What’s the difference between an ad and a news report? The first tries to sell something, to make some profit, to gain money, while the second tries to inform, unconnected to interests of anyone. The latter is in danger when producers try to highjack journalists into publishing their “unadulterated” propaganda. And journalists should be extra alert when the “news” bringer says he’s looking for cash. The way to distinguish itself as a genuine source of information is to ask for proofs about things that seem unbelievable and to ask questions about holes in the story. The latter refers to much of fraudulent advertising not using lies but rather lying by omission. As the top psychiatrist of the Netherlands in my student time tried to help us find when someone uses the psychological trick that helps us ignore our problems (repression): what stands out in being absent?
Now we learn that a company aims to start a pilot factory outside of Tel Aviv, a first of its kind worldwide, to begin operations in 2020, which would decrease the cost of cultured meat to under $10 a pound — NIS 80 per kilo. That was 15 years ago, the price of kosher cow tongue from South America — the cheapest choice of the most expensive meat that I ever ate.
For the uninformed (that’s what you get if you don’t read my blog posts), this is great news. Sorry to rain on your party, but it’s not all that great. Let me explain.
Fake meat is better than meat taken from an animal because, especially cows, are terrible for ecology and the climate. Further, to keep afloat financially, meat producers cut many corners in animal welfare and most cows are slaughtered by bullet, which is outright cruel. (Kosher slaughter can be much more humane (the slit is painless) but in the kosher-meat plants, cows are hung upside down in making the process more efficient which is outright cruel. (I don’t understand how a stolen booth is unkosher but meat obtained after animal cruelty is deemed ritually fine to excellent.))
So, you would say, what’s so disturbing about meat not destroying the planet and not hurting animals? Right, nothing wrong with those two points but here are all the points that are still wrong with this ad — but ignored for profit.
- The way most people eat, as I explained at length in a recent blog post, is totally warped. A notorious meal cannot be, meat at the center with a few side dishes. Meat, if at all eaten, for our health, should be a side dish. And the tasteless meat is given flavor by salting, scorching (both extremely dangerous for living our full life in good health), adding garlic, onion, pepper, and often much other stuff. Eating meat gives a feeling of being full so we stop eating before we have eaten enough roots, veggies, beans, nuts, fruits, and fibers. And it spoils out cooking style and taste buds because we have begun to give all these very tasty plant foods the ‘meat treatment.’ By law, it should be obligatory to say in every meat ad: eating more than a tiny bit of meat is most dangerous to your health. This is all the same for fake meat, except that it must have no antibiotics in it; but I wouldn’t be surprised if it would have preservatives in it — what is worse? Fake meat still resembles our body so anything that grows on or in it is most dangerous for our health. While we can’t get an infection from plant microbes.
- Meat is expensive, giving the false impression that it’s desired and desirable. Fake meat is, like animal produce, a waste of money, better spent on nutritious, harmless, and tasteful foods.
- E-cigarettes are produced by the tobacco industry, which hypes it as a healthy way to smoke. (Recently, we saw already in one way, how ‘innocent’ this drug is.) They know that it associates health with smoking (a terrible association), that people easily switch from the new to the old way, and that suppressing your emotions with any drug is bad. Promoting fake meat gives the impression that meat is a good thing to eat and so encourages the buying of slaughtered meat. It strengthens the false impression that here you have something healthy (not true) and inexpensive (not true). It maintains meat at the center of the diet and the myth that this is something you should eat if you love yourself, if you love a good meal.
- Bad for the climate doesn’t start to describe how destructive producing this fake meat is. According to its own info, it is “environmentally friendly than farming, producing 80 percent fewer greenhouse emissions.” Those who can read between the lines understand how polluting it must be. A main part of how keeping billions of cows for consumption kills off our survival on this planet is that cows fart methane, which is 23 times (NB: not: 23%) more contributing to the greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide. If growing fake meat costs so much energy that it’s comparable to 20% of 2300%, that still makes for a whopping 460%.
- One of the insidious ways animal produce is maintaining human starvation is that for every kilo of protein ‘produced’ by animals, they have to eat 7 kilos of it. This might be a bit more efficient for producing fake meat but I don’t know by which factor. If you get 1 kilo of fake meat by using 3 kilos of protein, why not eat a nice, tasty, nutritious, non-destructive, economic, vegan dish instead?
- Last but not least at all, the Rabbis explain that If you take cells from a living animal, Jew nor Gentile is allowed to eat them. I’m sure that there is a way around this, namely, harvesting these cells right after the kosher slaughtering. Are these cells from a kosher animal? Are they created from blood cells? Jews are forbidden to consume blood. But the article is completely silent about this, which is an ominous sign. Cells from a (still) living animal are, for Jewish Law, worse meat than pig meat or meat that is not from kosher slaughtering. That such a fake-meat plant would be worse than a pig farm in Israel should say a lot. (For more on this all, see: here.)
So, this fake meat is bad for your health, bad for your diet, bad for your wallet, bad for fighting climate change, spiritually bad, and good hype for the meat industry. As a vegan, I see little reason to celebrate this news.