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Thread: Synthetic milk, meat and animal welfare.

  1. #1 Synthetic milk, meat and animal welfare. 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Reference : New Scientist, 28 June, page 28

    The reference above is about attempts to design a form of analogue cow's milk that is made by GM yeast and in a factory. The designer claims this would be more ethical.

    Similar efforts are being made to create (from cell culture) a form of red meat to replace meat from killing domestic animals.

    Now, I will state my personal bias. I am from a country that depends on the milk and meat industries, and such developments will probably utterly destroy our entire economy. No small consideration!

    However, my query here is related to animal welfare. Who thinks that replacing animals as sources for milk and meat will help those animals? My own view is the opposite, especially for milk. If cows and other forms of cattle are not needed for milk and meat, they will rapidly become extinct. No farmer is going to maintain herds of animals at great cost, if they are not returning a profit. So they will be killed off.


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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Now, I will state my personal bias. I am from a country that depends on the milk and meat industries, and such developments will probably utterly destroy our entire economy. No small consideration!
    Here in Indy, we have a huge hog farm industry. Having been at odds with the hog farmers due to runoff and water pollution issues, I understand that they are constantly trying to find profits at the expense of both the animals and the environment. Aside from the large subsidized farms, these people are often struggling and feel like they are being pushed out of business (they aren't entirely wrong).

    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    However, my query here is related to animal welfare. Who thinks that replacing animals as sources for milk and meat will help those animals? My own view is the opposite, especially for milk. If cows and other forms of cattle are not needed for milk and meat, they will rapidly become extinct. No farmer is going to maintain herds of animals at great cost, if they are not returning a profit. So they will be killed off.
    I don't think that lab-grown meat will replace animal slaughter "rapidly". I don't think cows will go extinct 50 years after the first lab-grown burger goes on sale. From a public health perspective, we SHOULD consume less red meat and processed proteins. Cutting back our consumption would also hurt these industries, but I'm still for it. From an environmental health perspective, I feel much the same.

    It's much like the coal industry here in Indy, which is constantly under attack. Will it mean job loss? Will it mean potentially more expensive energy costs? Will it mean unwieldy infrastructure change? Yes to all. I still think the ends justify the means. There are plenty of practices which have fallen out of use as we progress. I see no reason this should be any different. As it currently stands, I don't think these artificial food sources are a particular threat to current industry, but I would like to see some evidence challenging the notion.


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    not ADM!N grmpysmrf's Avatar
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    I'm all for lab grown meat... Let me clarify. I'm all for anything tasty.
    If they're engineering meat they can obviously make healthy red meat. Instead "99% lean" we could have "100% no fat"
    Maybe engineer a meat with the less or no cholesterol... as far as putting people out of business, I would think not as many as one would think. Most of that work is completed by machines.
    Cows no longer exist in the wild so we'd have to Zoo them in order to keep them from going extinct.
    I'm for it. I have no problems with frankenfood
    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
    President Dwight Eisenhower
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grmpysmrf View Post
    Instead "99% lean" we could have "100% no fat"
    Seeing as my choice cut is the ribeye, I can't imagine a world without a well marbled steak. That having been said, I'd still take meat grown from cells rather than harvested from animal slaughter purely to reduce the size of the industry and its impacts.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Actually, 100% no fat would not be a good choice. Saturated fats are bad for us in excess, but they are good for us in small amounts.
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Actually, 100% no fat would not be a good choice. Saturated fats are bad for us in excess, but they are good for us in small amounts.
    Not to mention, moderation is effective enough a tactic that we don't need to engineer out ALL the things that can harm us in large amounts. Here in America, the problem isn't that we're eating things which aren't healthy, it's that we're eating WAY too much of them.
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    not ADM!N grmpysmrf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Actually, 100% no fat would not be a good choice. Saturated fats are bad for us in excess, but they are good for us in small amounts.
    Based on all the fat in other stuff we eat I doubt nixing it completely from beef probably wouldn't be too bad an idea. but I understand your point.
    "Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."
    President Dwight Eisenhower
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