grinding and chewing. Our lateral motion is common in herbivores, whereas a most omnivores and carnivores have jaws that simply open and close; you know, for catching onto the prey they chased down and to keep it from getting away. Then they use their conical-shaped teeth to tear small bits of flesh and muscle away to swallow un-chewed into their short intestinal tracts.

          Like most herbivores, we have a quite long intestinal tract. This serves to process and break down plant matter, which is not an easy thing to do always (ask a cow). Carnivores and meat-heavy omnivores usually have much shorter intestinal tracts.

          I know humans are omnivores, I never said we weren’t. That doesn’t mean
          we should eat more meat than vegetables. We aren’t obligate carnivores; which means we don’t HAVE to eat meat like, say, cats. Our bodies prefer
          vegetables, as our physiology shows.

          Regarding the “natural” argument,  I was merely pointing out the way that it is, in fact, natural. Buying your meat in a store is not natural in any sense of the term. Many meat-eaters make the claim that eating meat is “natural”, my point was that how they procure it isn’t natural so the fact that eating may be is irrelevant; unless they get the meat a way that is actually “natural”.

          You’re right we do live in a world where all humans hunting for their individually needed food supplies is impractical. So is wasting massive land resources, food resources, water resources, and manpower on an overabundance on an unneeded food supply.

          Humans don’t NEED to eat meat, as the millions of surviving vegetarians can prove. We don’t live in a world where wasting the resources on a horrible cost to outcome scale the amount of resources it takes to get a cow to slaughter weight is MORE than what the same amount for the people that would benefit from the cows meat; it’s WORSE for the world to continue these (rising) levels of meat farming.

          Where did I ever say I am more “ethical” than someone else? Can you show that to me, ’cause I’m pretty sure I’ve never claimed to be “more ethical” than someone else. I have always said I have a “different” set of ethics.

          And, FYI, I actually said “Being a vegetarian (or eating FAR LESS MEAT) is the healthiest diet a human can have…” Which is the truth, as most doctors and nutritionists would agree. Less meat, or no meat, is better for your heart and brain health.

  • Suzanne

    I might give it a try. I’ve been vegetarian for a bit over a year now, and I really like the taste of meat. Though honestly I don’t miss it near as much as I thought I would. So, if it was tasty and if I was confident enough that the synthetic stuff was not causing harm to the environment/animals in some other way, then I’d be ok with eating it. However I’d limit it to MUCH less than I used to eat, for the sake of my own health. I don’t want to gain back that 10-15 pounds I lost by going veg :p! (PS for anyone not going veg because they don’t like vegetables.. you can learn to like them! I barely ate any before and now I actually LOVE a lot of veggies. My mom was shocked. So was I, actually. hahaha.)

  • The Captain

    I also would just like point out that PETA is offering 1,000,000 for someone to come up with fake meat. Not like that 1,000,000 would go a long way to helping starving people in Darfur! Or offer 1,000,000 for someone who could come up with a way to get clean water to large parts of Africa…. Fucking douche bags!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

      As an atheist, vegan, animal rights supporter I have this to say to this comment: Right. Fucking. On.

      I despise PETA. They make people like me look like asses, when really I just want the world to be a healthier, happier place. Sometimes I think that PETA is a clandestine organization built by the meat-industry, but then I realize even they wouldn’t be this stupid.

      Seriously how does throwing real/fake blood on a fur coat do any good? All it does it piss the owner off and INCREASE FUR COAT DEMAND because they have to replace the one that just got ruined.

      PETA, while “loving” animals, they seriously HATE women. More so I think than Christian and Muslim extremists combined (I’m being hyperbolic, but you get the point). All of their ad campaigns are manipulative and so sexually demeaning they make me want to vomit.

      If I ran PETA it wouldn’t be this extremist, counter-productive mess it is now. They should actually be developing ways to improve farming, educate people on healthy meat consumption (like less of it and lower-fat stuff and no “fast food”). If they were respectful and showed people how to continue to live their lives, but in a all-around healthier way, maybe they’d make a difference. Instead they just alienate people who may have become vegetarian, make existing vegetarians (and vegans) look ridiculous, and inspire meat eaters to eat more meat instead of less.

      They judge people on superficial levels, damning us all.

      • Anonymous

        Wow, something we almost completely agree on. I personally think all AR types are a little bonkers. But the, like in everything, its in the extremes.

      • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

         ”PETA, while “loving” animals, they seriously HATE women.”

        I hate PETA too, but aren’t, like, all the people at the head of PETA women?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2C6XFSMIUYAZUDZ4CWUWLV7CEY Josh Pearson

          Which makes it FAR more fucked up, if you ask me.

        • guest

          Women can’t be misogynist?

          • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

            Not saying they can’t, but the fact that so many women in PETA have broken through the glass ceiling does poke a hole in the theory that they have an organizational hatred of women.

  • Nathan Palo

    Sure, I would eat it. (I am an omnivore, by the way). The only compelling reasons against eating meat are the environmental damage, and the suffering endured by the animals (I am not in favor of factory farms with small cages and bad conditions). I don’t have a problem cutting their lives short, because if we didn’t eat the meat, they would have no life in the first place. I am indifferent as to whether we use animals for meat or grow it in some artificial manner, I just want to inflict the minimum possible suffering on animals, while still getting healthy (as healthy as meat can be that is), delicious meat for human consumption.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a lifelong vegetarian. My mom became a vegetarian during or shortly after college for personal ethical reasons and also for her health, and because she didn’t/doesn’t eat meat, I was a de facto vegetarian growing up. I have no interest at all in eating meat. The smell makes me nauseous, I think it looks gross, I strongly suspect it would make me sick if I suddenly started eating it, etc., so I can’t imagine eating meat, even if the ethical/”it’s mean to kill animals” reasons were taken out of the equation. Because I’ve never eaten meat, I’ve never gone for meat replacement foods–Tofurkey, no-meat “chicken,” and the like–because I have never experienced those flavors in order to miss them, so I don’t think I would suddenly become curious about meat if no-harm meat became widely available.

