Why do so many people get grossed out by the idea of vat-grown meat? A poll.

Vat-grown meat is meat grown from cultured muscle tissue in a vat (or some other non-animal container) for human consumption. I always imagine it getting the most use in making ground beef* or other preparations where the original form is lost anyway: There is no way it could be used to replace real cuts of beef for steaks without a rather more expensive setup, unless I’m very much wrong.

*(Obviously, it could be used for any kind of muscle whatsoever. Beef just seems like a good start in America, Canada, and Western Europe for random cultural reasons.)

It could be used now, except people seem to be rather grossed out at the idea for some reason I cannot begin to fathom. Hence this thread. So, if you think the idea in the above paragraph is disgusting, please post and tell me why.

I think it’s just an instinctive squicky reaction. I just picture some formless hulk of throbbing meat, like something out of Lovecraft. I know it’s irrational, and I’d probably eat the stuff anyway, but it just screams “bad horror movie” to me.

The idea of it isn’t gross to me. It’s the idea of plain old slab 'o meat without the same tissue structure and grain as regular old dead cow that I find…weird. I can’t help but wonder what it would taste like. I bet it’d be pretty bland. Meat isn’t just the sum of muscle cells.

I just heard that old classic on the radio. I never made the connection. My mental image is basically skin being cultured in a Petri dish, and the old SF story “The Tissue-Culture King”. It’s a bloodless image, literally and figuratively.

(There would need to be aeration of the tissue to feed it and remove waste, but my image is literally bloodless.)

I love the idea of vat-grown meat. I love meat, but I don’t particularly care for eating animals. I would switch completely to vat-grown meat in an instant if given the choice.

Of course, I am also completely in favour of genetically-modified food and cloning and stem-cell research.

Gorrang simulpost…

I disagree, but this isn’t the thread to hash out (Ha!) the issues with the idea.

As for weird… well, it isn’t something we’ve ever done before. But most new things don’t inspire any gut-level squick.

Got on preview:

You’re after my own heart, love. :wink: I wish there were more like you.

Now watch me miss a post. :rolleyes:

Mmmm. Beef in a tub.

Seriously, for all that I’m all over those sort of things, I never really thought about vat-grown meat. But it’s a pretty neat idea, especially as the population of earth keeps growing and grazing lands are put under increasing pressure.

Plus, like featherlou I’m all for GM foods and Stem Cell research.

I suppose if one were to make ground meat out of the stuff it wouldn’t be as much an issue (although fat and connective tissues add to the body of it). A prime ribeye steak (or whatever) however is an altogether different sort of thing. If the technology gets to the point of being able to add marbling, connective tissues, and other bits that all add up to the whole piece of chicken/cow/pig whatever, I’ll be all over it. Unfortunately the foodie half of me is far stronger than the principled half.

I for one welcome our vat-grown overlords! :smiley:

Also, yeah, I only see this working for things like ground beef or for stews, where the constituent meaty bits are relatively formless. As for why beef, it’s also a reasonable choice because beef is one of the more expensive meats consumed in this part of the world. It wouldn’t work for Chicken, because chicken is rediculously cheap as it is (how cheap? So cheap that they don’t invest in growth hormones and such for chickens, because their profit margin per-chicken isn’t enough to make the extra cost a sound investment). Dunno about pork though.

That said, I can see lots of folks having religious issues with us growing beef in a vat, seeing it as creeping uncomfortably close to playing God.

No reason we can’t culture those tissues as well and add them in to taste. We’d have perfect control over the finished product.

My thoughts exactly.

So, where are all the squicked people? Did I misjudge the Dope, or just the time of day and week?

Us weekend dopers are a hardy sort. It takes more than petri-beef to squick us out!

I don’t have a problem in the world with vat grown meat. In fact… there are alot of things you could do that go beyond the obvious. You could have deliciously fatty foi gras by the pound cheaply and without any cruelty issues. Think about all the meats that are impractical because the animals are endangered, too small or aren’t domesticated… maybe possibly even cloned extinct animals, you could taste mammoth, moa or dodo. Perhaps there is a tiny species of deep sea crustacean that you could never realistically harvest because the flesh would be so tiny, but who when scaled up to tub size makes lobster seem like week old bait. I wonder if you could tissue engineer the entire reproductive system of a sturgeon and have a vat grown caviar machine. I think it’d be great.

Reminds me of buying meat in Elite II.

The manual advises that all meat for sale is vat grown, despite what buyers think. The actual area of land available for grazing the number of animals that would provide this much meat for sale, is lower than the area of hooves that such a number of animals would add up to :stuck_out_tongue:

You rang?

I hadn’t heard of this but it’s the process that sounds icky - but a lot less icky than a cattle slaughterhouse. In fact I think cattle slaughterhouses are grotesque and if I happen to think about them while I’m dining, I am slightly putt off my feed.

I’m wondering how it’ll be marketed. Quazi-Meat? Nope… letters Q and Z are unappealing. Unmeat? Nope… too close to undead. Techno-Meat? Neat Meat?

This is the first I’ve heard of this. Does anyone have a good link about how close we are to this? There will, of course, be some people freaked out about it, but I think they would get over it pretty quickly, especially if it was cheaper than “traditional” meat. I, personally would pay more for it (assuming taste and texture is as good or better than animal grown meat) because it would be more consistent and likely more sanitary, and, most of all, would avoid the animal cruelty issues. I wonder how long religious mania would keep it out of school lunches.

I hadn’t heard that people thought it was squicky.

If it had the same general flavor as its gene donor (beef, pork, venison, aardvark, whatever), I’d eat it. I’m assuming it’s cheaper than the on-the-hoof version.

Don’t underestimate the power of religious mania, junk science, and media spin on a poorly-educated, proud-of-their-ignorance culture. We’re talking about people who think banning stem cell research and cloning is just fine, but have no idea how many GM foods they are currently eating or that there is no such thing as our wool-bearing sheep in nature (we made sheep a long, long time ago). “Salmon genes in my tomatoes?! EWWWW! You can’t do that! It’s unnatural!” You know what’s natural? Premature babies all dying. Everyone with diabetes dying. We kicked nature out of the picture a long time ago.

If vat-grown meat was the healthiest, cheapest, easiest-produced food on the planet, idiots would still try to keep it from people, especially children, because idiots are stupid and don’t like to be bothered with things like facts.


And the butcher would be a m337 haxx0r.

In “Oryx & Crake” author Margaret Atwood imagined a world where all of our meat was vat grown. There’s a scene where the main character goes to see the factory and describes seeing something like a tree with hundreds of chicken drumsticks growing out of it. The product was called “Chicky Noobs.”