The other day I was idly thinking about the ethics of cloned meat. From a biological perspective, it’s exactly the same stuff, it’s just made in a different way. Often, this way is much more efficient than raising animals, and there’s bonus that cloned meat was never actually part of a living animal, and so was never really “killed” to feed us. From both an ethical and practical standpoint, cloned meat seems the way to go.
I myself love eating meat, but have always been sort of bothered by the fact that it was once an animal. I mean, I know the animal kingdom is a harsh place where animals compete and eat one another, and that we, arguably, are just competing better. So it hasn’t really stopped me from eating it.
But then I started extending the argument, as I always do, to its logical extreme. If it’s ok to clone beef, pork, chicken, etc., what about animals that we don’t normally eat due to practical or cultural values. For example, is it wrong to eat a cloned horse steak? It was never actually part of a real living horse. A horse didn’t have to die to provide you with the steak, just donate a small sample of its DNA. Or how about cloning dog or cat or dolphin? Or, what about cloning endangered animal meat.
Or, taking it to the logical conclusion, what if we cloned human meat? Again, a cloned human steak was never part of a person. I don’t know if I’d want to eat human, but I might try just to see. You never know, it might be really good.
Even more bizarre (if you can imagine that), what if you cloned your own meat? You could have a slice of you. I don’t know. I don’t imagine that many people would want to eat human meat, but there probably is at least a small market out there. Maybe that’s one future industry that will develop.