  • http://disienai.tumblr.com/ Semipermeable

    In this argument, many vegetarians forget that not all of us are financially in the situation where we can afford to eat vegetarian. 
    Some people simply do not have the time, access or money to buy only non animal products and still have a fully nutritional diet.  

    Some of us have personal dietary requirements, deficiencies, or allergies that do not allow for a pure vegetable diet. 
    It is great that you are doing this, but you do not know everything about everyone’s situation and to assume you do and that you always know better is arrogant and very presumptive. 

    Personally, I would eat synthetic meat if the option was affordable, safe, tasted the same and had a lower environmental impact. As of now I eat locally farmed eggs, fish, a lot of sea food, (mussels in white wine sauce over pasta, yum!), occasionally chicken from the same local farm,  and venison (deer) or moose my father and I hunt ourselves. I also eat other meats if they are offered to me at family or friend get togethers. 
    The deer are an over populated species that cause a lot of problems in my area, and I live near the coast so I have access to fresh seafood right off the boat, paired with some great local farmers markets.  I am lucky I have access to the resources I do, not everyone does and I would not hold that against them.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      As has been noted several times in this thread by people that are eating completely or partially vegetarian diets for financial reasons, vegetables are cheaper than meat. The only way you get around that is by comparing premium veg products with cheap crap meat.

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    After reading this (and doing a great deal of skimming) 1. I would probably try it at least once 2. does anyone want to talk about circumcision now?  KIDDING.  Please don’t.  Please.  

  • http://twitter.com/TortugaSkeptic A secret red slider

    After reading this (and doing a great deal of skimming) 1. I would probably try it at least once 2. does anyone want to talk about circumcision now?  KIDDING.  Please don’t.  Please.  

  • treedweller

    I quit eating meat about 25 years ago. Perhaps notable that I was raised in TX and my grandparents raised cattle. I quit for the obvious three reasons: environment, health, and animal welfare, in that order. I went through an “angry young man” phase and was a vegan almost as annoying as those many of you use as a reason to keep eating meat. I went back to eggs and dairy because I really like cheese and baked goods, but I try to buy from farmers’ markets. I respect hunters (assuming they eat what they kill) more than shoppers. I now sometimes buy grass-fed, organic beef, but I still pass on the Jack-in-the-Box rainforest burgers. All that is pretty irrelevant to the original question. To which I answer, depends on the resources that go into production.

    What I find most interesting about this discussion, though, is that it basically became the same pro/anti veg argument that can be found all over the internet. This is one of the most educated, thoughtful, open-minded groups I’ve encountered, but when meat-eating is threatened, many of you become morons.

    Listen to yourself. Look at the facts. Meat eating may or may not be a moral lapse, but there is no doubt that our collective meat-centric diet is having devastating effects on our planet. Meanwhile, I and many vegetarians I know are far from weak and pasty. My job is to climb trees and prune them, then hump the debris to a truck and load it and haul it. If you happen to be an Olympic athlete you may be able to kick my ass, but I am stronger and tougher than most people my age. Admit it. You are making a selfish choice and rationalizing it. (NOTE: “You” in this context may not mean “you” specifically. Don’t use me as another excuse to avoid the issue.)

    You can decide to keep eating meat, but don’t claim it’s because you need it to be strong. Either way, you could do us all a favor and cut back a little.

    I have heard meat-eating described as a cult (in vegan discussions, of course). Everyone does it, nobody really talks about it, and people get extremely defensive when it’s threatened. But, given the site, I think everyone who laid into the guy proffering the argument in favor of vegetarianism should spend a little time reflecting on how similar their arguments are to those in favor of religion. Give me a science-based argument instead of an emotional one and I’ll grant you 150 Internet points.

    • kaileyverse

      The joy of vegan baking is an EXCELLENT cookbook for vegan baked goods. I make recipes out of it all the time – no one ever suspects they are vegan.

  • Sailor

    One thing that seems clear to me reading these comments is that vegetarians, by and large, are a little “holier than thou” in their attitudes. Is it justified? I cannot say I am enamored with modern meat production methods, but then neither are modern crop raising methods much better.
    Most diets consist of killing – if not meat, then vegetables, which are just as much alive, but it is true they don’t scream as much.
    Many vegetarians say they won’t eat meat because it involves killing. True, but the other side of that equation is that farm animals would not have a life at all if they were not eaten. No one is going to raise pigs because they enhance the view. Is it better to live and die or never to live? We are of course all going to die at some point.
    Modern crop farming is not kind to the environment. Generally the ground is first sprayed to kill all weeds, and then the crops are sprayed several times for various pests. These are heavy doses, when you don’t wander around without protection. Generally crop fields are not good habitats for animals, and if they are pests they get dealt with. So every crop field is habitat removed from the wild where wild things might flourish.
    If we try to get away from sentimental reasons to be a vegetarian, (most from what I can see) we need to consider what it good for animal life and how animals can thrive.This means allowing them habitat and not converting it all to cropland. One way is hunting. Humans were much easier on the environment when they were hunter gatherers, and even today, if you have a really large population off hunters, they provide a political force to keeping land wild where wild animals will thrive. This is positive for animal life, though most vegans may not agree. Unfortunately hunting populations are declining, and in the long rnu that is going to result in less wild habitat.
     It really does not matter what we eat. The problem is that we have out-competed other large mammals for habitat, and by taking more and more for us we have destroyed most of theirs. By far the best thing we can do for animals is to stop reproducing so much, and allow them a bit more room. Otherwise what you eat is not going to make that much difference.

    • http://twitter.com/the_ewan Ewan

      “vegetarians, by and large, are a little “holier than thou” in their attitudes. Is it justified?”

