13 August 2005

Having our friends for dinner

According to the Guardian, researchers have described a new technique enabling scientists to culture meat in laboratory vats. The scientists have adapted the cutting-edge medical technique of tissue engineering, where individual cells are made to multiply to form whole tissues. The technology would potentially create more environmentally friendly meat with improved nutrient content and reduced risk of food-borne diseases. Vegetarians who avoid meat because of sensitivity to the killing of animals might accept such meat that is created without harm to the animal. One group of researchers have even worked on the more practical problems of mass production, claiming that such meat could be produced large-scale with muscle cells growing on huge sheets that would be regularly stretched to exercise the cells as they grow. Once enough cells develop, they would be scraped off and shaped into processed meat products. While spam-like products seem to be relatively easy to develop, products that look like steak and other textured meats would pose more difficulties.

So now I've got some questions for all of you. What if they succeed in culturing meat, but instead of taking the cells from an animal, took them from a human? I imagine human meat would be ideal nutritionally, being so close to the protein already in our body. What if the cells came from our own bodies? We could literally eat a steak of ourselves everyday! Or what about meat from our friends? While there might be a bizarre specialty market for such cuts, I'd imagine the real money would be in selling the meat made from the cells of movie stars. We could then cut up and eat the celebrities we dislike. Or the ones we like. Expressions like "a Martha Stewart recipe" might take on a whole new meaning.

Along less gruesome lines, this new technology may provide a way to deal with the Chinese and Korean penchant for devouring the world's endangered mammals. We could simply take a few cells from a Siberian tiger and duplicate them in giant factories so that everyone in China could have their tiger steak every morning for breakfast. We would of course reciprocate by duplicating our own human cells so that we could feed the tigers human meat every morning as well.

8 comments:

Genius said...

Our dislike for eating humans is just to do with all the negitive assocaitions. there would be no moral issue with eating yourself except I dont think it wil lcatch on. probably you would eat somthing that was basically the same chemicals just made into a tasty bar and without human cells or genes.

Karlo said...

I don't know. This could be the ultimate narcissist dream--steroid enhanced body-builders admiring themselves in the mirror while eating their own cultured bicep.

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Gun-Toting Liberal said...

EWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!

3 things, Karlo:

1) That was disgusting! lol

2) I'm not sure about GM ("Genetically Modified") foods yet. The jury's still out on that one.

3) It's people! Soylent Green is peopllllllllllllllle!!!!!!!

lol

Anonymous said...

don't the japanese and norwegians also eat endangerd mammals? just a thought…

Anonymous said...

don't the japanese and norwegians also eat endangerd mammals? just a thought…

The Continental Op said...

I'm with GTL -- Ewwwwwwwww! Just ewwwwwwww!

Karlo said...

The Japanese and Norwegians eat whales. The Koreans and Chinese, on the other hand, eat every bizarre part of virtually every rare species imaginable in the bizarre belief that whatever is rare and expensive must be good for you.