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Nullo's avatar

Would you vegans-of-principle be alright eating vat-grown meat?

Asked by Nullo (21833 points ) May 31st, 2011

It is what it sounds like: meat grown in a vat, never attached to bone and never a part of this complete animal. I think that they can do this now with fish, and I know that they’re still aiming for the whole range of types.

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28 Answers

Judi's avatar

As a meat eater, I would be afraid of that!!!

Plucky's avatar

Although I’m not vegan ..that would disturb me. I’d certainly be wondering what other chemicals went into the meat during this vat process.

An interesting question though. I’ll be following it for sure.

lifeflame's avatar

No. I think my body has adapted – physically and emotionally – to not eating meat. Like Judi, the thought scares me.

saraaaaaa's avatar

It seems like an unnecessary step to me, the same as China are trying to genetically engineer cows to produce human milk and they are succeeding, I understand that these things are meant to be helping people but mankind has survived now for millions of years without it and will continue to do so.

quarkquarkquark's avatar

I don’t think it’s unnecessary. We are built to consume meat—occasionally. It’s all well and good—and sure, deeply, highly moral—to completely cut animal products out of your diet, but the fact is that it’s easier to get the nutrients you need if you eat eggs and milk and have some poultry and fish and steak occasionally. I for one would welcome vat-grown meat, and I would sleep better at night, too.

syz's avatar

Ehh,my gut reaction (no pun intended) says “no”. I try to avoid highly processed foods as well as highly contaminated foods (growth hormones, antibiotics, etc), and this seems like the very definition of artificial and highly processed. And just gross, somehow.

Stinley's avatar

Not a vegan although I used to be vegetarian. So on principle, if it is not harmed an animal people can’t reject it for that reason but I am expecting a lot of other reasons to avoid to arise, apart from the yuck factor.

WasCy's avatar

@saraaaaaa we evolved for the same millions of years without electricity, too. Personally, I don’t want to give that up.

GQ, @Nullo.

nikipedia's avatar

I’d be fine with it.

robmandu's avatar

Considering the processing we do to popular meat-based foods today, I can’t think a typical omnivorous person would really care about vat-grown meats… as long as it’s deep fried into a golden delicious nugget.

If a person lives a vegan lifestyle based solely on conscientious objection to how animals are treated, then the vat-grown stuff might be worth consideration… except that the vat-grown meat had to originally come from an animal somewhere. And I imagine there’d need to be some way to continue to replenish the source stock for consistency purposes, too.

crisw's avatar

Sure.

gorillapaws's avatar

GQ @Nullo! I personally have any objections to eating meat (although I think the industry could be more humane). I think this technology has great potential. I’d love to eat a wooly mammoth burger one day, or a saber-tooth tiger steak.

WasCy's avatar

Mmmm… vat-grown bacon!

Haleth's avatar

Occasionally I eat meat. If we’re headed towards a future where animal products won’t be available anymore, I’d rather just go vegan. There are so many delicious plant-based proteins, like beans, nuts, and grains. That seems a lot more wholesome than eating artificial meat.

cockswain's avatar

I have a lot more questions about it before I’d eat it, but in principle I’d have no problem. I think it would circumvent a lot of the animal cruelty issues to grow non-sentient meat. Imagine how gross a hamburger bush, or chicken breast tree would look though. cool

KatawaGrey's avatar

I’m a vegetarian, and that just skeeves me out. I wouldn’t eat it partially because of that but also because I am lazy and while I know not every non-meat eater doesn’t experience intense pain if they consume meat, I do and I don’t much feel like slowly integrating meat back into my diet.

I’m a vegetarian now as much out of habit as anything else. I see no reason to break that habit.

ddude1116's avatar

That deals with an entirely new set of issues. Quite frankly, that’s just disgusting. It’s like a spam farm..

nikipedia's avatar

@ddude1116, I think eating the flesh of tortured animals is disgusting, but suit yourself.

christine215's avatar

my husband works for a major pharmaceutical company in genetic toxicology. They grow cell lines of “mouse cancer” on a regular basis for use in testing toxicity of by-products of medications with potential to go into clinical trials. the cells that he uses come from a ‘cell line’ which was created over 30 years ago (and I may be mistaken but it’s a widely used cell line which is considered standardized) so the idea of ‘growing meat’ isn’t really a new one… that being said, it still grosses me out to think of meat coming from a petri dish! The other thought is the ‘food’ or medium used to nourish the cells… I would imagine that would play a factor in the taste and texture of the “meat”
Another factor that would scare the bajezus out of me is the various ways the cells could mutate so easily in that type of environment. You can lose a good ‘cell line’ if it’s not properly tended to, because agressively growing cells will takeover the slower growing cells and who knows what the agressive cells will bring to the table. there’s no immune system attached to get rid of the ‘bad’ cells which will multiply at a higher rate than ‘good’ cells do, so what’s the end product going to be? Something kind of like a tumor but not exactly “cancer”... no thank you!

cockswain's avatar

I think you could probably use stem cells to accomplish this. Trigger the cells to differentiate into only certain muscle cells, like breast tissue. Voila.

christine215's avatar

cancer cells are created from a mutation of normal cell(s). stem cells won’t stop a mutated cell from turning into a cancerous cell. by definition a cancer is the uncontrolled growing or dividing of cells.

cockswain's avatar

Yes, that is true. But I don’t understand why you are concerned about cancer in the situation of growing tissues or organs.

christine215's avatar

I’m wondering (out loud) about the potential for some really hazardous possibilities for this so called “meat” that they’re considering for human consumption. In essence, they’re growing cells, no? It is scientifically similar to what my husband does for testing by-products of compounds. I’ve heard from him in discussions how you can ruin cell lines very easily by over “feeding” them, or not colonizing them properly. if you’re talking about ‘growng cells’ for human consumption, then I think that the parallel needs to be looked at closely and considered.

Big-Ag has genetically mutated corn so that it’s resistant to heavy duty herbicides… They say that the corn is perfectly safe for human consumption… in another 20–30 years, that little study that Monsanto said was inconclusive will probably turn out to be 100% correct and the people who have been consuming this gmo corn in every manner possible will be suffering the long term health benefits
I am looking at this ‘meat grown in a vat’ concept from the same angle I am looking at GMO corn and figuring, from a sicence point of view, that there will probably be somethign in 20–30 years after the FDA says its safe that will cause long tern health problems and then they’ll recall it or sweep it under the rug the way they are with GMO corn and soy right now,
I’m not telling you that YOU shouldn’t eat it, I’m just giving you the reasons that I will NEVER eat it

cockswain's avatar

I think we’re mixing two separate issues now. I completely agree that Monsanto’s practices are horrendous, and I do not blindly trust the FDA nor USDA as wholesome, uncorrupt agencies. But the nutritional value of growing cells via bioengineering methods, while fertile ground for corruption, is a different topic (for me at least, still relevant to the question @Nullo asked though). When you grow a plant or an animal, you are growing cells. If you grow protein cells via a different method, and all analytical methods suggest you have identical product to a naturally grown one, you have the same thing. What else is a chicken breast besides a bunch of tissue cells?

But this is why I said in my first response that I’d have a lot of questions before I’d eat it. If someone advertises “Chicken Parts Grown From Stem Cells! USDA Approved!”, I’m not going to run out and buy it. Then again, I rarely eat fast food for the same reasons.

You are reasonable to wonder about possible hazards. Perhaps your husband would care to contribute to this site. It’s always nice to have another scientific mind on here, particularly in biotech. I’ve worked in biotech nearly 11 years now.

ddude1116's avatar

@nikipedia Oh, I’m not disputing that. Meat’s just a lose/lose situation.

Judi's avatar

I have to stop following this question because the thought grosses me out every time it comes up in my feed.

Nullo's avatar

@Judi Hehe. “Feed.”

SundayKittens's avatar

Siiiiiiiccckkkkkkkkk.

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