Lab Meat: Can in vitro meat save the animals? With Nicholas Genovese, David Pearce, and Jordi Casamitjana

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(23 min) Play or download (13 MB MP3) (other formats) (via iTunes)

Lab Meat

A future with cheap lab meat could be drastically different – for humans and animals. How would it work? And is the development of this technology good for animals?

Ian talks to Nicholas Genovese, a PETA-funded scientist working on the stem cells that could make up what he calls cultured meat. I ask two vegans, transhuman philosopher David Pearce and activist Jordi Casamitjana, why they are for or against in vitro meat; and I reveal the results of my survey. Will vegans and meat eaters ever be able to get beyond the “ick” factor of cultured meat?

(Content advisory: cites animal experiments[why?])

Nicholas Genovese, cultured meat scientist

Dr. Nicholas Genovese joined us from the University of Missouri.

You can find out more about Dr Genovese’s work on cultured meat in his interview at the Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies. Michell Sherrow of Peta has blogged about their sponsorhip of Dr Genovese’s work on lab meat.

David Pearce, transhuman philosopher

David Pearce co-founded Humanity+  and  has collected his interesting writings on transhumanism and the abolition of all suffering on his site The Hedonistic Imperative. 

Two blog posts that were very critical of in vitro meat, one by Jeff Perz [Facebook]  and the other by “The Rational Vegan”, inspired my questions for David.

Listener Jeff Zick, who submitted a provocative question about the ethics of growing in vitro meat from human cells, requested the full uncut interview with David Pearce, so there it is.

Jordi Casamitjana, animal activist

Jordi Casamitjana is a zoologist, ethologist and consultant at Animal Protection Consultancy.

He had a central role in the abolition of bullfighting in Catalonia, Spain. Here is a video of him addressing the Catalonian Parliament [in Catalan]. He also wrote an Op Ed for CNN he wrote about his success with the campaign.

Related Links

More on Lab Meat

Ian mentioned Peta’s in vitro meat contest.

Why Cultured Meat, a site that makes an animal protection case for lab meat, posted a response to Jeff Perz’s critique.

New Harvest  is another organisation advancing meat substitutes.

We got most of the information about the development of in vitro meat from this review paper:

How Disgust Sensitivity relates to Meat Consumption

Disgust seems to be one of the major themes in reactions against in vitro meat and is one of my primary research interests. I spoke a little in the episode about disgust sensitivity, vegetarianism and attitudes towards meat. Here are the references:


Our thanks to all of you who filled in our survey – the results of which I’ll post soon; our interviewees Nicholas Genovese, David Pearce, and first ever studio guest Jordi Casamitjana; to Digital media artist Robb Masters who wrote our theme  …

… and VegFestUK, for nominating us for their media award. Please vote for us!

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About Diana Fleischman

Dr Diana Fleischman co-hosted the show in 2011 and 2012, supplying some American irreverence. Media appearances include discussing atheism on BBC TV's "The Big Questions" and her research on the BBC World Service. She lectures in comparative psychology (the evolution of the mind) at the University of Portsmouth.

9 responses to “Lab Meat: Can in vitro meat save the animals? With Nicholas Genovese, David Pearce, and Jordi Casamitjana”

  1. Ian says :

    A note on why this show has a content warning, and one – about animal experiments – that you won’t find in the DVD store.

    Much of the research into lab meat uses animal experiments. Some groups, eg IVU-Sci, have objections to even citing animal experiments, so I added a content advisory as a courtesy to them.

  2. David Pearce says :

    All sorts of interventions in human and nonhuman animals alike can be performed without killing, hurting or harming a sentient being in any way. Yes, there are important issues of consent here
    (cf. )
    But if cells from a biopsy performed for a legitimate medial purpose, i.e. to help a human or nonhuman patient, are later used to save the lives of millions, I think one’s moral scruples can start to become a bit theological. Real life is messy.

  3. Daisy says :

    Would you eat in-vitro human meat? Would you eat in-vitro pig meat?
    I believe that if my answer to this question is different if replacing the word “human” by “pig” then it is a speciste approach.

  4. Isha says :

    I think its great that vegans don’t want to eat this! They are already doing the best they can for the world. It’s about converting the meat eaters.

  5. Laura Kamienski says :

    No matter how you slice it (pun intended) “lab meat” harms sentient beings. Whether we’re talking about the individual animals used to procure tissue from, or the fact that the very idea of trying to produce meat in any fashion is abhorrently speciesist and anthropocentric. Non-human animals are sentient beings who value their lives and deserve, as do human animals, to thrive and flourish free from exploitation and oppression. “Lab meat” is another example of trying to sell us with the oxymoron of humane exploitation.

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