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What's an 'ethical source' for gelatin?
July 18, 2011 9:50 AM   Subscribe

A possible new 'ethical' source for popular food-additive gelatin: humans. Vegan reaction not yet forthcoming.

Researchers at Beijing University have proposed an alternative means of producing the hundreds of thousands of tons of gelatin required every year, without using animals.

The proposed solution employs human gelatin-production genes inserted into a strain of yeast, producing a new gelatin 'with controllable features'. The abstract and full paper are available here.
posted by malusmoriendumest (103 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
In before the Soylent Green joke.

Er, wait...
posted by joe lisboa at 9:51 AM on July 18, 2011 [10 favorites]


Viral marketing for the Blob re-make.
posted by The Whelk at 9:52 AM on July 18, 2011


Why human genes? Do humans actually create the "best gelatin"?
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:53 AM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Only if it's made from my own DNA. I'd love to eat some Gummi Me candies.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


Non-vegan reaction readily available: Ewwwwwwwwwww!
posted by tommasz at 9:55 AM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Should make for interesting Jello shots.
posted by jonmc at 9:57 AM on July 18, 2011


Do humans actually create the "best gelatin"?

I confess I'm no biochemist, but one of the supposed advantages of the product, (aside from ethical concerns), would be greatly reduced likelihood of immunosuppressive reactions, contracting infectious animal diseases such as BSE, or gelatin impurity due to sloppy slaughter/manufacture procedures.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 9:58 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what exactly are we going to do with all of the bones and hooves?
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:58 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The framing of the Engadget story (and the above-the-fold text in this FPP) is so committed to vegan-baiting that it's a completely dishonest representation of the research. A material created by yeast, even yeast modified with human genes, is a very different thing from a directly human-sourced material.
posted by RogerB at 9:58 AM on July 18, 2011 [28 favorites]


I am not a vegan, but it stupid and inane to assume that vegans will be overjoyed or delighted about this.

If you believe that eating an animal is cruel and robs it of dignity, the same ought to be true of humans.
posted by koeselitz at 9:59 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and that Engadget article is really, really stupid.
posted by koeselitz at 9:59 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd love to eat some Gummi Me candies.

Pick your nose?
posted by Wolfdog at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm afraid I have to agree about the article's tone- but unfortunately, posting a single link to a full scientific paper in a journal of biology tends to press the 'boring' button in some people's minds.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 10:01 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ethics is only one reason to become vegan and in any case why can't humans be an unethical source of food?

Stupid framing.
posted by DU at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


And what exactly are we going to do with all of the bones and hooves?

Well, we're still filtering aquarium water, refining sugar, making petroleum jelly and painting right?
posted by griphus at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you believe that eating an animal is cruel and robs it of dignity, the same ought to be true of humans.

Wha? The problem with eating animals isn't that it "robs it of dignity", it's that you have to KILL THE ANIMAL. Presumably we're not going to be farming humans for gelatin.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I always thought the green Jello tasted...familiar.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:02 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wha? The problem with eating animals isn't that it "robs it of dignity", it's that you have to KILL THE ANIMAL.

I'm not vegan and not remotely conversant with the philosophy, but wouldn't that imply that it's okay to eat dairy or unfertilized eggs?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:03 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bill Cosby tried to market this stuff way back in his days as a Jello spokesman but people wouldn't eat it because it tasted funny.
posted by any major dude at 10:03 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


me & my monkey: “Presumably we're not going to be farming humans for gelatin.”

Of course, given China's stellar history of worker's rights and general high standard of living, I'm sure farming people for gelatin would never happen there.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also:

me & my monkey: “Wha? The problem with eating animals isn't that it "robs it of dignity", it's that you have to KILL THE ANIMAL.”

As Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish points out, you're not describing an argument for veganism. You're describing an argument for vegetarianism. Veganism is different, and insists on the non-consumption of all animal products – cheese, butter, honey, etc. No animals die to produce these products.
posted by koeselitz at 10:07 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another proposed advantage the paper presents over farming animals (or humans) for gelatin is that by using yeast as a growth medium, 'scaling up production...by DNA manipulation and bioengineering-related techniques' is possible. So essentially, you can make much greater amounts of gelatin without having to go through the tedious process of subduing, slaughtering and butchering the donor mammal.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2011


I don't eat gelatin for ethical reasons (vegetarian, not vegan, if it matters). Just wanted to say that I'd eat the heck out of some recombinant yeast-derived gelatin.
posted by statolith at 10:08 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


"People are vegan!" is what we always say at my house. There are all kinds of logistical reasons why a trade in human flesh (for example) would be a bad idea, but I don't think human genes in yeast would be specifically not vegan. A bad idea, probably.

I'm not vegan and not remotely conversant with the philosophy, but wouldn't that imply that it's okay to eat dairy or unfertilized eggs

Different vegans would answer this differently. Some people would say that animals should be as autonomous as possible - that they should not serve human purposes and that they cannot given consent to do so (thus some vegans don't keep pets). Some people would say that given the current realities of egg production (and the always-realities of dairy production) it can't be done without harming and killing animals. So some vegans might say that if you had a pet hen and snuck the occasional egg it would be basically okay, for example, since the hen basically lived a free, pet-type life.
posted by Frowner at 10:11 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Re: the vegan thing -- If the animal product is given willingly, it's vegan. Otherwise it's exploitative. That's why breastfeeding is vegan. So yes, if the human material for this gelatin is harvested from humans giving informed consent, then this is totally vegan.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:11 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always been mildly irked by the lableing of Gelatin and other animal by-products as "unethical."

If we're going to accept the foregone conclusion that cattle will continue to be slaughtered for food, I'd posit that we actually have an ethical imperative to make sure that the animals' other remains are put to the best and most productive use possible.

As far as I know, animals are not slaughtered for gelatin (which comes from skin and bones left over from pigs and cattle that are being slaughtered for their meat and/or leather). The economics of raising and slaughtering an animal just for gelatin simply do not bear out, when we have a glut of animal carcasses that can be used to produce gelatin after they have been harvested of their hides and edible meat products.

Gelatin production is a drop in the bucket compared to the overall amount of meat that we consume. My back-of-the-envelope calculations seem to indicate the US alone could cut beef consumption by 90% and still have enough cows left over to produce enough gelatin for the entire planet at current consumption levels.

We would need to consume disgusting quantities of gelatin before the slippery slope argument could take hold. Simply put, that's not gonna happen.

So, go ahead vegans. Eat all the gelatin you want*. Animals are not being harmed because of it.

I understand the rationale behind not consuming meat -- it's far and away the #1 driving force behind the slaughter of animals. However, the use of by-products left over from animals slaughtered for meat is, if anything, a noble goal.

*And, also it isn't like animals aren't harmed during other industrial/agricultural process that do not necessarily include animal products as an output. I've heard several convincing arguments (as a non-vegetarian/vegan) that flour is not, and can never be considered a vegan product, simply because there is no way to effectively harvest wheat without killing large numbers of rodents, even though it does not inherently (ahem. intentionally) contain any meat products.
posted by schmod at 10:13 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


disgusting quantities of gelatin

Please never use this phrase again.
posted by hermitosis at 10:15 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a former vegan, the vegan-baiting here is really silly. There are probably a few "purity" vegans who object to any animal products in any form. A larger number IME are "minimal-harm" vegans who don't necessarily object to transgenic organisms if it results in fewer animals slaughtered. I don't know of vegans who object to transgenic human insulin as an alternative to insulin derived from humans.

Of course, there's a segment that's also rabidly anti-GMO which is where I suspect the objections would come from.

HZSF: I'm not vegan and not remotely conversant with the philosophy, but wouldn't that imply that it's okay to eat dairy or unfertilized eggs?

