Michael Lorrey (
Tue, 28 Jul 1998 18:23:57 -0400

Daniel Fabulich wrote:

> On Mon, 27 Jul 1998, Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > A more effective thing to do to reduce the 'uck' factor is to engineer the cow to
> > be more ugly, thus reducing the 'cute' factor from which the 'yuck' factor is
> > derived. Most animal rightists, even the most casual ones, are usually motivated
> > to avoid eating animals because of what we hunters call the 'Bambi Syndrome', and
> > this is why they usually focus their efforts on saving and protecting 'cute'
> > animals, while they do little for ugly animals. You don't get many protesters
> > trying to protect the Great White Shark.....
> Er, this is untrue. After all, the Great White Shark is ugly by default.
> Suppose we took a bunny rabbit and engineered it to be especially healthy
> and horribly ugly. Animal rights activists would surely show pictures
> saying "Extropians want to turn this <picture of a cute bunny rabbit> into
> THIS <picture of an ugly, but healthy, bunny rabbit>" They'd be equally
> appaled, if not more so.

I get your point, which only indicates that such modifications need to be introduced as 'accidental' or 'incidental' mutations that nobody actually had a hand in. Yeah its underhanded, but so what. However, if the uglier animal produces more meat, or more healthy meat, it will be seen as a good thing, with the ugliness only being incidental. The point is that the 'Cute' factor is what sells animal rightism and vegetarianism (which is why many more women than men are one or the other). Engineering ugliness into any improved meat producing organism will reduce the amount of public aversion to it being slaughtered for McNuggets. Though there may also be a bit of an uck factor, as in "EEEEWWWW! You're gonna eat THAT???!!!

BTW, I had an ostrich steak dinner last week, and it was fabulous. While the meat is lean, it is very flavorful, and not tough. Ostrich is a good candidate for an optimum meat producer: a)very healthy meat, b) very ugly c)very ornery and obnoxious. I recommend that anyone who has been avoiding red meats for health reasons to try ostrich steak.

Mike Lorrey