Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Taste

A question:
Would you eat meat that was grown in a lab?
Hmm, meat that hadn't been attached to a live animal which was walking around in its own shit and periodically shocked or burned or otherwise beaten and confined in a small space to suffer...

How could that possibly be tasty meat?

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18 comments:

Smut Clyde said...

Further out, if we have interplanetary exploration, people will need to produce food in space and you can’t take a cow with you.

Astronauts could not survive on a vegetarian diet. That would be wussy.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

How could that possibly be tasty meat?

Didn't Franklin say that cruelty is the greatest sauce, or was that Ricardo Montalban in Wrath of Khan?

Smut Clyde said...

The greatest sauce is actually Kaitaia Fire. Contains Kiwifruit and Habaneros.

tigris said...

"There’s a yuck factor when people find out meat is grown in a lab. They don’t like to associate technology with food"

I read that and laughed and laughed. And laughed.

mikey said...

Well, they make soybeans into breakfast sausage and people (not Smut, but other people) eat them. What's the difference if your not-meat was never an animal or if it was never meat at all?

Hell, if Morningstar Farms can make a living then Morningstar Labs should have no problems at all...

Substance McGravitas said...

They don’t like to associate technology with food

They've obviously never had my Large Hadron Casserole.

Substance McGravitas said...

Of course Large Hadron Colada is the better joke. Let's Google it.

Brendan said...

Too bad it's not bubbly. Then we could make fizzics jokes.

Brendan said...

More seriously, I would totally eat meat grown like this. Test Tube Steaks!

In fact, I was thinking about this just the other day. I read a story about this project or a similar one years ago, and I have ever since thought it would wonderful to be able to enjoy a nice hunk of meat without having to feel guilty about some sentient creature having had to suffer its whole life just because I am too lazy to go hunting.

Substance McGravitas said...

More seriously, I would totally eat meat grown like this.

Me too. I mean, I have a longstanding dedication to Hostess™ products and I'm gonna blanch at LabMeat™?

M. Bouffant said...

Always hungry
I'm in heat
Never never
Never enough meat

Smut Clyde said...

I know you people are focussing on the part of the story where the researchers feel icky about eating animal protein unless it was previously part of a sentient creature, and reckon that everyone else feels the same way, and claim that the ickyness is the reason why they have trouble getting funding. Fair enough.

Still, I am more amused by the idea that astronauts on a journey to Mars will want fresh meat, and that the easiest way to provide it is an entire laboratory for extracting amino acids and sugars from greenhouse plants, and feeding them through a buffered oxygenated detoxified vascular system to tissue-cultured cancer cells.

Let's face it, if they want meat, all you need is plants and a cage full of cockroaches.

Cows and sheep might not be a very efficient way of turning plant matter into animal protein... but they're the best that umpteen million years of natural selection (plus 6000 years, say, of human selection) can do.* If there was a more efficient way of doing it, I suspect that evolution would have found it.**

I suspect that Dr Mironov and his research fellow from PETA are quite aware of this, and they know that they can't get any research funding because it's a FECKIN' WASTE OF MONEY. But they can't say that to the interviewer. So they make up the story of "disruptive technology" and visceral revulsion.

* When I say "cows and sheep", I mean the entire ecosystems of "cows plus sheep plus their intestinal fauna of protists and the protists' own symbiotic bacteria".

** Actually some intestinal fungi would be nice, to let the cows digest the lignin and suchlike plant biopolymers that are currently going to waste because their symbiotes don't have the right enzymes to break them down, but that's a job for GE.

Substance McGravitas said...

Well, what if your lab is about the same size and shape as a cow? And sort of does the same things? Answer me THAT.

Smut Clyde said...

I remember a science-fiction story from the 80s: scientists on a moon base set out on a milk-&-beef synthesising project, as an exercise in stealing spare lab equipment as much as anything. You probably remember it too. Perhaps you even remember the title.

Another Kiwi said...

That was "When we stole the lab stuff" by Harold Allinson, I think.

Seriously, we have to buy stuff that we know has been looked after. It will be expensive and might lead to more vegetable eating. I wouldn't actually have anything against lab meat but I'd rather have meat from a happy pig. Less meat and more expensive.

Brando said...

I don't know why we would sit around and wait for nature to produce a sprig of broccoli that tastes like a ribeye when we could already make that happen in a lab. According to The Jetsons, we should have already had that breakthrough years ago, along with the three-hour work day.

Smut Clyde said...

I'd rather have meat from a happy pig.

The Prozac taints the meat.

Smut Clyde said...

what if your lab is about the same size and shape as a cow?

Let me show you my CHICKEN.