Author Topic: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?  (Read 21131 times)

negra orquida

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Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« on: May 29, 2012, 04:33:19 PM »
Just came across this interesting article (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17113214) (and pasted below) published in February this year. Scientists are currently working towards "growing" meat using stem cells from animals, which could mean that in the future, slabs of meat can be produced without having to slaughter animals.

As a vegetarian, I personally feel that something is still not quite "right" with this idea and wouldn't eat such meat, even though no killing of animals is involved (or so they claim). 

This statement by Professor Savulescu did make me think:

"People who are vegetarian for moral reasons - the environment, the treatment of animals - have a moral obligation to eat this meat. They need to do this because it will contribute to an ethical alternative to conventional meat.  Moral vegetarians need to promote, use and consume this test tube meat. Then it will become cheaper."

I can't say I agree with this statement.  How could vegetarians eating synthetic meat influence conventional meat eaters to switch to test-tube meat, if vegetarians can't convince meat eaters to stop eating meat on the basis of non-violence to animals/saving the environment/health... the purpose for producing such meat is based on the same causes!

What do you think?

Article:

The world could get its first lab-grown burger this year, with scientists using stem cells to create strips of beef. But could vegetarians eat it?

Scientists in the Netherlands hoping to create a more efficient alternative to rearing animals have grown small pieces of beef muscle in a laboratory.

These strips will be mixed with blood and artificially grown fat to produce a hamburger by the autumn.

The stem cells in this particular experiment were harvested from by-products of slaughtered animals but in the future, scientists say, they could be taken from a live animal through biopsy.

One usually assumes the main motivation for vegetarianism - aside from those who practise for religious reasons - is about the welfare of animals. The typical vegetarian forswears meat because animals are killed to get it.

So if the meat does not come from dead animals would there be an ethical problem in eating it if it one day lands on supermarket shelves?

It's not as simple an equation as that, says Prof Andrew Linzey, director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He says the burger as currently envisaged isn't an acceptable substitute for vegetarians, but is still a step forward.

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People who are vegetarian for moral reasons - the environment, the treatment of animals - have a moral obligation to eat this meat”

Prof Julian Savulescu
Director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Ethics
Synthetic meat grown in Dutch lab
"Synthetic meat could be a great moral advance. It won't be suitable for vegetarians because it still originates in meat by-products, but bearing in mind that millions of animals are slaughtered for food every day, it is a step forward to a less violent world."

According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian does not eat "any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or the by-products of slaughter".

The lab-grown meat created so far has been grown from stem cells taken from foetal calf serum. This is usually a by-product of slaughter, although stem cells could be harvested in smaller volumes without killing animals.

Prof Julian Savulescu, the director of the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Ethics, says it doesn't matter how the product is made and "the fact that the meat is made from animal by-products is morally irrelevant".

"People who are vegetarian for moral reasons - the environment, the treatment of animals - have a moral obligation to eat this meat.

"They need to do this because it will contribute to an ethical alternative to conventional meat."

For many vegetarians though, the issue is a complicated one.

"Some are waiting with bated breath, keen to experience the taste and texture of meat without actually harming an animal, while others find the whole idea utterly repulsive," says Su Taylor from the Vegetarian Society.


Beef stem cells are being grown to make the first laboratory burger
The UK Food Standards Agency's Public Attitudes to Food survey of 3,219 adults in 2009 found 3% of respondents were "completely vegetarian" and an additional 5% "partly vegetarian (don't eat some types of fish or meat)".

Just because the meat has been grown artificially doesn't mean it is vegetarian, says Vegetarians International Voices for Animals (Viva). But Viva insists vegetarianism and veganism aren't religions so individuals should make up their own minds.

"Certainly, with over 950 million land animals slaughtered in the UK each year," says Viva spokesman and campaign manager Justin Kerswell, "and the vast majority of them factory farmed in awful conditions, anything that saves animals from suffering is to be welcomed."

There's already been discussion about whether meat eaters could be persuaded to eat the artificial meat, but at the moment the price tag is likely to be prohibitive. The first lab-grown burger is likely to cost in the region of £200,000 to produce.

Savulescu says most people won't give up meat, but if there was a palatable alternative, conventional meat eaters might move to it.

"Moral vegetarians need to promote, use and consume this test tube meat," Savulescu said. "Then it will become cheaper."

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or the by-products of slaughter”

Vegetarian Society definition
The research on artificial meat has been prompted by concerns that current methods of meat production are unsustainable in the long term.

But to Kerswell, the research seems unnecessary, particularly as many vegetarians believe a diet excluding meat is more healthy.

"Why grow it in a Petri dish or eat the meat from a slaughtered animal when plant sources of protein and meat replacements are ever more commonly available and are better for our health?"

Of course, there are plenty of nutritionists who speak of the value of eating some meat. Dr Elizabeth Weichselbaum, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, says meat is an important source of a number of nutrients in our diet, including high quality protein, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin D and some B vitamins.

"It can make an important contribution to a healthy and balanced diet. Meat and other protein sources, including eggs, beans and nuts, should be eaten in moderate amounts."