      If you accept that there is such a thing as ethics at all, that some things are more or less right or wrong than other things, then on any specific issue the people that do the ‘right’ thing are indeed better people than those that do the ‘wrong’ thing.

      I can’t see how you get around that without denying that ethics exist at all.

      • http://smorgzone.blogspot.com Smorg

        Having personal ethic is one thing. Imposing one’s own personal ethics on others is another.

        • Duh

          who said anything about imposing ethics? this was supposed to be about whether people would eat lab-grown meat. I’m pretty sure nobody is going to make you have any if you don’t want it.

          • http://smorgzone.blogspot.com Smorg

            Did you read the entire post and comments or just the parts that you wanted to hear? Hemant and a few others kept saying they don’t eat meat because animals have to die for us to be able to eat them, and that’s why not eating meat is ‘ethical’. (In other words, eating meat is unethical).

            That’s what Sailor objected to.  Then Ewan piped up to defend the ‘I don’t eat meat so I’m more ethical than you’ stance, at which point my response came in.

            You want to eat meat or not eat meat, that’s your choice and problem. Don’t go around making that an ethical problem.

            If some others would like to discuss the sub topic of eating wild animals versus eating farmed animals and how one is more humane than the other or whatever else, they can have at it.

            As for me, I’m a mass murderer who commits mass-genocide upon billions of microbes (also living things) everyday, but my dogs love me, so that’s okay. :o P Chicken little…

    • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

       ”Many vegetarians say they won’t eat meat because it involves killing.
      True, but the other side of that equation is that farm animals would not
      have a life at all if they were not eaten. No one is going to raise
      pigs because they enhance the view. Is it better to live and die or
      never to live? We are of course all going to die at some point.”

      A double response here:

      Firstly, the apt question is not “Is it better to live and die or never live?” It’s “Is it better to live under these conditions and die than to not live?” Context matters. Many abortion advocates bring up the social status of the hypothetical single mother that was raped and would hate her baby, and argue that the baby is better off to not be born. Many argue that it’s better for children in extreme poverty who starve to death within a month of life to have never been born and live through that suffering than it was for them to be born. I would argue that if Earth were colonized by some advanced species of alien or something and humans began to be raised as a food source, I would rather never be born than live that life. Anthropomorphizing? Sure, but at the same time it helps you see the point of view: Is it better for animals to live a life where they’re genetically modified to the point that it hampers their basic existence, fed food that they can’t digest properly, and (in the case of poultry) put in small cages leaving them immobile and having parts of them burned off or (in the case of cows and pigs) being branded, forcibly impregnated so they can produce milk, having parts of them burned or cut off, and then slaughtered after two years of life, OR, would it be better to not be born at all?

      Secondly, there are some people who actually keep pigs as pets. They make pretty good pets because they’re intelligent creatures, they have personalities, and they’re generally pretty friendly. In addition, there are animal sanctuaries that keep animals like cows, chickens and pigs for no other reason than because they like them. I don’t think those places would disappear without a demand for meat, since they’re not in that market anyway.

      • Sailor

        “I don’t think those places would disappear without a demand for meat, since they’re not in that market anyway.”
        No, but that is a very small number. Consider, if everyone went vegetarian tomorrow, how many millions of animals would have to be killed as they are not useful?
        Having raised animals for food, I can tell you in he time they have allotted to them they seem to get a good kick out of life. Most small farmer that raise animals are very fond of them. But they must make a living too, and while I don’t know of anyone who enjoys killing farm animals, it is done as quickly and painlessly as possible. Think of a farm that raises only vegetables, then think of a farm that is a mixture of veggies, some chickens, a few cows in the field, a few pigs. Which is the most appealing? I like the diversity of the latter, and cannot see it as any less moral than the former.

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          Well, while I doubt any farmer gets into farming because they hate animals, I do think you have a pretty idealized vision of agriculture if you think veggies, a few chickens, a few cows and a few pigs is enough for a farmer to support himself in any way other than substaining purely on their own farm. Most farms define “a few” in the hundreds. “A few” the way we think about it is not going to be enough to sell your goods on the market and make a living. Those types of farmers are called “hobby farmers” for a reason. (My uncle is one, lol.)

          Also, you’re assuming that everyone is going to wake up and become a vegetarian tomorrow. That would indeed lead to a mass killing, but in the real world it wouldn’t work like that. Any massive cultural change starts with a few people adopting it at a time. The estimate is that about 4-5% of Americans are vegetarians, and about 1% are vegans. That number is not going to grow to 100% or even 10% overnight…it’s an incremental change. And if you know anything about economics, you know that as demand decreases, so does supply. Farmers might look at one month and say “Huh, didn’t sell as much this month,” but if they don’t sell as much for several months running they’re likely to decrease their supply – in other words, to breed and/or buy less animals than they did before. As the number of people not interested in meat grows, the number of animals raised for meat shrinks. I don’t hold any delusions that tomorrow the world would wake up vegetarian or vegan. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and people aren’t going to give up eating meat or animal products in a day either.

          • Sailor

            Yes, but suppose it does happen, then you still have to ask the question is it better when all the farm animals are gone?
            By the way, I eat meat, but generally only from an animal I have met when it was alive and happy. If that is from people who farm as secondary occupation so be it.

            • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

              Would you rather live the life of a typical farmed animal or not live at all?

              • Sailor

                Oh I would much prefer to live the life of a farmed animal, the kind farm animal that I would eat or raise. They have a really good life, all be it short, and they have no idea the end is coming. They are not like people, if there are two pigs eating at a trough and you shoot one, the other just goes on eating!

    • guest

      “No one is going to raise pigs because they enhance the view.”
      There’s no need for people to “raise” pigs.  I believe that wild pigs still exist in a few parts of the world. Long ago, before humans began domesticating other animals, there must’ve been wild versions of cows (since I don’t personally know of any that remain).  Given enough time, domesticated animals could revert to a more wild state, I suppose.  If humans hadn’t killed off most of the other predators in places where we thrive, the animals we’d domesticated could theoretically become prey for mountain lions and wolves.

