Re: meat animals

Michael Lorrey (
Wed, 05 Aug 1998 14:03:49 -0400

Wesley R. Schwein wrote:

> Michael Lorrey <> on 07/28/98 06:23:57 PM
> Please respond to
> To:
> cc: (bcc: Wesley R. Schwein/ISG/US/Unisys)
> 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?

Thats the point of my original argument. However, if we all were put back into a pretechnological world, 99.99% of the people would die from starvation, with harvestable animal food all around them, which is irrelevant to the original discussion. The discussion was about making healthy sources of protein with a minimum of 'suffering and pain'. I countered that since the whole idea of wanting to avoid 'suffering and pain' in killing animals was an animal rightist response, that the better idea PR wize is to engineer a healthy source of self reproducing protein which most animal rightists would have no aversion to killing. Since empathy with animals is mostly a matter of a human anthropomorphizing upon the features of animals that humans see as 'cute', i.e. features one normally sees in children (large eyes, large heads, and other childlike features), reducing the 'cuteness' of an animal would obviously reduce an animal rightists aversion to killing it, as well as reduce its usability for photogenic PR campaigns put on by animal rightists.

> :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.

yes, an individual who has never had to directly associate their daily food supply with them actively harvesting animals tends to have a reduced inhibition to anthropomorphize animals.

> 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?

Not to manipulate fear, but to reduce the manipulability of an animals features for anthropomorphising. I've never seen a 'Save the sea cucumber!", or "Save the slime mold!" campaign, have you??? It increases extropy in that it increases the supply of healthy, self reproducing protein sources for the human food supply, which will be needed in the next 50 years as the world population rises from 5.5 billion now up to 18 billion before it tops off....

> 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.

nanotech will definitely, with sufficient sophistication, allow production of as tasty a hunk of beef as one could hope for, but I'd doubt that you could get any vegan to eat it who can afford alternatives.