Why the future of animal welfare may depend on frankenfoods

I’ve recently re-read Ray Kurzweil “The Singularity is Near”, which is nothing else, really enlivens your passion in AI. One of the many interesting points made in the book was the idea that we will eventually be able to grow new body parts in a lab.

This has one great advantage for animal welfare – the idea that we could grow lumps of meat in a lab.

This would essentially end the need for vegetarianism.

For vegetarians like myself, who really, really love meat, this really would be a utopian future. Vegetarianism is based on the idea that it is wrong to kill conscious animals for food (some so called vegetarians say it is because of the taste, but these people aren’t real vegetarians), and this would entirely get round that.

We could eat our lab grown meat, without having the ethical implications that you where causing the death of an animal by doing so.

Of course, people would object that they didn’t want to eat meat grown in a test tube. But then, the fact that people can stomach meat now is mainly thanks to the lack of thought put into the factory farming and slaughter methods already in use.

Other advantages of doing this include:

* It will, at least after the initial development, be much more cost effective that having to rear an entire animal for an extended period of time and use less resources to satisfy our meat needs. Meat is incredibly inefficient, the amount of vegetarian food it takes to feed one animal to produce some meat is huge.

* Given the reduced cost and increased efficiently, there would be more food available for the third world, both vegetarian and meat.

* While we’re doing this, it’s a lot easier to generically engineer (or even using traditional refinement methods) to make the meat higher quality.



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This entry was posted on Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 at 12:45 pm and is filed under Tech, Thoughts. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.