  • treedweller

    forgot to mention the “meat substitutes.” I’m sure some people buy them in hopes of recovering a bit of the magic of eating flesh, but for most of us that’s not it. When you don’t eat meat, you are limited in what you can buy at restaurants and grocery stores. I think we’d all be better off if we got raw veggies and brought them home and cooked them, but sometimes we all get busy and it’s nice to have convenience foods. I don’t eat “fake meat” to recapture the meat glory, but sometimes I keep it around so I can toss it in the toaster oven a few minutes and end up with a meal that isn’t yet another plate of roasted vegetables.

  • Michael Gibb

    Everyone keeps discussing the ethics of meat cunsumption versus vegetarianism/veganism on the grounds of sustainability, but there is one thing that I don’t think anyone has ever addressed in this debate, not just on this forum but virtually everywhere it is occurring.

    If all humans were to turn vegetarian/vegan what would happen to all the livestock populations? We can’t exactly release them back into the wild because they would either go extinct or be drastically diminished from predation or would become pests or an invasive species and destroy the natural ecosystems.

    • Duh

      um, just in case this is serious, we would stop raising so much livestock if we weren’t planning to eat it. It would be foolish to spend the resources otherwise. A few pet cows here and there, perhaps.

    • Anonymous

      like all the feral hogs in TX

    • guest

      As someone already stated above, it’s not like the entire planet would go vegan in one day.  The number of livestock animals bred would slowly decrease. There wouldn’t suddenly be millions of unwanted domesticated animals that we wouldn’t know what to do with.

      That said, what’s wrong with allowing domesticated animals to go extinct or be drastically diminished from predation?

    • TychaBrahe

      There’s an interesting book on this subject: The Covenant of the Wild.  Basically the author argues that species that have been domesticated are much more successful than species that have not been.  For example, there is only a very small population of wild horses left in the world (true wild horses, not feral ones that roam the American southwest) while domesticated horses number in the millions.  

  • x jeremy jarratt

    This is interesting. My girlfriend and i (both vegetarians, for ethical reasons) have been discussing this for some time now. I think we’re both of the opinion that if it doesn’t experience consciousness, if it is not aware, it’s pretty much, er, on the table. Our general rule of thumb is that we don’t eat anything that once had a face. But meat-in-a-vat doesn’t walk around thinking. It’s not thinking meat. It’s just meat-slurry, totally disconnected from an individual conscious organism in pretty much every way.

    • TychaBrahe

      You realize that many things we consume don’t walk around thinking?  Fish, shellfish…

      I’m not talking about a lack of higher thought.  No one expects a cow to contemplate philosophy.  I’m talking about an inability to do anything except by instinct, hard-wired neurological processes.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com/ Anna

    No, I wouldn’t. I hate the taste of meat. That’s the reason that I stopped eating it in the first place. There are no moral issues involved with fake meat (veggie burgers, for example), and I don’t eat those either. If meat could be grown in a lab, I’d say that would be a wonderful solution to killing animals for food, but I wouldn’t be eating the result.

  • KEH

    I was a lacto-ovo-vegetarian for 8 years because I’m not fond of meat and because killing animals makes me sad.  Problem is that I wasn’t healthy – had the immune system of a sickly stick.  I am now once again an omnivore and am much stronger and healthier.  That said – if they can make meat without killing I will absolutely eat it.  Bring it on!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/d3st88 Morva Ádám

    I think in vitro meat is our inevitable future, our environmental, moral, economical and humanitarian responsibility, and vegetarians would be dumb not to eat it for moral or religious reasons.

  • Karen

    You don’t like the smell of frying bacon? Wow. I have never heard anyone say that.

    I would have thought that would be hard-wired into our brains: Meat, fat, salt and fire— gooooooddddddd. (Not good for us, per se, but good for our primitive ancestors who needed all three when they were very scarce in the diet).

    Beer, I can understand, is an acquired taste just like wine (even good wine) has to be tried a few times before it’s really appreciated. But bacon – unpleasant? That’s almost incomprehensible.

    One of my best friends growing up was Mormon and she often commented on how wonderful brewing coffee smells, although her mother (who sinned and tried a sip) told her it tasted awful, not at all like the smell. 

    • Anonymous

      Count me as another incomprehensible person then. The smell of bacon makes me gag. I do enjoy the smell of brewing coffee; however, I never drink the stuff.

      • Anonymous

        I too can’t stand the smell of bacon. And whatever it is that KFC blows out of its stores to attract customers smells particularly revolting.

  • Anonymous

    Since I read this far, I guess I’ll comment too. 

    I like eating meat. It’s not central to my identity, but I enjoy eating it and that’s not something I’d like to change. If this fake meat was equal in quality and cost less, I’d probably buy it, but I doubt such a thing will happen.

    I don’t agree with the ethical arguments for avoiding meat because I don’t agree that all suffering matters. It sounds to me like a spiritual argument. I think that human suffering matters because the oppression of my fellow humans either directly harms me or my loved ones, or it sets a precedent that increases the likelihood that me or my loved ones will be similarly oppressed. I don’t think the same thing happens when cattle are slaughtered.

    If someone were to create a commercially-viable synthetic meat, the last thing they would need is a million bucks from PETA. They’d be filthy rich already. If PETA really wants to help make this happen, they should actively fund research. Telling someone you’ll fund them after they secure a multi-million dollar patent is just silly, and it doesn’t support the research.

  • Anonymous

    Since I read this far, I guess I’ll comment too. 

    I like eating meat. It’s not central to my identity, but I enjoy eating it and that’s not something I’d like to change. If this fake meat was equal in quality and cost less, I’d probably buy it, but I doubt such a thing will happen.