So could vegetarian chefs be persuaded? Denis Cotter, who runs a vegetarian restaurant in Cork, Ireland, says "after an instinctive shudder of revulsion" he can see the benefits of the burger, but it won't be making its way on to any of his menus.

"Personally, I don't like synthetic food, and avoid all that soy-based fake meat stuff aimed at vegetarians. So, no, I wouldn't be interested in using it, either as a restaurant product or on my plate at home. But I would back it as a better way to produce meat than burning down rainforests and gobbling up useful farmland."

Q

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 05:49:27 PM »
"The stem cells in this particular experiment were harvested from by-products of slaughtered animals but in the future, scientists say, they could be taken from a live animal through biopsy."

The fact that just getting the stem cell to produce these test tube meat is already inflicting harm to the animal. In case there are some people other there that find this 'okay' as the animal is not being killed... let me remind you about the Bear bile industry and also the milk industry... see how those animals are treated you'll know how these 'stem cell life animals' will be treated as well.

Bottom line is... no, I wont eat a test tube burger and I do not agree with Professor Savulescu's statement.. he obviously is not vegetarian because most of the time, many people are disgusted by the texture of the meat after switching to a vegetarian diet.

brian

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 04:40:35 PM »
"The stem cells in this particular experiment were harvested from by-products of slaughtered animals but in the future, scientists say, they could be taken from a live animal through biopsy."

The fact that just getting the stem cell to produce these test tube meat is already inflicting harm to the animal. In case there are some people other there that find this 'okay' as the animal is not being killed... let me remind you about the Bear bile industry and also the milk industry... see how those animals are treated you'll know how these 'stem cell life animals' will be treated as well.

Bottom line is... no, I wont eat a test tube burger and I do not agree with Professor Savulescu's statement.. he obviously is not vegetarian because most of the time, many people are disgusted by the texture of the meat after switching to a vegetarian diet.


I agree with Q, i wont take test tube burgers too as it is still bringing harm to the animal. moreover the attachment for meat is still in the mind if one to take the so called test tube burgers meaning we still will want to take meat and i feel the intention of taking real meat will still be there and the 'desire' to taste meat will compound daily and eventually one will like to taste real meat again. again this is just based on my assumption that this test tube burgers although will bring alternative ways of not killing the animal but still there will still be actions on harming the animal in terms of caging and giving the animals more vitamin boosters to make the ingredients in the animal's essence to be more tasty and you will not want to imagine all the torture for the animal to go through all the tests and experiments.

WisdomBeing

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 07:57:48 PM »
Good lord, why not just stick to vegetables. It’s so much easier, it’s non-synthetic, and of course it is healthier. You don’t have to worry about any possible side-effects of eating cultured meat! And with quorn and stuff like that, a good imagination and a willingness to experiment, vegetarian food tastes pretty damn good.

You know that eating meat is not really so attractive. Try boiling a steak or grilling one without adding salt or pepper. It’s pretty much like eating an old sock. We are seduced by seasoning! That’s all! It’s really all delusional.
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

AnneQ

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 05:09:56 PM »

So could vegetarian chefs be persuaded? Denis Cotter, who runs a vegetarian restaurant in Cork, Ireland, says "after an instinctive shudder of revulsion" he can see the benefits of the burger, but it won't be making its way on to any of his menus.

"Personally, I don't like synthetic food, and avoid all that soy-based fake meat stuff aimed at vegetarians. So, no, I wouldn't be interested in using it, either as a restaurant product or on my plate at home. But I would back it as a better way to produce meat than burning down rainforests and gobbling up useful farmland."[/i]

This last statement pretty sums up how I feel about it. At the end of the day, the meat is not real and certainly not an alternative source for me. As with cloned animals and eventually cloned humans (?), I am totally against it. However the reality is, people still want to eat meat in this world and if this cloned meat contributes to reducing the slaughter of more animals then I would support it as an alternative source for meat eaters.

ilikeshugden

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2012, 01:57:27 AM »
The concept of vegetarianism is so that animals will not suffer. Well, that is what I believe. This "test-tube" meat seems good. I would eat it. However, no animal must be harmed in the process of producing this form of meat. If animals are harmed, then it will never be eaten by me. After being vegetarian for 2 years, I have lost most of my attachments towards meat. Now, seeing meat makes me feel sick because I would be seeing a corpse and restaurants are like mortuaries. Sickening! Also, at the current price of this "test tube" meat, which is 200,000 pounds, I do not think that people would buy it, even if it goes cheaper. Buying mock meat is fine by me, I eat mock meat because I still have my attachments but I know I am not a murderer anymore. I would still buy mock meat and not this "test tube" rubbish.

Tammy

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2012, 02:45:35 AM »
I totally agree with Wisdombeings! Just stick to vegetarianism and stop eating meat.

Firstly for health reason, eating meat leads to long list of health problems

Secondly habituation, one we start to eat meat (even though from test-tubes/chemically manufactured) we go back to the habit of meat-eating and soon tube-tube or farm-fed, we will resume the bad habit of killing for food

Thirdly man-made/manufactured food stuff are not natural, they might even be worse than those genetically-altered plants that would bring harm to our body in the long run.

