Monday, April 21, 2008

PETA Offers Prize for Fake Meat

Wow, is this ever interesting. The animal rights organization, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is supposed to announce today that it is offering a 1 million dollar prize to the
“first person to come up with a method to produce commercially viable quantities of in vitro meat at competitive prices by 2012.”

That PETA would sponsor something like this is not surprising. But what is fascinating is that apparently there are people within the organization who are so disgusted by meat that they are angry that the leadership has chosen to indirectly endorse meat eating by offering the prize. I've always thought that synthetic or even cloned meat canceled any concerns that anyone who opposes meat eating would have. But the reaction from within PETA against this effort by the organization to promote "fake meat" production is really weird. I suppose too that some of PETA's people are "natural" food enthusiasts and would be unhappy that their organization seems to promote engineered food. But I don't think that is where the biggest resistance is coming from.

PETA’s Latest Tactic: $1 Million for Fake Meat - New York Times


Ulla said...

i try not to be a misanthrope but news like this makes me very sad. i guess if PETA had their way there would be no cows. goodness.
maybe we should set up a program that sponsors PETA people to go to farms where meat is grown in nature, where cows have had good lives, etc. i love cows, and not want them to be extinct.

Scotty said...

Sci-Fi writers like Heinlein, Pohl and Kornbluth have predicted such things for more than 60 years. I am not sure I'd want to eat it (no bones)but is it "fake" meat, as meat is defined as animal tissue used as food?

Jennie/Tikka said...

Funny you should mention Sci-Fi writers, Scotty....I heard something on the news the other day that reminded me of something straight out of the movie "Brazil." In that movie, government had gotten to the place where it had begun charging people for interrogations (i.e their own torture) if they were suspected of terrorism. One of the darker jokes in the movie was the larger threat that you had better pay quickly if this happened to you, else your credit rating might be effected!

I swear to you the other day I heard a news report about the "need for creative financing" to pay for interrogations the U.S. was conducting overseas for extracting information (through torture) during interrogations.

It sounded so much like the movie "Brazil" I couldn't believe I was hearing it!

fiat lux said...

PETA is a master of the art of putting out press releases that get a lot of attention. This is another one of them.

I'm pretty uncomfortable with the general concept of "engineered" foodstuffs, but *if* it could be done so that the resulting product was affordable, sustainable, nutritious, and tasty, I think I could be convinced to support it.

Tags said...

Yeah, I'll go spend 20 million on research to get a million dollar prize from a bunch of extremists.

Sean said...

Well I can understand a sort of visceral rejection of in vitro meat if one has been a vegetarian/vegan for a significant portion of their lives, I don't think one can make a successful ethical argument against it. I for one have argued elsewhere that the real success of the animal rights movement will be measured in the extent to which it convinces the general public to adopt synthetic meat over natural alternatives. If the animal rights movement can position in vitro meat as the ethical, environmental choice and characterize traditional animal husbandry as, in light of these new techniques, needlessly cruel, then it will achieved more for animals than it could ever have hoped to by convincing people adopt vegetarian/vegan lifestyles.

And tags, none of those who will actually commercialize these processes give a damn about PETA even if they were offering 20 million dollars. The potential, especially with the emerging markets in India and China, is hard to fathom. PETA's million will hardly look like much compared to the billions in profits that await the first company to capitalize on this.

Tags said...

How can PETA stand behind meat that is both HYBRID and STERILE?