    I don’t agree with the ethical arguments for avoiding meat because I don’t agree that all suffering matters. It sounds to me like a spiritual argument. I think that human suffering matters because the oppression of my fellow humans either directly harms me or my loved ones, or it sets a precedent that increases the likelihood that me or my loved ones will be similarly oppressed. I don’t think the same thing happens when cattle are slaughtered.

    If someone were to create a commercially-viable synthetic meat, the last thing they would need is a million bucks from PETA. They’d be filthy rich already. If PETA really wants to help make this happen, they should actively fund research. Telling someone you’ll fund them after they secure a multi-million dollar patent is just silly, and it doesn’t support the research.

  • Patricia

    I’d absolutely switch to that, as long as it was tasty. Meat eaters have a huge carbon footprint and I feel guilty about my love of Chipotle. 

    • guest

      you do know that Chipotle is a chilli, right?

      • http://smorgzone.blogspot.com Smorg

        She’s probably talking about Chipotle cheese.

        • TychaBrahe

          She’s probably talking about the fast food restaurant chain.

      • NorDog

        Yeah, and finding pure Mole sauce is difficult.

        I always get strange looks at the market when I ask for a jar of Wholly Mole.

  • Deepak Shetty

    Vegetarian by choice and I would try artificial meat (I loved pomfrets and a variety of dishes that my mom and grandmother cooked). 

  • guest

    I have been a “vegetarian” for 15 years now. I don’t think killing animals is the problem. the way meat is currently produced is the problem, raising and killing in very inhumane manners. I find the notion that killing animals to eat them silly and unnatural. (animals kill animals for food. we are not different). To me, the actual solution should be a decrease in meat eaten. Meat shouldn’t be the main ingredient or the main food group. Treated as a side, not daily would be ok. Eating meat daily is a very new development mostly in rich countries. 
    I also reduced the amount of sea animals I am eating, to decrease my footprint and support sustainability. thinking about these issues, yes I would eat meat that was grown in a lab. if they create delicious tuna instead of driving current bluefin tuna to extinction, bring it on!

    • guest

      PS: why is the question if vegetarians would eat it? shouldn’t the question be if meat eaters would be able to switch to artificially grown meat?

  • Robert Thille

    I stopped eating meat after reading “Eating Animals”, not because I cared about the suffering of the animals (though that factored in a small bit), but because of the environmental costs and the fact that factory farms are breeding grounds for antibiotic resistant bacteria.
    Meat grown in a dish/vat wouldn’t have the suffering, but it would still likely have the 10x/calorie energy costs over a plant based diet.
    So, no I probably wouldn’t eat it.

  • burgerburgs

    See what you started Hemant? :|  

    You people have nothing better to do than to argue about whether you eat meat or not in a blog’s comments? Because, of course, each one of you is right and the rest of you is wrong.

    I like my omnivore teeth and I’m going to use them. But if someone else doesn’t want to, then that’s cool. More bacon and steak for me. Now I’m hungry… And to think I wanted Indian food earlier! Spinach with potatoes and rice usually sounds equally good as the meat.

  • http://twitter.com/Jalyth JT the Girl

    I stopped eating all meat 15 years ago because it physically hurt to eat it. I always say “go animals” but that’s not my reasoning. I’m glad not to support what I think is generally unsustainable, but at least the holier-than-thou meat eaters can’t argue with “it hurts”. (Seriously, I used to get a lot of flack from midwestern meat-n-potato dudes). I have since succumbed to fish, if it’s harvested consciously.

    Has anyone read Oryx and Crake or The Year of the Flood? My visceral reaction to this question is “Ew, No!” but that’s based on these books, I think.

  • gsw

    Actually, some very good meat substitutes are now provided in the form of soya products.  I like the burgers, I have no idea whether they actually taste of meat – but they are quite spicy.

    Meanwhile, the local store started selling soya sausages, so I tried some, and found them disgusting!  However, others have since told me they taste just like German white pork sausages.
    So I guess, if meat was cloned in vitro, I would still not like it. 

  • Mary

    The New Humanism just posted an interesting blog on this topic.  http://thenewhumanism.org/authors/pawel-fiedor/articles/partners-in-nature
    As I was reading through the comments here, one person said that if he had to kill the animals himself, he would be a vegetarian. But since he doesn’t, he eats meat. That’s interesting, because the reason I became a vegetarian was that same realization. If I had to kill an animal to eat, I would much rather eat something else. As much as I don’t want to kill an animal, I don’t want anyone else doing it for me either, especially because they may not even do it humanely. And for me, it’s not just the killing – it’s the breeding and then sticking animals in confined spaces with barely any light or fresh air. The whole industry is just cruel. But if there were a way to eat healthy meat without having anything to do with that industry or killing animals, then I would consider it.

  • Brick
  • Emily

    I’m a vegetarian and I also am a cell biologist who works with mouse embryonic stem cells.  I find it kind of hypocritical that PETA won’t support animal research when it could help develop cures for human diseases (PETA always threatens our lab every year, and we’re conducting research that could help cure Alzheimer’s disease and MS), but that they will pay $1,000,000 to develop meat that gets through a loophole in the vegetarian diet?  They need to get their priorities straight if you ask me.

  • http://twitter.com/aliadeta Grace McCarter

    As a vegan for the big 3(Environmental, ethical AND health reasons) I might give it a try, but the fact that high cholesterol runs in my family(did you know ONE egg contains over half the amount of cholesterol recommended for consumption in a day? I used to eat two eggs and several strips of back back in my pre-gan days JUST for breakfast, imagine how much I was eating otherwise!) Anyway, I went veg initially for health reasons, so if it did become a common thing- cruelty free stem-cell meat I wouldn’t mind TRYING it, through I can’t see myself liking it anymore, meat smells gross enough as it is! That said, most of the time I would still eat vegan because I would’t hope for the best when eating at restaurants and such.

    Of course, I’d encourage my omnivorous boyfriend to go after those options over “free range” meats any day, haha. 

