Then, of course, the scientists shaped it into a burger, because if its anything geeks know well, it's the shape of fast food. Sadly, even after mixing the pasty stem cell "meat" with bread crumbs, seasoning, and frying it in an heart-choking amount of butter, it tasted meaty in texture, but the flavor was nothing to get overly excited about.
But it is exciting to speculate on meat grown from stem cells. Bland meat that has no flavor. Pasty white meat that you'd never know was "beef." Many possibilities have been put forth since the meat hit the frying pan. People excitedly surmised this Frankenmeat had the potential to end world hunger. Space techies suddenly saw a solution to feeding the passengers and crew on unlimited space travel voyages. Animal lovers saw a way to save the cows at last.
That started me thinking. The meat is bland and therefore interchangeable. Why stop at beef? Why not chickens? Why not fish? It would all taste the same and the only differences would be in flavorings and added fat content.
Think about it. We could send people to explore the galaxy forever. They could continually generate their own meat from a tiny laboratory space. The only problem would be disposing of waste, clothing themselves as fabric wears out after awhile, water, and, because such voyages would be decades long, eventually each other.
Then I started thinking some more. All that bland meat that looked and tasted the same. Horrifying as it is for some to admit, the truth is if our stem cells were grown the same way, we could not be picked out from the crowd of other animals on the plate. We'd be just as bland, just as pasty, just as white, although I suspect our fat content might be a tad higher.
When we bury a body, we take up valuable real estate on a planet that is running out of resources. If we can reduce a cow to a mess of stem cells served up seasoned and fried on our plate, we've already set aside the ethics and moral arguments. It's not a cow anymore. It was never a cow even though it came from a cow. The same argument would apply to us in that situation. It wouldn't be us in that dish even though it came from us.
What it comes down to is we are not any different than that fried stem cell burger on a plate. That meat is us. We ARE meat when you really do think about it. We are not vegetable. We are not gold. We are not holy. We are meat.
So basically this is the reality we are faced with: humans are greedy, consuming omnivores and I don't see us changing anytime soon. We're going to want our "meat" to taste different from other "meat." It's why we have multiple flavors of ice cream, multiple arrangements of topping on pizzas, multiple everything.
But the resources are not endless and stem cell meat is just the beginning of new moral arguments over food and survival. Eventually the argument will not be what is meat and what is not meat, but what is Messy Meat and what is practical meat. And because it will all taste the same, some types of meat will have premium labels. And I'm guessing it won't be the cow with the expensive label stuck to its Petri-grown ass.
You can argue all you want, but Soylent Green is here. The minute the contents of that Petri dish ended up in the stomach of someone else, we officially became meat. Now it's a just a matter of adjusting to that reality.
|From Ursine Logic's Child-Free By Choice shop.|