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Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006, 05:21 pm
Vegan Meat

It seems that vat grown meat may only be a few years away. Probably as likely to arrive soon as the Flying Car, but meh.

Anyways, from the Memorandum of Association of The Vegan Society:

"In this Memorandum the word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment."

It does qualify this immediately after with a "In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals". However, basing strictly off the philosophy that they define, does that mean that vat grown meat which is grown in a bioreactor from stem cells that were extracted years beforehand and then cultured to create many more chunks of tasty meats are vegan?

I dream of the day when a pack of sausages can have a "100% Pork, as approved by the vegan soceity" sticker on. And we'll all be driving around in flying cars.

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 05:37 pm (UTC)

I think that the argument is that it's not ok because of those first few cells, or something: they had to be taken without permission from an animal.

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)

That's the argument that I saw, hence my "cells extracted years beforehand" trying to minimise its effect. In the end that's what will, quite rightly, knock my utopian future of vegetarian meat on the head.

I reckon we should breed a type of super-intelligent pig that can understand the process of giving it's permission for the extraction of stem-cells, as well as having one prehensile hoof to be able to grab a pen (non-quill pen of course, writing with vegetarian ink) and sign it's name to a document authorising that use.

And the meat eaters could have bacon sandwiches after :)

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)

I reckon we should breed a type of super-intelligent pig

Douglas Adams called from beyond the grave: he'd like his idea back....

I do remember once, very drunkenly, having a conversation about this and deciding that even when Star-Trek-style matter reproducers were invented there would still ve implications for vegans, as there would have to be An Original Steak that was fed into it to give the base pattern.

Fri, Jun. 30th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)

I always thought of the animal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe as an intelligent cow who knew what it's bum tasted like, which is ENTIRELY different to a pig that can sign it's name and understand the implications of that action. So there. Ner.

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)

I expect it'll just cause yet more fragmentation in the fraction of humanity that adopts voluntary dietary restrictions, and proportionally increase the headaches of those of us who attempt to cater for members thereof. ;-)

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC)

I don't know about the Vegan Society, but I can imagine that the Vegetarian Society might endorse it. They recently had some controversy when they put their stamp of approval on McDonalds veggie burgers - some people were outraged that they would endorse an Evil Corporation (TM), but the committee's view (which I agree with) was that they just judged the individual item of food on its own merits, and that it's a good idea to rewarding McDonalds (or other similar companies) when they do something "right".

As elvum says, this will probably cause more fragmentation, along the lines of "Do vegetarians eat fish?", so I can imagine that there will be more specific labels created (the equivalent of "I'm a lacto-ovo vegetarian"). shuripentu is probably an early adopter there...

Regarding flick's comment (the initial "harm" done to an animal), I have mixed feelings. When I first went vegetarian, I had some leather boots which I continued to wear on the basis that the cow was already dead and nothing would be achieved by giving it a decent burial; since then I've bought various pairs of veggie boots to replace them (although the boots that come with my SJA uniform are leather). So, in that sense I'd say that if the original animal is already dead, it won't be harmed by the continued production of vat-meat, and it's ok to eat it. (This is similar to my views on animal testing, as discussed in one of your previous posts.) Also, if that animal can save several others (assuming that there are meat-eaters who would make a switch to vat-meat) then there's a "greater good" aspect to it. However, the initial animal (or small group of animals) hasn't been killed yet, so it gets a bit more blurry if I say "Yes, I want that cow to die so that I can eat a steak again". That probably puts me in the moral weasel category of saying "I condemn what you're doing, but I'll be waiting with a knife and fork for when you've finished" :)

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 09:51 pm (UTC)

Your and flick's comments lead to propose an alternative - delicious vat-grown human flesh! You can have the person who originally donates the cells sign a form saying that they wanted to and it's all fine. Then you can have legally vat-grown meat that's vegangood!

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 10:12 pm (UTC)

And as we all know, vat meat is less fatty and screened for all known common parasites that cause food poisoning.

Eat the vat-grown flesh of your forebears! Absorb their knowledge and power! Scientifically proven! There can be only one!

Thu, Jun. 29th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)

Please don't think that I actually agree with what I said!

I used to know a lot of veggies who held that it was acceptable to wear leather goods provided they came from India, on the basis that all cows in India died from natural causes. I have my doubts about the validity of that, but it's an interesting argument.

And I am utterly, totally pro-animal-testing.