    That said, it still concerns me, that the original animal could have been killed and such as a result of the cell gathering. I will admit I don’t know much about stem-cell stuff, but yeah, if it harms the animal or restricts it to a crappy life, even if it’s only one or even 5 as compared to the millions of animals currently being raised for human consumption, I would still not be comfortable eating it.

    That said, this seems like the ONLY thing Peta is doing right. I hate that “non-profit” so freaking much.

  • Anonymous

    I’m omnivore but I’d try it at least once. My approach to food is this…moderation.  I’ve made plenty of meatless meals.  I do eat meat but do not find it necessary to eat a pound or more of it in a single sitting or even at every meal.  As I see it there is not a food item in existence that is not at first alive prior to becoming my food.  Everything must die for us to eat it.  The produce industry doesn’t exactly ease my mind in terms of food safety either considering the number of recalls of spinach, lettuce, sprouts and the like in recent years.  Besides as a Midwesterner where farms are a big part of people’s livelihood I don’t feel as though the environmental impacts of industrial farms are going completely ignored.  Seems to me that human ingenuity is taking it to a level to improve such things.  http://www.waste-management-world.com/index/display/article-display.articles.waste-management-world.waste-to-energy.2011.05.Biogas_to_Energy_from_Farm_Waste_Digestion_Showcased_at_AgSTAR.QP129867.dcmp=rss.page=1.html

  • NorDog

    The indentations are killing me.

    Reply to Stealing First Base:

    “OK, what is morality based on? You’ve asked a lot about my world view, but steadily dodge any questions about yours.”
    My morality?  I’m a Roman Catholic, so my morality is roundly rejected around here.  If you wish to offer specific rejections to the dogmas I follow (or even the dogmas you think I follow), knock yourself out.
    However, since you claim that all morals are relative and based in feelings, I’m not sure upon what ground you stand to condemn or oppose anyone else’s morality.  After all, it’s just their morality, based on their feelings.  As valid as yours; no more, no less.I wrote: “If we hold that some non-human animals are sentient, then the answer would be, ‘It is not wrong categorically.’”You replied: “This implies that it is sometimes wrong. When is it wrong to kill a non-human animal for food? If I started my hypothetical dog farm and somehow was able to convince the legal system to allow it to stay open, would you be one of my first customers, or would you join the masses in saying ‘It’s messed up to do that to dogs’?”
    Yeah, I think you need to work on your logical comprehension.
    To say that it not categorically wrong to eat sentient animals (if that category includes non-human animals) is NOT to say that there is something wrong with eating non-human animals.  In fact, there isn’t anything objectively wrong with eating non-human animals.
    The idea of eating dogs grosses me out.  But unlike you, I don’t make moral discernments based on my feelings.  So while I may say it’s messed up to eat dogs, I would not support any laws against it.
    I wrote: “Draw the line between human | non-human.If you need an argument as to why people are in a different category, then I pity you.”You replied: “Since you want to throw relativistic morals out the window in this discussion, fine: Explain to me why, purely rationally speaking, we shouldn’t practice cannibalism. It’s practiced in other parts of the world, and while there is some problem with disease, there’s also disease risk in the animals that we do eat. So where is the rational argument for not eating fellow humans when you remove morals from the equation?”
    Ah, this is funny, because I want to type this slowly, thinking it might help you comprehend better, but that’s just a silly feeling, so I’m typing at my usual pace.
    Simply put, I don’t remove morals from the equation.
     

    • NorDog

      Oh crap, that didn’t work very well.

  • NorDog

    Sorry, I’ll try again.

    Stealing First Base wrote: “OK, what is morality based on? You’ve asked a lot about my world view, but steadily dodge any questions about yours.”
     
    My morality?  I’m a Roman Catholic, so my morality is roundly rejected around here.  If you wish to offer specific rejections to the dogmas I follow (or even the dogmas you think I follow), knock yourself out.
     
    However, since you claim that all morals are relative and based in feelings, I’m not sure upon what ground you stand to condemn or oppose anyone else’s morality.  After all, it’s just their morality, based on their feelings.  As valid as yours; no more, no less.
    I wrote: “If we hold that some non-human animals are sentient, then the answer would be, ‘It is not wrong categorically.’”
    You replied: “This implies that it is sometimes wrong. When is it wrong to kill a non-human animal for food? If I started my hypothetical dog farm and somehow was able to convince the legal system to allow it to stay open, would you be one of my first customers, or would you join the masses in saying ‘It’s messed up to do that to dogs’?”
    Yeah, I think you need to work on your logical comprehension.
     
    To say that it not categorically wrong to eat sentient animals (if that category includes non-human animals) is NOT to say that there is something wrong with eating non-human animals.  In fact, there isn’t anything objectively wrong with eating non-human animals.
    The idea of eating dogs grosses me out.  But unlike you, I don’t make moral discernments based on my feelings.  So while I may say it’s messed up to eat dogs, I would not support any laws against it.
     
    I wrote: “Draw the line between human | non-human.
    If you need an argument as to why people are in a different category, then I pity you.”
    You replied: “Since you want to throw relativistic morals out the window in this discussion, fine: Explain to me why, purely rationally speaking, we shouldn’t practice cannibalism. It’s practiced in other parts of the world, and while there is some problem with disease, there’s also disease risk in the animals that we do eat. So where is the rational argument for not eating fellow humans when you remove morals from the equation?”
     
    Ah, this is funny, because I want to type this slowly, thinking it might help you comprehend better, but that’s just a silly feeling, so I’m typing at my usual pace.
    Simply put, I don’t remove morals from the equation.
     
     

  • NorDog

    Sorry, I’ll try again.

    Stealing First Base wrote: “OK, what is morality based on? You’ve asked a lot about my world view, but steadily dodge any questions about yours.”
     
    My morality?  I’m a Roman Catholic, so my morality is roundly rejected around here.  If you wish to offer specific rejections to the dogmas I follow (or even the dogmas you think I follow), knock yourself out.
     
