I swear to God I’m not making this up:
PETA is now stepping in and offering a $1 million reward to the first scientist to produce and bring to market in vitro meat.
Oh, yes, this is real. No, it’s not a late April fool’s joke. The idea, as explained on the PETA site, is this:
Why is PETA supporting this new technology? More than 40 billion chickens, fish, pigs, and cows are killed every year for food in the United States in horrific ways. Chickens are drugged to grow so large they often become crippled, mother pigs are confined to metal cages so small they can’t move, and fish are hacked apart while still conscious—all to feed America’s meat addiction. In vitro meat would spare animals from this suffering. In addition, in vitro meat would dramatically reduce the devastating effects the meat industry has on the environment.
Now, call me just darned silly, but many people who belong to PETA are vegetarians, or even vegans, correct? They “don’t eat anything that has or had a face.” I think that’s a fair assessment, seeing as I’m a former PETA member and vegetarian myself, and that’s how the bill of goods was sold to me years ago. I was a vegetarian for 3 years, as I’ve written here before.
So now we’re skipping the part where the animal has a face, and just growing the tissue, and that’s suddenly OK somehow? I wonder: those who approve of this, because it “spares animals their suffering” (which I’m really all for, you know): why not clone the meat from humans as well? Just don’t let it get a face, do the same thing you’re doing here, and voila! Acceptable cannibalism.
Reactions from the divided PETA camp, via the Slate article:
Purists see it as a moral surrender. “It’s our job to introduce the philosophy and hammer it home that animals are not ours to eat,” a dissident PETA official tells the Times. Purists also point out that carnivores suffer more obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Getting your meat from stem cells might not change that.
Pragmatists point to all the issues lab meat would resolve. No more cages. No more body-inflating drugs. No more slaughter. Less environmental harm. “We don’t mind taking uncomfortable positions if it means that fewer animals suffer,” Newkirk concludes.
Methinks the PETA folks need some more protein in their diets: they’re really making some crackpot decisions these days.