Smoph recently posted a Facebook article about schmeat – laboratory grown meat from cells harvested from animals.
The article mentions that PETA ( always one of my favourite activist groups) quite like the idea, because no animals are slaughtered to make it. Other environmentalist groups also like the idea, because there is far less farming or animal feed required.
I’ve been pondering on this – particularly the “ethical” side of “ethical meat”. For me, it raises a lot more fundamental issues than what sits in a plate.
For example, if you’re an atheist (and/or don’t believe in the concept of a soul), then you’d know that when you get a bunch of cells growing to a certain point, it becomes a consciousness.
If you do believe in a soul, then at some point in the process of conception or development, a bundle of earthly cells gets imbued with something more existential.
In the abortion debate, some believe that life begins at conception – whether before or after a brain stem forms. From that perspective, a bundle of cells is “life”. Therefore schmeat is also life, and an animal is still being slaughtered.
If schmeat were left to mature longer than enough to form a kebab, would some sort of awareness or neural system form? What then?
If we take the stance that, because its a lab created thing then it isn’t really alive, does this mean IVF babies aren’t either?
I have no answers. I don’t even know if anyone will read this.
But if you do, ponder it with me and let me know your thoughts…Tweet this!