You don’t start legitimizing in vitro meat just because it lets you off the animal welfare hook at one blow, do you? What kind of speciousness is that? And then no doubt, to add insult to injury, make a couple of stem cell sows comfortable on a nice bed of hay?
In vitro meat is just more of the same: an amazing confidence that we can solve everything so that we don’t have to change at all ourselves. It’s called sustainable livestock. And the proposals are immediately followed by: ‘And it is so cheap and so accessible for people: a little in vitro meat reactor tucked into a drawer under the kitchen counter.’ I can just hear my wife saying: ‘Kees, we’re out of pork stem cells. Can you pick up some Bonte Bentheimer pork chop stem cells, because they have such cute black patches! Oh yes, and some dried Goji berries from the PlantLab and some nano mayo – that’s not fattening!’
My heart sinks when I see on the website www.nextnature.net how cunningly society is groomed for nano food and that ohso animal-friendly in vitro meat by organizations including the WUR. All very plausible, with the pros and cons nicely lined up. Nobody says it but between the lines I read: you’re crazy if you don’t embrace in vitro meat and nano foods; after all, the rational advantages are tremendous!
And yet I have every right to trust my intuition and refuse in vitro meat, without having any hard scientific and rational arguments for my stand. Luckily most people in this world listen to their intuition when they face an important decision. Reason cannot solve everything.
In vitro meat, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, GMOs... they are all dictatorial techniques and I don’t like dictators. No matter how beautiful their promises.
Kees van Veluw (57) teaches Permaculture and is active in organic agriculture networks. His vision stems from his work with African farmers, his networks with Dutch farmers, his family life with his wife, three sons, dog and chickens.