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Talking about the future: how in vitro meat may solve a moral dilemma for meat lovers and do good for the environment Stellan Welin Linköping University.

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Presentation on theme: "Talking about the future: how in vitro meat may solve a moral dilemma for meat lovers and do good for the environment Stellan Welin Linköping University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Talking about the future: how in vitro meat may solve a moral dilemma for meat lovers and do good for the environment Stellan Welin Linköping University Sweden

2 The risk of being silly  Old predictions of what the future may look like are often wrong and silly  Air travel in 2000 according to Swedish TV program in the 60th

3 Science fiction….  It is hard to seriously discuss the impacts, dangers and benefits of a new technology until it is already there.  It is just science fiction  When the technology is already there it is too late

4 It is already going on  IVF and stem cell technologies  The possibilities for regulation are still there  Saying yes or no to the technology not possible

5 Pure science fiction?  Ectogenesis or out-of-the-body-pregnancy  J.B.S Haldane  Aldous Huxley ”Brave New World”  Feminist discussion

6 New technologies may create new moral space The case of Ectogenesis  Most arguments in favour of abortions rely heavily on the biological fact that the fetus develops inside the female body.  Most arguments for the present legal situation in Western countries that women alone decide on whether or not to continue the pregnancy rest on the same biological fact.

7 New technology and new risks  The discussion often (rightly) focus on the dangers of new technologies  The risk society

8 New technology may create new moral problems  At present, everyone who has a functioning kidney could wonder if he or she should donate the kidney to someone with end- stage renal disease as a living donor.  Is keeping both kidneys consistent with the duty of helping suffering human beings?

9 New technology may do away with (some) moral problems  if a kidney for transplantation can be tissue engineered then there is no need to donate.  That particular moral problem goes away

10 Moral problems of meat eating Bad for the environment  The overall worldwide livestock activities have been estimated by Steinfeld et al. (2006) to contribute 18% of the total anthropogenic emitted green house gases.  A conservative estimate is that about 80% of the energy input in animal farming is lost.  Meat eating is hurting the environment and the climate

11 Moral problems of meat eating bad for animals  A general consensus seems to be that animal suffering is evil and should be avoided as far as possible  Confined indoor intensive meat production causes animal suffering  Killing animals not necessarily wrong – but making them suffer.  Some claim killing animals always wrong

12 In vitro meat  Producing meat without suffering  No animals need to be kept to be killed  Less environmental impact  More control in a confined bioreactor

13 Gone with the wind?  Fewer domestic animals around  The end of thousands of years of traditional domestic animal husbandry  No more sheep in New Zealand(?)

14 conclusion  Tissue engineering of meat will constitute a moral progress and we should try to realise it.  You can enjoy meat eating without causing suffering or hurting the environment (so much)  Direct medical benefits will also be gained by developing this technology

15 The EU project  IMPROVESS  In vitro Meat PROduction is Vital for Environmental and Societal Sustainability  Call FP7-KBBE  Activity 2:2 Fork to farm  Subactivity KBEE Sustainable food and feed processing


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