meat animals

Wesley R. Schwein (
Tue, 4 Aug 1998 14:47:23 -0400

Michael Lorrey <> on 07/28/98 06:23:57 PM

Please respond to

cc: (bcc: Wesley R. Schwein/ISG/US/Unisys) Subject: Re: FAQ: SOCIETY AND POLITICS

Vegetarians have as many reasons for not eating meat as atheists have for not believing in Bog. Not all atheists have responsible reasons ("It's cause my parents, man, they're, like, Fundamentalist whackos!"), nor do all vegetarians. But how many Burger Thing addicts could kill and eat something themselves, or even stand to think much about the process that took sunlight and dirt, wrapped a few proteins around it and packaged it in wax paper, comfortingly annonymous and 'safe' (emotionally neutral) as a piece of fruit?

: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???!!

This wouldn't happen if the public had regular exposure to the source of their food... ask someone who grew up on a REAL farm and slaughtered the same animals they raised how squeamish they are. In that situation, the meat consumer is involved not only in the grub but in supporting the animal, getting to know it. By the same token, a hunter taking meat from other free beasts has a respect for the animal, a special relationship unknown to the masses huddled up to the teat of factory farms.

Some vegetarians and certainly many run-of-the-mill McDeath-scarfers both say, "Oh, yuck, how gross," flinching with discomfort, because they have no connection to the living animal or to the act of butchery; it's foreign, alien, and they wouldn't want to face their dependence on something repulsive. The spawn of our suburbs have no respect for meat animals because they've never raised them, never hunted them, never killed by themselves and learned from the experience; we relate to plastic-wrapped beef in the supermarket on the same thoughtless level as we think about fruit, in so far as we think about it at all. Just pluck the morsel from the branch; no thought before or emotions after, never mind how it got there.

At any rate, deliberately to create walking McNuggets would play right into apathy and the irrational selfishness of the American suburban belly. How on earth does it increase extropy --particularly the aspects we admire of knowledge, vitality and beauty-- to breed something for its ugliness so as to manipulate fear?

Has anyone speculated, in SF stories or elsewhere, about the effects of nanotech on cuisine? Other than mass-produced rice for Chinese peasants, I can't remember any.