Monday, April 12, 2010

Cultured Cat Food? Now, that's culture!

The Cat Food Recipes Blog discussed an interesting application for in vitro cultured meat: food for your companion animal.  It has often been suggest that the taste and consistency of cultured meat will be the most important factor in consumer acceptance of cultured meat.  A recent Instute for Engineering Technology articles writes that without a way to get cultured meat cells to grow together "all you have is a meat-flavoured jelly with all the resistance of an oyster."  That doesn't sound very tasty.

However, if you have ever tasted pet food, such a lack of texture of the current cultured meat might actually be a plus for pet food. 

This also touches on the debate of whether it is ethical to feed animal products to your pet.   I had a conversation about this with one of my ardent vegan friends.  She feeds animal-based food to her cat and says that she doesn't want to force her eating habits on others.   Others (like me) don't think there is anything wrong with bringing up a companion animal (or a young child for that matter) on a healthy, vegetarian diet. (Check out veggiepets!)   Cultured meat does raise some ethical issues of its own for some vegetarians.  But for many others, this is yet another way that cultured meat may help modern persons be more ethical.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

How to Make Social Policy Happen in the Real World

Renowned environmental law scholar James Salzar from Duke and Yale's Douglas A. Kysar wrote an interesting new article, "Harnessing the Power of Information for the Next Generation of Environmental Law."  The authors discuss a tidy, academic version of how environmental regulation takes place.  Then they contrast this tidy model with Phillip Morris' game plan for affecting legislative decisions.  By all accounts, Phillip Morris has been very effective in using various channels of information to shape tobacco public policy.  

Just like the tobacco industry, we've seen how effective big agribusiness has been in shaping agricultural policy in the past.  (Also see Prof. Ruhl's article- Farms, Their Harms and Environmental Law)

The authors relate this to the current climate change debate and how there is the possibility that this model can be used to distort the information about climate change. A very recent  example of this is Cowgate- National Cattlemen's Beef Association paid for a report that purported to find that beef consumption doesn't affect GHG emissions.(Click here for analysis and background).

Similarly, the Phillip Morris model has applications for the livestock industry, environmentalists, animal activists and other cultured meat enthusiasts who wish to shape environmental and agricultural policy.  I say -- "use it or lose it." If you don't want your side to "lose"-- you have to *ALL* the tools to affect positive legislative decisions. As Orlando's best DUI attorney, I believe that it is important to utilize all the tools at one's disposal. 

Blog header image by Dan Salamanunder, licensed under Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.0.