Well, you can perfectly replicate it. You can do better. … If you are going to go the conventional meat-making way, you are constrained by the biology of the animal. If you want to use plant-based meat … you can do taste tests and find things that people like even more…
Before the US Civil War, it was easier for the North to morally oppose slavery. Why? Because unlike the South they weren’t profiting much from its existence. The fight for abolition was partly won because many no longer saw themselves as having a selfish stake in its continuation.
Bruce Friedrich, executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), thinks the same may be true in the fight against speciesism. 98% of people currently eat meat. But if eating meat stops being part of most people’s daily lives — it should be a lot easier to convince them that farming practices are just as cruel as they look, and that the suffering of these animals really matters.
That’s why GFI is “working with scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs” to create plant-based meat, dairy and eggs as well as clean meat alternatives to animal products. In 2016, Animal Charity Evaluators named GFI one of its recommended charities.
In this interview I’m joined by my colleague Natalie Cargill, and we ask Bruce about:
- What’s the best meat replacement product out there right now?
- How effective is meat substitute research for people who want to reduce animal suffering as much as possible?
- When will we get our hands on clean meat? And why does Bruce call it clean meat, rather than in vitro meat or cultured meat?
- What are the challenges of producing something structurally identical to meat?
- Can clean meat be healthier than conventional meat?
- Do plant-based alternatives have a better shot at success than clean meat?
- Is there a concern that, even if the product is perfect, people still won’t eat it? Why might that happen?
- What’s it like being a vegan in a family made up largely of hunters and meat-eaters?
- What kind of pushback should be expected from the meat industry?
Keiran Harris helped produce today’s episode.