Just stop eating meat and stick to healthy wholesome grains and greens - make it simple! We eat to live, not live to eat.
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DSFriend

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 05:27:53 AM »
Instead of investing so much in high tech R&D, market research, experiments, so much resources are spent, so much talented brain powers are used up which i find to be a total waste. It sounds to me that it's yet another toy project for scientists, for some investors, for someone to be a pioneer in something new.

Yes i know I sound sinicle and i make no apologies for it.

I see it's so much more beneficial if all these resources are being used to promote vegetarianism, non-killing, fight against animal cruelty, and hey afterall, there is enough to proof that humans are not meant to eat meat!

Jessie Fong

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 05:53:13 AM »
To harvest stem cells to produce meat, scientists need to draw from a meat-source.  That entails pain, in whatever degree it may be.  Thus there is still the element of causing pain to the donor.

Why not just go for mock meat if you still have an inkling for meat?  The taste and texture are artificial when you compare to the real meat.  I believe going for mock meat is just satisfying your craving for food with "meat" labels.

I would not want to eat a "test-tube" burger.  No need to.  Just toss a salad and have some bread.

RedLantern

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2012, 07:46:57 AM »
Synthetic  meat could be a great moral advance.It won't be suitable for vegetarian because it still originates in meat by products.The burger as currently envisaged isn't suitable for vegetarians .A diet excluding meat is more healthy.The main motivation for vegetarians-aside from those practise for religious reasons-is about the welfare for animals,as the typical vegetarian forswears meat  because animals are killed to get it.
Is this artificial meat a better solution than simply making smarter choices by opting for tofu or other vegetable based products?

pgdharma

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2012, 08:25:11 AM »
No, I don't want to eat "test tube" meat. The reasons are:
 
1) Test tube meat are manufactured with artificial grown fat and its not natural. Anything not natural is not healthy.

2)  I think there will be some pain inflicted onto the animals as the stem cells are taken from live animal through biopsy and  from foetal calf serum.

3) I think it is ridiculous to spend such a huge amount of money, time and effort on the research. As a vegetarian for sometime, I have no craving for meat whether it is real meat or manufactured meat.
I feel it is best to stick to being a vegetarian and to spend that huge amount of money on promoting vegetarianism instead of finding an alternative to produce meat.

brian

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2012, 08:38:28 AM »
Instead of investing so much in high tech R&D, market research, experiments, so much resources are spent, so much talented brain powers are used up which i find to be a total waste. It sounds to me that it's yet another toy project for scientists, for some investors, for someone to be a pioneer in something new.

Yes i know I sound sinicle and i make no apologies for it.

I see it's so much more beneficial if all these resources are being used to promote vegetarianism, non-killing, fight against animal cruelty, and hey afterall, there is enough to proof that humans are not meant to eat meat!

Yeah i agree, why not just stick to vege and try develop something from there towards a healthier lifestyle? instead of making rounds and rounds of tests and experiments on how to enhance our attachment towards meat while being a vegetarian, why not focus on something on veges and try break through to another new level of bettering the organic level that doesn't harm the animals and environment?

And we do not need to specify more on the benefits of being a vegetarian, one gain better health because of healthy eating rather than eating meat, we get all sorts of complications because of the chemicals being put into the animals and we do not want another dose of the contaminated animals essence into our body. We have got enough toxics in our body already. Thank you very much!

Manjushri

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2012, 10:51:02 AM »
I wonder if there would be any health implications in future if one consumes too much of this? I think growing meat out of a test tube is quite gross. A Vegetarian shuns meat in any form, why produce meat for a vegetarian who'd rather eat vegetables? I don't get it. Anyways, I dont think there would be a market for this with Vegetarians - all the testing I'm sure would have used up alot of resources. Dont think it is financially viable.

Eventually, using biopsy to extract the stem cell from the cows would cause them pain and hurt anyways so what's the difference?! I can already forsee that if ever this business becomes a cash-cow, people will exploit and the welfare of the animal will not be taken care of anyways.. so it all goes back to square one.

Midakpa

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2012, 11:08:32 AM »
Test-tube meat is still meat. I don't think vegetarians will be attracted to it. But there is one advantage in producing test-tube meat. It will reduce the number of animals slaughtered for meat. The demand for meat by meat-eaters will be met with less costs. In a way this is kinder as it does not involve killing of animals for food.

rossoneri

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Re: Could vegetarians eat a "test-tube" burger?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2012, 12:54:54 PM »
Don't think its going to be as delicious as the real thing. But is it going to cause any heath issue? As of now, its bad enough to have so many various sicknesses while we are consuming the 'natural' apparently. Will test tube meat manifest new kind of health related issue for us...no one knows, but with the artificial fats? Really got me thinking. Why do we spending so much time and money to develop something which is (i felt) superfluous. A vegetarian will not going to change his/ her diet simply because there's no killing involved. A meat is still a meat, i personally do not think it is going to have any impact on a vegetarian.

Another thing, let's imaging test-tube meat is well receive in the market, will the real meat eventually became a delicacy and only for the rich? With less demand for the real thing without doubt will leave an impact to animal farming industry. So are you willing to pay for a real burger with a caviar price?