Eggs and dairy can involve some horrific living conditions, and factory farming of both usually involves some degree of participation with the meat industry as roosters don't produce eggs and bulls don't produce milk. As one very humane goat cheese producer explained it, "you gotta do something with the kids."

middleclasstool: So yes, if the human material for this gelatin is harvested from humans giving informed consent, then this is totally vegan.

In this case, the "material" is likely something that's been cloned and cultivated as a plasmid.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:16 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've just been informed that my phrasing and links might be inferred as a deliberate attempt to bait/troll vegetarians and vegans. My apologies- it's my first post on MeFi and I wasn't aware of the potential subtextual meanings.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 10:17 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


*And, also it isn't like animals aren't harmed during other industrial/agricultural process that do not necessarily include animal products as an output. I've heard several convincing arguments (as a non-vegetarian/vegan) that flour is not, and can never be considered a vegan product, simply because there is no way to effectively harvest wheat without killing large numbers of rodents, even though it does not inherently (ahem. intentionally) contain any meat products.

In a sense, nothing is vegan - nothing can be produced without being enmeshed in a system that harms and kills animals. Roads aren't vegan. City gardens aren't vegan.

As far as gelatin goes - gelatin is used in a lot of commercial foods. The market for meat and the market for gelatin are entwined; profit on gelatin goes right back to the meat industry. I'd rather not have my food dollars directed that way - to the extent that it's possible in the world of big agribusiness.

I admit that there are many annoying vegans, but I am constantly frustrated by the various jesuitical arguments that are mustered against the desire to minimize harm to animals.
posted by Frowner at 10:17 AM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


"If you believe that eating an animal is cruel and robs it of dignity, the same ought to be true of humans."

Of course, in this case no one would be eating humans. We would be eating yeast that had some human DNA. That is radically different from eating humans or human parts. So, actually this would address all of the major objections that form the foundations of veganism.

Assuming that the yeast would be able to replicate itself with the human DNA (and I don't see why this wouldn't be possible), this wouldn't require any kind of "human farming" beyond the initial donation of the DNA.

"If we're going to accept the foregone conclusion that cattle will continue to be slaughtered for food"

This is not something that any vegan or vegetarian would accept. Indeed most nutritionists and doctors are likely to argue that we should be eating way less meat and thus slaughtering way fewer animals. So, even in non-vegetarian circles slaughtering as many animals as we do, is not a foregone conclusion.
posted by oddman at 10:18 AM on July 18, 2011


schmod: “So, go ahead vegans. Eat all the gelatin you want. Animals are not being harmed because of it... And, also it isn't like animals aren't harmed during other industrial/agricultural process that do not necessarily include animal products as an output.”

Did you notice how you flatly contradicted yourself here?
posted by koeselitz at 10:20 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Shit, I know someone who works at an organic nursery supply company, and they have vegan clients who refuse fertilizers made with livestock manure for chrissakes. They're completely against animal husbandry (a luxury that petroleum provides them, but that's another issue) altogether. The idea eating gelatin simply to help use all of the slaughtered animal is not in their vocabulary.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Frowner: “I admit that there are many annoying vegans, but I am constantly frustrated by the various jesuitical arguments that are mustered against the desire to minimize harm to animals.”

That's a very fine way to put it. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian myself, but it consistently annoys me to hear this "well, you can't avoid being a brutal murderer, so WHY TRY?" stuff. If people don't want to perpetuate cruelty, isn't that a noble thing?
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 AM on July 18, 2011 [8 favorites]


schmod: As far as I know, animals are not slaughtered for gelatin (which comes from skin and bones left over from pigs and cattle that are being slaughtered for their meat and/or leather). The economics of raising and slaughtering an animal just for gelatin simply do not bear out, when we have a glut of animal carcasses that can be used to produce gelatin after they have been harvested of their hides and edible meat products.

