Ethical Meat

We may, now, in a Petri dish
Grow pork or chicken, beef or fish,
As cruelty-free as one might wish
With one exception
Though “cruelty-free” (the phrase that sells),
Its tissue line, disclosure tells,
Used stolen, not donated cells
For its inception

It smells so good, and tastes a treat,
But really, it’s still stolen meat
So ethically, it’s incomplete
And that’s the issue
To do it right, with pure intent
The cow or pig must know what’s meant
And freely give informed consent
To donate tissue

I’d love to try a lab-grown cut
A steak, or chop, or rib or butt—
The problem’s real, but here’s what’s what:
That won’t defeat me!
The simple workaround I’ll use?
I’ll donate muscle they can use
For product lines we all can choose:
We’ll call it “Eat Me”

I may edit this later from a different device; this is my first post from an iPad.

Anyway, I saw a post recently (note to self. Find and edit in) touting the progress in lab-grown meat, and it occurred to me that Douglas Adams was, perhaps, just a bit off in “restaurant”: the animal that can give consent to be eaten exists, and is us. Laboratory cultured meat technology makes it all the more clear.

Consider. If you are growing beef or pork or chicken or fish (or anything), your first priority is that it be safe—free from contamination, viruses, prions, whatever. This would be a major selling point. Ok… once you are doing that, what barrier is there to human tissue? It is no more human than lab-grown beef is cow, so if the latter is better than Elsie, why not the former? Better still, the human tissue can come from a consenting donor, whereas the beef cannot. And hey, it has all the nutrients people need, cos it’s people!

I envision lines of cultured meat products, with celebrities donating a few cells, advertising their brand with “hi, I’m [named celebrity]: eat me!”

There may even be a market for Trump Steaks this time around.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    Larry Niven, iirc, had a story based on this premise in his Tales from the Spaceport Bar. It seems a certain human had established a thriving business, using his own tissue, on a faraway star system; a traveler from that world, visiting Earth, got into a spot of trouble when asking for his favorite snack on its planet of origin.

  2. Cuttlefish says

    Raymond, that is wonderful! I had not seen it before!

    Pierce, another for my list.

    abbeycadabra, I am no squid! Seppie, not calimari!

    Chigau, but are you tasteful?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *