The Ethics of Producing In Vitro Meat

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  • The copyright line for this article was changed on 16th September 2014 after original online publication.

Abstract

The prospect of consumable meat produced in a laboratory setting without the need to raise and slaughter animals is both realistic and exciting. Not only could such in vitro meat become popular due to potential cost savings, but it also avoids many of the ethical and environmental problems with traditional meat productions. However, as with any new technology, in vitro meat is likely to face some detractors. We examine in detail three potential objections: 1) in vitro meat is disrespectful, either to nature or to animals; 2) it will reduce the number of happy animals in the world; and 3) it will open the door to cannibalism. While each objection has some attraction, we ultimately find that all can be overcome. The upshot is that in vitro meat production is generally permissible and, especially for ethical vegetarians, worth promoting.

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