When you boycott all animal products including gelatin, you're chipping away at the market value for that animal's carcass and thereby making it less of a profitable endeavour for those in the meat industry, which is also heavily subsidized, but that's for another thread on another day.
posted by triceryclops at 10:22 AM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


oddman: In terms of genetics, this isn't a big deal. Pharmaceutical companies and researchers have been cloning human genes into single-celled organisms since the 70s. Industrial production at a scale to match or beat slaughterhouses is another question.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:28 AM on July 18, 2011


I can still remember my amusement when my then-high-school-aged sister mentioned to me that as part of her going-veg plans, she was going to get all her protein from Jello. I explained briefly where gelatin comes from, and bought her a subscription to Vegetarian Times.

When you boycott all animal products including gelatin, you're chipping away at the market value for that animal's carcass and thereby making it less of a profitable endeavour for those in the meat industry

Or, you are just encouraging them to find an even more disgusting way of extracting every last bit of economic value from that carcass. Yeah, I blame vegetarians for mechanically separated meat products (j/k).
posted by nomisxid at 10:29 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


J-E-L-L-Ofal
posted by Smart Dalek at 10:30 AM on July 18, 2011


I'm vegan and weirded out by the seemingly widespread assumption that I'm sitting around jonesing for gelatin. We've got gelatin-free marshmallows already and agar is a fine vegetarian substitute. I don't see a need for this product.
posted by something something at 10:31 AM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I skimmed the scientific paper in the last link (but didn't read the Engadget article). I think the authors chose human collagen genes, rather than cow, because gelatin is sometimes used as a stabilizer in vaccines and kids can develop immune hypsersentive reactions to it.

This is probably a tiny fraction of the global market for gelatin, which is mostly used in food products (where, as far as I know, it does not cause immune reactions - viruses like BSE are another story, of course). But if you're going to go to all the trouble of developing an in vitro expression system, you might as well go for the upscale market - you can charge a LOT more for injectable-grade anything.

I think the food aspect is kind of a tangent, as far as the research paper is concerned. I guess once you've got your vat of yeast growing, you might as well claim as many uses as you can for it (for patent purposes, if nothing else), but I think it will be a long time before vat-grown gelatin becomes cheaper than animal-byproduct gelatin. The technology for animal processing has been optimized for speed and cost over many decades and the raw material is basically free, whereas recombinant processing is still fiddly and high-tech.
posted by Quietgal at 10:31 AM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's a very fine way to put it. I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian myself, but it consistently annoys me to hear this "well, you can't avoid being a brutal murderer, so WHY TRY?" stuff. If people don't want to perpetuate cruelty, isn't that a noble thing?

I've never been vegan, but I've been a vegetarian for a good number of years and my feeling is that non-vegan/vegetarian people feel like they're being criticized by your ideological choices. Which makes a certain amount of sense, I suppose, in that my choice to be vegetarian is borne of various ethical/moral choices I've made, but it does get kind of annoying that whenever I go to a party and look for a sandwich that doesn't have turkey on it someone inevitably has to try to explain to me why I'm a hypocrite.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:32 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I confess I'm no biochemist, but one of the supposed advantages of the product, (aside from ethical concerns), would be greatly reduced likelihood of immunosuppressive reactions, contracting infectious animal diseases such as BSE, or gelatin impurity due to sloppy slaughter/manufacture procedures.

That sounds reasonable, but it seems like it would open pathways for CJD or kuru or other cannibalistic-related illnesses.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2011


I'm vegan and weirded out by the seemingly widespread assumption that I'm sitting around jonesing for gelatin.

I'm neither vegan nor vegetarian, but I've pretty much given up all gelatin since internalizing, if you will, the contents.

Also, I remember being LOLVEGETARIANS as a kid and just now I noticed how similar that stance is to LOLATHEISTS. "You define yourself by an absence--your world still revolves around meat/god!" Yeah...no. You are projecting.
posted by DU at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


And what exactly are we going to do with all of the bones and hooves?

HOOF FIGHT!

/me throws hoof at Stagger Lee, starts singing Louie Louie.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:34 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


My own vegan reaction:

Sounds great. If it doesn't cause allergic reactions or something, I'd totally eat it. And it can be tricky to find vegan marshmallows. Vegan gummi bears are pretty easy to track down, though, actually.

