A newspaper article that was sent to me last week declared, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its first ever lab-grown meat product as safe for human consumption… The product is a ‘slaughter-free’ chicken, grown from cultured cells, which could be rolled out to the public in a matter of months.” If this development is commercialized successfully, and if the proper conditions for producing safe and healthy meat are maintained, and there is a big “if” around that last condition, then I am all for it.
Today most people live in cities. They rarely see the connection between the food they buy in the supermarket and where it comes from. If the vegetables they eat are grown without soil, or if the meat they buy comes from a factory rather than from an animal that was slaughtered in order to produce it, I do not think they care. In fact, many people would be glad to hear that the chicken meat they bought did not come from a real chicken, and no poultry was slaughtered to make their dinner.
Additionally, considering the cost of raising cattle and poultry, lab-grown meat and chicken will probably be cheaper to make and cheaper to buy. For many people, healthy food is a luxury, so perhaps this will make it slightly more affordable.
Also, there is a clear environmental benefit to producing cultured, lab-grown meat compared to meat that comes from animals. Animals need grazing areas, which not only deplete vegetation, but also destroy natural habitat for wildlife.
In the more remote future, I think naturally grown food will disappear altogether. It might be that people will buy boxes that contain food that cannot be recognized as anything we know today, that will be neither vegetables nor meat, but something else entirely. I have no problem with it, especially since I myself am not a big fan of meat. I am not a vegetarian, but I am also not fascinated with meat. As long as humanity manufactures adequate food, I have no problem with producing it in a lab or a factory, and I do not think we should give it a second thought.
What I do think we should think about is our attitude toward the things around us. We need to learn to treat everything with decency and kindness, and understand that we are dependent on each other on all levels, from the mineral to the plant, to the animal, and to the human level. If we understand how vital we all are for the perfection of our planet, how we complement each other, and how our well-being depends on the well-being of all of Earth’s inhabitants, we will conduct ourselves correctly and there will be plenty of food for everyone.
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