Cultured Meat Confusion: The Answer Is Veganism And Always Has Been
The cultured meat movement – or the “clean meat movement” as they like to call it – seems to be muddying the already troubled waters surrounding our societal perception of animals. It strikes me as rather sad that we’re willing to spend £222,000 on growing a cultured meat ‘Frankenburger’ and a “meal-sized piece of meat” worth £15,000 instead of educating people as to why we shouldn’t be considering animals as sources of food in the first place. If those resources were instead sunk into educating people about veganism, we would not only substantially reduce demand for animal products right now, we would quite literally move the conversation away from animals as things to animals as moral persons in a very short period of time. You know, instead of perpetuating the idea that animals are of lesser moral value than humans and that it’s still okay for us to continue using them in some way.
Even if we ignore the immorality of assuming animals to be sources of food for a moment, the idea that cultured meat represents a practical solution to either animal exploitation or the environment is so beyond pie-in-the-sky that the pie is now reaching perihelion around a distant star. The current costs of producing such stitched-up abominations are so high that it’ll take decades before even the most privileged of the bourgeoisie start putting these manifestations of violence on their weekly shopping lists.
The Telegraph seems to think that Memphis Meats – the leader in cultured animal death – is “creating a product which even vegetarians could eat.” Vegetarians? Sure – vegetarianism is not a morally consistent position in any case. But for people who consider animals to possess moral value – ethical vegans – consuming these products is no more acceptable than purchasing furniture for your home made from cultured human skins. In both cases, they assume that the sentient beings in question are the sorts of beings suitable to be used as resources; it makes a value judgement against them maintaining that these beings – regardless of whether or not their products are cultured – can be used exclusively as resources. If we think it’s okay to culture them, we will always remain open to the idea that we can use non-cultured versions of these products. That’s the crux of why promoting cultured meat is so morally problematic, it essentially does nothing but take the public down a diversion that will ultimately still lead to the same place – the belief that animals are things for human use.
Becoming vegan and educating others about veganism is not only the solution to animal exploitation by means of reducing demand, it ensures that we’ll never go down this road again where we think it’s acceptable to use animals as replaceable resources.