Reactions to comments in this thread/to the article:

Frowner: "Different vegans would answer this differently."

Absolutely, and applies to everything else as well. Please take my answers as being from my own perspective, not Speaking For All Vegans.

From the article: "Vegans are going to be super-conflicted by this one."

... Why?

koeselitz: "[It is] stupid and inane to assume that vegans will be overjoyed or delighted about this. If you believe that eating an animal is cruel and robs it of dignity, the same ought to be true of humans."

... What? Eating something with human DNA in it is not the same thing as eating a human. And eating animals is cruel because it, you know, kills them, not because it "robs them of dignity", as far as I'm concerned.

Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "I'm not vegan and not remotely conversant with the philosophy, but wouldn't that imply that it's okay to eat dairy or unfertilized eggs?"

Yes, abolutely, if the animals involved are raised ethically and not killed afterwards. Most dairy and unfertilized eggs are produced by animals living in conditions of horrible torture, and even those who are not are usually killed when they are no longer productive.

koeselitz: "Of course, given China's stellar history of worker's rights and general high standard of living, I'm sure farming people for gelatin would never happen there."

If that happened, I would refuse to eat such gelatin, but given how it appears to be made this seems highly unlikely.

middleclasstool: "So yes, if the human material for this gelatin is harvested from humans giving informed consent, then this is totally vegan."

Yup, I would agree. (Although see what KirkJobSluder said, in his comment above.)

koeselitz: "Veganism is different, and insists on the non-consumption of all animal products – cheese, butter, honey, etc. No animals die to produce these products."

Veganism is a set of choices based on ethical guidelines and considerations, not a Religion With Inflexible Rules. I eat honey. I ate the eggs from my cousin's pet chickens.

scmod: "So, go ahead vegans. Eat all the gelatin you want. Animals are not being harmed because of it ... the use of by-products left over from animals slaughtered for meat is, if anything, a noble goal."

It's still supporting the industry. The profits go to the people selling the bones/hooves/etc. from the animals they have killed. You can think of my opposition to gelatin as partially an industry boycott, if you like.

I will admit another reason is they "ugh, eating a corpse" reaction, which is not something I would have for a recombinant DNA product.

koeselitz/Frowner/et al: "... it consistently annoys me to hear this 'well, you can't avoid being a brutal murderer, so WHY TRY?' stuff. If people don't want to perpetuate cruelty, isn't that a noble thing?"

Well, I certainly agree.

something something: "... agar is a fine vegetarian substitute."

As is pectin. But I could potentially see the value of a mass-produceable yeast product.
posted by kyrademon at 10:35 AM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


seems like it would open pathways for CJD or kuru or other cannibalistic-related illnesses

It seems likely that since the initial yeast-production will have the whole concept's credibility riding on it, (and has to succeed if the creators are to gain a foothold), the least they could do is make sure that their one human donor is healthy first.

Moreover, I'm not sure that genetic modification allows for disease transmission in the way you seem to suggest.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


That sounds reasonable, but it seems like it would open pathways for CJD or kuru or other cannibalistic-related illnesses.

They're not cloning PrPc.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:38 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have been saving my fingernails for years in the hopes of making vegan gelatin out of them. That I have yet to find a vegan who is interested hasn't stopped me.
posted by novalis_dt at 10:40 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Most dairy and unfertilized eggs are produced by animals living in conditions of horrible torture

As someone who grew up in a very rural area and worked on farms, I can tell you that the blanket statement on dairy being produced "by animals living in conditions of horrible torture" was created by someone who hasn't stepped near a cow pile in their life. It's a joke at best.

and even those who are not are usually killed when they are no longer productive.

And we should do what with animals instead? Take them up as pets?

I won't deny that egg-laying chickens are largely raised in torturous conditions.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:42 AM on July 18, 2011


If the animal product is given willingly, it's vegan

For you, maybe. I've had vegans tell me that products made from things that animals willingly discard are not ok. The problem, then, is that there's no official definition of veganism.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 10:43 AM on July 18, 2011


malusmoriendumest: It seems likely that since the initial yeast-production will have the whole concept's credibility riding on it, (and has to succeed if the creators are to gain a foothold), the least they could do is make sure that their one human donor is healthy first.

I don't know if a human donor is involved anymore. I'm willing to bet that the collagen gene in question has been cultivated in yeast or E. coli for at least a decade.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2011


novalis_dt, fingernails and toenails are actually made of keratin, not gelatin.

But, um, you could still use them for ... I don't know, you could make a boat with it or something ...
posted by kyrademon at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2011


"The problem, then, is that there's no official definition of veganism."

It's a feature, not a bug.
posted by kyrademon at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


I admit that there are many annoying vegans

Cites, please. This one is as slow a softball as I can throw.

I'll start: Daniel Negreanu. I can't stand that guy. Now, Dennis Kucinich. There's a keeper.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:48 AM on July 18, 2011


Mister Fabulous -- I'm not going to defend to the death a tossed off comment I made on metafilter, but ... a lot of cows are raised in CAFOs these days. By definition, CAFOs keep animals in confined areas with little to no vegetation for days or even years, depending on the operation. It really doesn't sound humane.

This doesn't mean it is true for all dairy operations, by any means.
posted by kyrademon at 10:50 AM on July 18, 2011


The problem, then, is that there's no official definition of veganism.

Why is it a problem if a person's eating habits do not exactly correspond with another person's eating habits?
posted by DU at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


triceryclops: "When you boycott all animal products including gelatin, you're chipping away at the market value for that animal's carcass and thereby making it less of a profitable endeavour for those in the meat industry, which is also heavily subsidized, but that's for another thread on another day."

Although the carcass does indeed have a non-zero value, consider just how vastly the supply exceeds the demand. Like I said earlier -- worldwide gelatin consumption is approximately 660 million pounds per year. North America's share of that is approximately 132 million pounds, with about 25-40% of that coming from cattle by-products. So, about 46 million pounds of gelatin are produced from cattle in North America.

To contrast, the United States alone (not including Mexico or Canada which are rolled into the above figure) consumes 28 billion pounds of beef each year, and about another 2 billion is exported. It's not even a drop in the bucket in terms of the total volume of meat slaughtered, or the profits of the industry.

Sure, not all of the animal can be used to produce gelatin. After all, the meat and hides are stripped and used for other purposes. However, let's be extremely generous and say that 100 pounds of live cattle can produce 1 pound of gelatin when all is said and done. That's still only 15% of our annual slaughter, or approximately 1 in 6 cattle being used for gelatin production. (Pessimistically assuming that Canada/Mexico produce no gelatin, that a very small portion of the animal can actually be used for gelatin production, and that cattle not used for beef/leather (ie. dairy cows) cannot be used to produce gelatin).

If anything remotely resembling normal market forces are at work here, this endeavor is at best minimally profitable for the meat companies. If anything, they might even sell them at a loss so that they can shift the burden of disposing of the scraps onto another entity.

Also, notice how we've slipped from "It kills animals!" to "It funds an industry I don't like!" I don't love the meat industry either, but I can think of no conceivable link that causes gelatin consumption to result in the slaughter of additional animals, even if it's (lightly) lining the pockets of the industry.

If you want fewer animals to be killed, don't eat meat. I certainly won't judge you for that! Beyond that, though, it's incredibly unlikely that the consumption of meat byproducts is resulting in the harm of animals -- either directly or indirectly. Choose your battles wisely.
posted by schmod at 10:53 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


schmod: “So, go ahead vegans. Eat all the gelatin you want. Animals are not being harmed because of it... And, also it isn't like animals aren't harmed during other industrial/agricultural process that do not necessarily include animal products as an output.”

Did you notice how you flatly contradicted yourself here?


