Hunters Dilemma

It is 2026 and the world religion council is up in arms.

Following is the text of press release issued after their annual meeting at Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province of China.

Dear Fellow Believers,

Cultured meat or In vitro meat, which was available only in test projects and in specialized restaurants has recently been sanctioned for widespread commercial production by most Govts of the world. In its production process, a stem cell is harvested from a cow, pig or chicken, as the case may be and then with the help of an enabling medium in a bioreactor ( which supplies it with nutrients and other proteins) the cells are allowed to multiply and convert into muscle fibers. The end product are strips of muscle tissues which are the meat that we will be consuming. So like a seed which when planted produces a fruit, a stem cell will be nurtured in lab to produce meat.

Now cultured meat that was introduced in 2021 was initially expensive however in last 5 years its prices have dropped to the level where it is now 60% cheaper than the natural meat harvested through conventional animal slaughter. Also govt and private funded institutions have put out report after report, suggesting that cultured meats’ impact on humans and ecology will be beneficial.

They say and we quote,”on one hand we would not have to rear 100 million animals for consumption ( thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing land allocation to jungles and grasslands, conserving water and soil) while on the other we will not have to use antibiotics on animals (which now humans are developing an immunity to) and harmful growth hormones which animals in feedlots are injected with. Additionally with reduction of saturated fats in cultured meat and addition of Omega 3 fatty acids the meats are being designed to be extra healthy for humans”. Their main argument is that you do not need to raise a full chicken to get chicken wings.

As very little research is available on the negative impacts of this meat culture, so we are in no position yet to scientifically refute these arguments. We are instituting studies to quantify the impact of this tissue culture on cancer and other diseases. So for the moment we will base our objections on religious, ethical and culinary grounds.

When this project started as medical research with making of artificial muscles fibers for use in muscle atrophied patients and for growing of bionic human organs, we were receptive as this improved the quality of human life. When stem cells were harvested and added with collagens to produce strips which simulated leather we welcomed that as well. In our view it is totally wrong to kill animals for their skins and then make fashion accessories out of them. In fact in 2022 we instructed all our members to switch to using “Created leather products” from “Killed leather products”. However now producing meat in factory farms, is stretching it too far.

Firstly it violates the principles of eating as laid down by God and also this meat is not pure/kosher or halal. Its origin is uncertain and so is its validity as a food item. Secondly we are loathe to put any morsel in our mouth which looks like food, smells like food however is actually an engineered product. This item is actually not meat but a simulation called meat. Lastly and finally, the taste of this product is not at all juicy and fibrous as conventional meat is. Also consider how many peoples’ livelihood depend on cattle rearing and meat production which these big corporate will now take over.

So in closing we do not recommend our members to eat this technology product as a valid food item. Our cattle ranches, fish and poultry farms have been source of meat for ages and that is what they should continue to be .

Signed
Priests & Pundits.

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