GM food and vegetarians

Suppose we were to engineer a pig gene (or a whole bunch of them) into, say, soy beans with the specific intention of getting the plant to produce ‘meatier’ proteins (leaving aside for the moment the obvious practical difficulties in so doing and whether this would effectively destroy the plant’s ability to survive - let’s just pretend for a moment that it’s possible to make ‘SoyPork’ - a more ‘meaty’ soy bean) - let’s also assume that the small amount of genetic material that we collected from the pigs did not involve making them suffer in any way at all.

Is it OK for vegetarians to eat our SoyPork? - on the one hand, it has been and can be produced without causing the suffering or death of any animal, but on the other hand it very definitely contains animal proteins (or the same sort of proteins anyway).

This is not an IMHO poll; I want people to back up their opinions with reason, please.

Most vegetarians are not all that dogmatic. In this society it is hard to be a perfect vegetarian, and everyone has their limits. Some eat meat stock, some don’t. Some check to see if their candy is made of gelatin, some don’t. Some harrass waiters about the minute details of food ordered in restraunts, some don’t. A lot of time it depends on your purposes.

So it is really hard to say if something is “alright” for vegetarians to eat or not, because we all have different, very personal standards. It isn’t like Kosher where you have an authority and definate rules. People are vegetarian for vastly different reasons, and each of those reasons brings along it’s own rationales. It is going to boil down to each vegetarian’s individual opinion.

My standard usually falls under “is it meat enough to give me the creeps”. Usually stuff that is ultra refined (like, say, medicines derived from animal sources) don’t creep me out as much as giant hunks of flesh. I’d say this is pretty refined, and I’d probably have no problem eating it, although it is still pretty wierd.

Plus, there are vegetarians who refrain from eating meat not from any moral imperative, but simply because they feel that vegetable matter is healthier for them than animal matter. Unless they felt that said “soy pork” was unhealthy for them, they would have no more problem eating it than they would wearing a fur coat or plinking gophers with a varmint rifle.

This raises (to me) a more interesting question alluded to by sven. Would SoyPork be kosher or halal?

That was to be my next question, interestingly.

As a vegetarian it wouldn’t bother me to eat SoyPork, unless it was bad for my health in the same way that PorkPork is. I’m a health vegetarian. I don’t care if animals suffer; in fact when I order vegetarian meals at restaurants I ask them to kill an animal anyway, just to keep things even.

Your question is too broadly cast. There are as many answers to your question as there are types of vegetarians.

OK, perhaps we should limit the question to those vegetarians who do not eat meat on moral or ethical grounds.

One thing to bear in mind is taste. Regardless of their reasons for not eating meat, a lot of vegetarians (myself included) grow to strongly dislike the taste of meat. If making the proteins ‘meatier’ makes the food taste more like meat…

OTOH, I can’t see any reason why it would be a moral problem. It personally wouldn’t bother me at all (My reasons are about halfway between morality and health) - I’m not actually eating meat. Despite having one animal gene in it, what I’d be eating is a plant by any reasonable definition.

Of course, many people would object to eating GM food on moral or health grounds. But thats a different issue…

kitarak makes a good point. I don’t care for the taste of meat anymore. I purposely avoid products that I find are too similar to meat (particularly veggieburgers). I simply wouldn’t be interested in SoyPork as I never was a big fan of pork in the first place and I wouldn’t see a real reason to try.

But in regards to the morality – I am a vegetarian for partially ethical reasons, so I’ll answer. I am not a vegan – that is, I drink milk and eat eggs. Thus, taking something else without causing an animal harm would not be a big deal for me. Perhaps you should be speaking to strict vegans instead (those who not only do not eat meat but do not eat animal-derived products like dairy, honey, and so on).

“SoyPork?” Bah. Let’s work on the name. How about spork? Taken. Poy (actually, that’s poi, but sounds the same)? Taken. Spoy?

Don’t make me use the dictionary on you Monty :wink:

Interesting–I’m a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and have often pondered becoming vegan because animals kept for the purpose of producing milk are often treated in a less than humane fashion.

Somehow, the idea of eating pig genes seems really gross to me. I do eat meat analogues (veggie burgers, etc.). I would guess that the hard-core vegans I know would not eat this product.

Of course, I guess when I’m drinking milk I’m ingesting cow genes. Hmm. Something to think about, there.

The kabbess is an “ethical vegetarian”. I can pretty much guarantee that she would happily munch SoyPork.

So long as it was well prepared of course. With a tomato-based rouille, perhaps, and onion confit. And god help you if you overcook the soy or overheat the sauce.

pan

You wouldn’t be referring to my “hang up” with words, would you? [sub][sub][sub](I wasn’t aware that being careful and precise in one’s exposition is a bad thing. Um, who’s going to tell Uncle Cecil?)[/sub][/sub][/sub]

'sok; so long as yo’re not mindlessly quoting a children’s dictionary! :wink:

Drat! The misspelling gremlin struck again! In my last posint above, “yo’re” should read “you’re.”

And in the one above that, I presume you meant ‘posint’ to read ‘post’? :wink:

I’d avoid it for ethical and health reasons.

Health:
I avoid GM food where possible, wherever the transplanted genes come from. It’s becoming increasingly difficult, so undoubtably I have ingested some GM material, but I feel I sould have the choice.

Ethical:
The reason I made the choice to become veggie doen’t really matter. I made the choice and will stick to it to as best I can. This lunchtime I spent a lot of time picking cauliflower out of my risotto, maybe I wouldn’t have tasted it, but I would know it was there, and don’t want to eat it.

I don’t want to do anything that will line the pockets of companies like Monsanto. I resent the way they are trying to deny people choice in what they eat and don’t for one minute believe that are investing in this technology for the good of mankind. I don’t buy a lot of the arguments such companies make, eg GM is equivalent to selective breeding, and see no reason to trust them on other issues.

I became a veggie for health reasons, I read labels to avoid meat products or deritives. On the other hand, I am an enthusiastic wearer of leather and don’t have a problem with other people eating meat. so I don’t know what sort of veggie that makes me. Something between the two I guess.

No no, Monty never makes mistakes! He obviously intended to abbreviate “positive integer.”