What should we call lab meat? (Probably not “Lab meat.”)


Choice of language aid setting the stage for all of this – something those who currently judge the language and regulations surrounding cellular farming should keep in mind. New innovations will always be pushing and pulling against the limits of the tongue. It is important to choose terms that fairly, clearly and accurately represent new technologies in meat production, rather than simply giving in to the meat industry’s attempts to narrow the nomenclature or now rush into terms. legally consecrated which may cause problems in the future.

The question of what to call new forms of meat can also be an opportunity to ask questions about the type of world we want to live in. The meaning we give to words changes frequently in response to technological and social changes. The term “car”, for example, as the philosopher Andy Lamey said underline, which once referred to horse-drawn trams, then almost exclusively to combustion engine vehicles, and now encompasses electric vehicles – the term expanding and changing as new technologies emerge and others become obsolete . The definition of “car” needed revision because the early definitions were based on “a particular design of cars” rather than the central concept. It should be the same “to make room for in vitro meat, ”he wrote, accepting meat as anything that“ has fleshy substance and function. Just as the T-models and Tesla’s are both considered cars, then the animal-sourced and lab-grown versions would both be considered real meat. “

There is however a flip side to Lamey’s argument, which is just as important. If we accept that new meats differ from conventional meats only in the way they are produced, we can stop and reexamine whether our old way of doing things is actually better from an ethical or environmental point of view. Tradition is not always the best: solar and wind power is unquestionably better from a planetary point of view than fossil fuels. Agriculture that excludes synthetic fertilizers, genetic modifications and some agrochemicals is associated with lower agricultural yield per hectareThis means that traditional “organic” agriculture can have drawbacks when it comes to conserving natural habitats and reducing greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the conversion of land to agriculture. Should we call it “extensive land production” instead?

Likewise, the new meats should prompt us to question the origins of conventional meats. Calling conventional meats “slaughter-based” may sound provocative to some, but it’s probably as fair as calling new meats “lab-based”. If we can avoid the massacre, after all, we should. If we can heat our homes without overheating the planet, we should. If we can grow more resilient and productive crops in a changing climate, we should.


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