    However, since you claim that all morals are relative and based in feelings, I’m not sure upon what ground you stand to condemn or oppose anyone else’s morality.  After all, it’s just their morality, based on their feelings.  As valid as yours; no more, no less.
    I wrote: “If we hold that some non-human animals are sentient, then the answer would be, ‘It is not wrong categorically.’”
    You replied: “This implies that it is sometimes wrong. When is it wrong to kill a non-human animal for food? If I started my hypothetical dog farm and somehow was able to convince the legal system to allow it to stay open, would you be one of my first customers, or would you join the masses in saying ‘It’s messed up to do that to dogs’?”
    Yeah, I think you need to work on your logical comprehension.
     
    To say that it not categorically wrong to eat sentient animals (if that category includes non-human animals) is NOT to say that there is something wrong with eating non-human animals.  In fact, there isn’t anything objectively wrong with eating non-human animals.
    The idea of eating dogs grosses me out.  But unlike you, I don’t make moral discernments based on my feelings.  So while I may say it’s messed up to eat dogs, I would not support any laws against it.
     
    I wrote: “Draw the line between human | non-human.
    If you need an argument as to why people are in a different category, then I pity you.”
    You replied: “Since you want to throw relativistic morals out the window in this discussion, fine: Explain to me why, purely rationally speaking, we shouldn’t practice cannibalism. It’s practiced in other parts of the world, and while there is some problem with disease, there’s also disease risk in the animals that we do eat. So where is the rational argument for not eating fellow humans when you remove morals from the equation?”
     
    Ah, this is funny, because I want to type this slowly, thinking it might help you comprehend better, but that’s just a silly feeling, so I’m typing at my usual pace.
    Simply put, I don’t remove morals from the equation.
     
     

    • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

      “My morality?  I’m a Roman Catholic, so my morality is roundly rejected
      around here.  If you wish to offer specific rejections to the dogmas I
      follow (or even the dogmas you think I follow), knock yourself out.”

      Ah, OK gotcha. So to you it’s OK to eat meat because the invisible man in the sky said so. Now it makes sense.

      “However, since you claim that all morals are relative and based in
      feelings, I’m not sure upon what ground you stand to condemn or oppose
      anyone else’s morality.  After all, it’s just their morality, based on
      their feelings.  As valid as yours; no more, no less.”

      It’s the old concept of the marketplace of ideas. Morals are subjective, and they’re based largely on individuals and culture, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t hold their views strongly. Just as I’m sure you hold your religious faith strongly, most people hold at least some areas of their world view very dear. This is one that I hold dear. It would behoove me, then, to try to bring others around to my way of thinking. Because morals are subjective rather than set in stone, people can change their minds about moral issues. A pro choice person can become pro life. A racist can become accepting of all races. (Just ask the Mormons! HIYO!) A theist can become an atheist, an atheist a theist, and a meat eater a vegetarian. However, to get from point A to point B you have to have your perceptions challenged. To get someone else from point A to point B you have to challenge their perceptions. You don’t do that by not talking about the issue.

      “In fact, there isn’t anything objectively wrong with eating non-human animals.”

      And humans? Why is it objectively wrong to eat humans? I would argue it’s wrong, you would argue it’s wrong, but where’s the objective standard?

      “Simply put, I don’t remove morals from the equation.”

      Maybe not, but you seem to rely on them only when it’s convenient, offering an objective view in some parts of the discussion and falling back on morals when asked a question like “what’s objectively wrong about eating humans?” So why is it right for you to use your morals in this discussion but wrong for me to do so?

      “The idea of eating dogs grosses me out.”

      What about it grosses you out? Could it be that because you’ve grown up in a culture where dogs are kept as pets and not eaten, your morals have developed in a way similar to that culture and now you find eating dogs to be an unpleasant thought? Do you allow for the possibility that had you grown up in a culture where dogs were eaten but not kept as pets you may feel very differently?

      “But unlike you, I don’t make
      moral discernments based on my feelings.”

      Maybe not, but like everyone else you make them based at least partly on your culture.

      “So while I may say it’s messed
      up to eat dogs, I would not support any laws against it.”

      Where did I say I would support laws banning meat production? The only time I brought laws into the equation is when I said that if I raised dogs as meat and treated them the way that farmed animals are treated I’d be charged with animal cruelty. I never said I’d ban meat production. I happen to be a libertarian.

      • Nordog

        You’re not one of those atheists who claim to be really smart are you?

        Even your anti-theist snark is pretty lame.

        “Where did I say I would support laws banning meat production?” you ask.

        Where did I say you said such a thing?  I was making a statement about myself, not you.

        You really should study formal logic (specifically the distinctions of universal, particular, positive, and negative propositions, and their relative convertabilities), and then you should work on parsing statments properly so as to recognize which of these a particular proposition happens to be.

        Oh, and maybe try not to let your feelings compel you to make lame (i.e. invalid) inferences.

        These suggestions presume your posts accurately relfect you cognitive ability.  If, however, you’re just trollishly snarky, nevermind.

        • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

          “Where did I say you said such a thing?  I was making a statement about myself, not you.”

          True, but surely you can see the implication that I, on the other hand, would support laws banning it.

          At any rate, while I’ve steadily answered all your questions (whether you’re satisfied with those answers is a different matter), you’ve steadily refused to answer mine. I can see this discussion won’t go anywhere if only one side is going to bother responding to arguments, so unless you have something else to add that’s substantial to the discussion itself rather than making jabs at my apparent inability to think logically, I’m going to say “good day” to you. You think morality comes from God, I think it comes from culture and is different between cultures, and if we can’t reconcile that difference I don’t see this discussion going anywhere.

          • Nordog

            Previously you wrote that morals were base upon feelings.  Now you write that it comes from culture.

            Feelings and culture are two different things.

            • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

              Valid point, but they’re also not mutually exclusive things. Do you deny that your culture has any influence on your feelings?

              At any rate, as you continue to have nothing substantial to say re: eating animals, I’m going to go ahead and end this discussion. Good day.

              • Nordog

                Deliciousness is NOT lack substance.

              • Nordog

                Deliciousness in NOT a lack of substance.

                • http://www.stealingfirstbase.com Stealing First Base

                  Ah. So for all your faith in a higher power, at the end of the day it’s your base senses that inform your decisions.

                • NorDog

                  Your apparent total lack of any ability to recognize irony or sarcasm is astounding.

                  As astounding as it is, it is rivaled by your penchant for non sequitur.

    • Anonymous

      “My morality?  I’m a Roman Catholic”  What has that got to do with your morality?  It is like saying “My morality?  I’m a member of the gym.”  Being in a club or chapter of club Christian doesn’t say anything about your morality at all other than that you are willing to defer your own moral judgements to an authority figure.

      • Nordog

        hoverFrog,

        Do I agree with your post?  In a way yes, in a way no.

        Mentioning my faith was intended as shorthand for where I stand on certain issues.

        My faith is not is not a case of deferring my moral judgments to an authority figure.  No doubt many, perhaps even most, Catholics do just that.

        But for the record, I came to my moral judgements as an agnostic who was very close to being an atheist.

        In other words, the Catholic Church had zero influence on the conclusions I had made and which I still hold today.

        So, your are right to object that my being a Roman Catholic has anything to do with making the moral judgments I have made.

        But you would be wrong to think that the conclusions have nothing in common with Catholicism; they mirror them.

  • http://oddboyout.blogspot.com/ oddboyout

    When I first read that title I couldn’t help but think of a Torchwood
    (Doctor Who spinoff) episode in which the bad guys carve meat off a
    giant living alien creature that doesn’t stop growing. Unfortunately it
    was in pain and sentient, but what if you could harvest meat from living
    animals without inflicting pain?

    • NorDog

      “…but what if you could harvest meat from livinganimals without inflicting pain? ”

      There would be lots of recipes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Macker/518709704 Brian Macker

    I hate to tell vegetarians this but animals have to die to produce vegetables.

    Actually, no, I enjoyed that.

  • Charles Black

    I have made steps towards a vegetarian diet such as soy milk instead of cow’s milk along with more fruits & vegetables partly because of the live exports scandal down here in Australia.
    To those who may balk at a vegetarian diet I can assure you it’s not bland as it sometimes is sterotyped & helps the planet as well too as a bonus.

  • Amy

    I’m an omnivore, and presuming the appropriate tests for safety, environmentally friendliness, etc, were done, and it were affordable, I would definitely try this.  In an ideal world, even with some sacrifice to taste, I would prefer it.

    As a side note- I’ve considered becoming a vegetarian (ethical, enviromental and cost reasons) and have been given medical advice not to (I continually test as borderline anaemic and can’t take supplements).  As it stands I try to minimise my consumption of meat (I’m a vegetarian-before-dinner, I cut down my meat consumption to NHS recommendations- 70g/ ~2.5oz of red/ processed meat a day no more than 3 times a week and up to 100g/ ~3.5oz of white meat the other days, and I try to have a vegetarian day a week- rather than average British consumption), and I’m continually working to eat more iron-rich vegetarian or vegan foods (e.g. broccoli, spinach with lemon juice), but my iron levels are still very low.  I get a heck of a lot of flack from some vegetarians or vegans (side note: your diet, your choice, good for you- really, more power to you but otherwise I don’t care, apart from not accidentally serving you something you don’t want to eat) who don’t want to hear my side of the story and assume all sorts of horrible things about me (that I hate animals/ am unempathetic, that I’ve never given it any thought, that I don’t care about the environment, etc etc etc forever).  I know omnivores can be obnoxious too- I’ve seen it and when given the opportunity I tell them exactly where they can shove it (something I’ve not said to vegetarians or vegans, my wording in that regard is more like “I respect your choices, can’t you respect mine?”)- but fighting fire with fire makes the whole world burn.

  • Claire A V

    I just wanted to say, as a meat-eater, that I neither like the smell of bacon nor the smell of the deli counter… they’re pretty gross. If you ever do decide to eat meat on purpose, I would recommend a nicely seasoned baked chicken or something.

  • Adam Steele

    By Oden’s beard…… I love watching atheists fight.  They’re all so self righteous and “have science on their side.”  

    This is one of the reasons I said I would be the faculty adviser for the student group on my campus.  

  • Adam Steele

    Oh, and yes, I would eat lab grown meat, but I’m an omnivore to begin with, so I’m not the one being asked the question.  

  • Grumpy

    Even if it tasted great, I would still prefer meat from animals.
    I raise a lot of my own meat, and my animals appear to be happy.
    Better to have a good life, albeit shorter than possible, than to have no life at all.

  • http://twitter.com/AbsurdHero Nick Wright

    At this point I probably wouldn’t care. I really don’t have any cravings for real meat products, and the animal cruelty factor was never my only concern.  Even if labratory-grown meat got to the point where it was cheap and ubiquitous, it’s still probably not that good for you.

    I’ve been an atheist for 24 years and a vegetarian for 3. I arrived at the decision to cut out the meat after years of knowing it was probably the best thing for my health and the environment but lacking the willpower  to do it.  Eventually I began eating meat only once a week (Meatful Mondays, anyone?), and about a year later I cut that out too.

    The environmental effects of meat production are pretty clear cut and well documented. Requiring 8 pounds of grain to create one pound of meat just isn’t good math, and meat production has a more damaging effect on the climate than the entire transportation industry.

    Healthwise, let’s just start with the fact that factory farms are pretty disgusting (google Meet Your Meat). Aside from that, the consumption of animal protein has been linked to cancer, and the high percentage of meat in the Western diet is the most direct cause of heart disease, obesity and the concomitant type 2 Diabetes.


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