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Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

As a Jewish vegan, I’m still not happy with upcoming new Israeli artificial meat

Indeed! The new meat that is now being readied to be available in another two years doesn’t make me jump up and down from happiness. And that’s not because soon everyone can be a vegan without any effort and there go all the people who praised me for being vegan and special. Believe me. (When in their ad video the Israeli CEO with a French accent talks about eating cats he means [meat] cuts, according to the subtitles. His “treedy” means 3D. Israelis think that it is charming (or even correct) to speak English like that and not an embarrassment of their product. He advocates to “grow proteins from plants” apparently not knowing that one can just eat plants that have protein in order to get protein inside.)

There are pros and cons with this new meat and some serious problems for Jewish Law too. I will gladly give an overview on condition that you don’t stop reading or quoting me at the end of the few positive aspects.

The New Artificial Meat – Pros

  • Every animal less bred means very much less damage to the planet (less (rain)forest or farmland taken away for pasturing, fewer greenhouse winds), less waste and less animal suffering. (Only a tiny amount of vegetarians have a philosophical problem will killing animals even if it happens painlessly and stress-free. Problems with kosher slaughter often lie not in the method but in the mass production setting. Therefore, to pretend that not killing animals will make vegetarians happy is a gross exaggeration.)
  • The meat would have no antibiotics or bovine microbes and hopefully also no excessive hormones or preservatives.

The New Artificial Meat – Cons

  • Meat is a non-food. It has protein (but only 15% of the protein the animal was fed) and iron (except kosher meat) and vitamin B12 but for the rest, it’s really not much better than sugar or white flower. It has no taste and needs to be heavily spiced and burned (seared) to give it some taste, which procedures are bad for health too. Why in the world would we need a fake non-food?! It’s like making fake tobacco or fake heroin. (Or, as I wrote before, pushing e-cigarettes instead of promotion to quit smoking.) If iron and B12 are important, then add them to real food instead of to artificial culinary boredom.
  • We don’t get to hear too much about how they produce this fake meat (what we are told is total nonsense, probably to mislead the competition, that they brew this meat) but it seems to me that it must be an enormously wasteful process (at least in terms of sterility, water and electricity use: bad for the environment), though maybe less so than in the bio industry. By comparing it to meat production, any creation must sound idyllic, but relative to growing veggies, it’s still wasteful. Eat some lentils instead. Or mushrooms that only need manure as food and not controlled “fermentation” tanks.
  • This production process seems very susceptible to bacteria and funguses that are dangerous for humans, like most animal produce. But here even more so because it’s cultured outside a life animals, outside a working immune system.
  • Meat and other animal produce are way too expensive for the nutritious value they give (not to speak of the health and environmental damage they do). Even when the price of artificial meat gets closer to that of animal meat, it’s still exorbitant.
  • Consuming fake meat keeps the habit of eating meat (and other animal produce and non-foods) alive (pun intended) and normative. Even if eating meat would not be a problem at all for some people, the overconsumption and the fixation on meat (56 billion animals are presently globally slaughtered for food every year) is definitely problematic for any principled person. Rather than reducing this idiocy by a trifle, fake meat will legitimize it.
  • Focusing on cutting (pun intended) meat consumption hides (pun intended) that milk cows often have a worse life than meat cows. The latter are normally allowed to roam (because that develops their muscles, what carnivores call meat) while their unfortunate milked-dry sisters are frequently jailed for life.
  • The CEO talks about a “protein crisis” that we must “solve” but there is no such animal (pun intended). There is plenty of protein in the world but it is reduced by a factor 7 by first feeding it to animals and only then eating the poor beasts.
  • The argument that fake meat could be healthier meat because the amount of fat could be reduced is like saying that less-refined sugar is better than refined sugar. The difference is negligible. Alcoholics suffer most (in the first decades) from not having bread vitamins in their diet. The idea of adding those to strong drinks was rejected by the specialists because soon people would claim that drinking alcohol was actually advantageous and healthy because of having vitamins in them. Here same thing.
  • This promotes also the use of commercially available fake milk products which generally only taste milky but have no nutritious value and are way too expensive also. What is rather needed is to go off the white (pasta, rice, meat, flour, milk) tasteless non-foods and switch to real varied nutritious healthy tasty satisfying foods.

The New Artificial Meat – Jewish Problems

(I only have rudimentary Jewish knowledge so don’t read this as a learned rabbinic text!)

  • If this food was indispensable, for instance, very nutritious and cheap, then the rabbis could maybe find shortcuts to allow for it but this is not the case. It is expensive unhealthy nonsense that no one needs. And the problems for Jewish Law seem not small.
  • If it is meaty because it was grown from cells that were in meat, its consumption could be a violation against eating a limb from a living animal. This is even forbidden to Gentiles, the rabbis teach. This is a much more serious problem than if it is meaty or not. One could say that a few cells do not constitute meat. But we see the same thing with gelatin. Most rabbis hold, gelatin is collagen from cooked bones that became as dried and lifeless as tree branches, but others rule that if it became edible again, it resumes its previous status: meaty and it should be from a kosher animal that was properly slaughtered and the bones should be properly salted. If the cells were harvested from a placenta, it might be that they don’t have the status of taken from a living animal or animal at all (though, like eggs (and milk), it should be from a kosher animal). If they are taken from animal blood, we have the serious prohibition for Jews against consuming any blood.
  • If rabbis would rule that it lost its animal status for good, then why would the animal source have to be kosher? Not to get Jews used to the taste of non-kosher animals? Would eating artificial human flesh then also allowed? How about eating (fake) milk and (fake) meat together (it need one or both to be fake)? Soon kosher-style food will still be non-kosher but there should be treif-style food that is kosher? Really? Do we need “kosher caviar” and kosher cheeseburgers? I don’t think so. That is an excellent precedent not to have artificial meat in the first place: Not to have people continue to eat non-foods but to move to real and tasty foods.
  • Would this fake meat still need the removal of the circulating fluid (artificial blood) that fed it and salting? If it doesn’t, wouldn’t that lead to Jews being un-careful about not eating un-kashered meat?

Conclusion: We need to move a big part of our consumption away from animal produce health-hazardous foods. Artificial meat will not help here.

Methadone is a substance similar to heroin but less addictive (they claim) so it is sometimes used to get people off of heroin other than cold turkey (pardon the pun). Artificial meat could be used the same way for meat addicts but it should only be available on doctor’s prescription and for limited time.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, an almost daily blog contributor to the Times of Israel, and previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit about what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and education contribute to his visions. * If you don't know the Dutch, get an American peek behind the scenes here: https://youtu.be/QMPp6h6r72M * To find less-recent posts on subject XXX among his over 1600 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. Yet, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people who don't deserve that. He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust, and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. * One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. He loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, anti-elitism, anti-bigotry and supremacy, for Zionism, Intersectionality, and non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, empowering therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids non-violently. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's being a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. He lives with his library in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact him. * His writing has been made possible by a (second-generation) Holocaust survivors' allowance from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here: https://www.amazon.com/s?i=stripbooks&rh=p_27%3AMoshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&s=relevancerank&text=Moshe-Mordechai%2FMaurits+van+Zuiden&ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1
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