I don't see it. There are two points being made:

1. Consuming gelatin has zero bearing on the demand for dead animals, because we have a surplus of it and it's a natural byproduct of meat processing. If your goal as a vegan or vegetarian is merely to not contribute to the demand for dead animals, then you can eat gelatin without fear of violating your own ethical code.
2. Ironically, there are many foodstuffs whose production inevitably kills a lot of animals that are nonetheless considered safe for vegans and vegetarians to eat, probably out of ignorance of realities of the process. Thus vegetarian and vegan demand for flour is tantamount to vegetarian and vegan demand for dead animals, even if no animal products end up in the flour itself.

The implicit conclusion is that, from a consequentialist standpoint, being willing to eat flour and not being willing to eat gelatin is ethically inconsistent, which makes sense to me assuming that the facts are all there.
posted by invitapriore at 10:56 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also to Mr. Fabulous --

"And we should do what with animals instead? Take them up as pets?"

Well, obviously this is not practical on current scales. That's why I'm, you know, vegan. If it was just about eating meat, I'd be vegetarian. But I also don't think animals should be placed in a position where we use them as commodities and then kill them when they're no longer productive. If using them as commodities necessitates that, then I think we shouldn't be using them that way.

To schmod --

"Also, notice how we've slipped from 'It kills animals!' to 'It funds an industry I don't like!'"

That ... isn't actually a slip. I actually have more than one reason for doing stuff.
posted by kyrademon at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And we should do what with animals instead? Take them up as pets?

Defending a thing by pointing out that there's no good solution to a problem created by a thing...isn't a great defense of the thing. Just sayin'!
posted by Pants McCracky at 10:58 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't believe this has so quickly and thoroughly devolved into yet another thread in which vegans are called stupid and uninformed. It's so tiresome.

There are lots of reasons not to eat animal products. Everyone has different things they're okay with. And basically 100% of the vegans I know have done extensive research and have very good reasons for the dietary choices they make. Me? I'd just rather not put hooves and tendons in my mouth, dude. 'Cause that's gross.
posted by something something at 11:00 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Why is it a problem if a person's eating habits do not exactly correspond with another person's eating habits?

The issue was that people were talking past each other when making assumptions about what a word meant, not so much a judgement about eating habits.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:02 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thought so. One of the three genes is probably same one mentioned in this 1987 article. The innovation of Duran et. al. appears to be the combination of three necessary genes with some elements to promote expression of all three genes. I'm not exactly certain how this is an industry-changing paper other than journalists on a slow news day are rolling with it as such.

invitapriore: The implicit conclusion is that, from a consequentialist standpoint, being willing to eat flour and not being willing to eat gelatin is ethically inconsistent, which makes sense to me assuming that the facts are all there.

The complicating factor in all this is that as much as 50% of cultivated farmland in the United States is devoted to animal feed. With the exception of honestly free-range(*) livestock, the resource use (in water, energy, and acres of cultivated land) gets worse the higher up you eat on the food chain.

(*) The terms "free-range" and "organic" have been widely subverted.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:05 AM on July 18, 2011


Was the use of agar off the table immediately?
posted by sawdustbear at 11:05 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and even those who are not are usually killed when they are no longer productive.

And we should do what with animals instead? Take them up as pets?

This is seriously weak defense. If you have no plans to ethically clean up after yourself, then maybe don't make the mess?
posted by DU at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2011


Oy, and we're here at *this* argument again. OK ...

Guys, VEGANS KNOW that a lot of the products they use and foodstuffs they eat also have dead animals in them. VEGANS ALSO KNOW that some of the stuff they do is gestural and has no real economic impact. IT'S NOT A BIG SECRET THAT YOU KNOW AND WE DON'T.

The choice has to do with drawing a variety of personal ethical lines, considering the difference between industries that inevitably involve animal slaughter and those that simply do it by traditional and for convenience and can be changed, acknowledging that participating in some degree of animal death is inevitable because of the society in which you live and weighing what in your life is a necessity versus what is a violation of your ethics you simply cannot ignore, considered and targeted economic boycott, and yes, as I have admitted, also a certain degree of personal disgust at certain ideas or practices which is by definition therefore based on emotion rather than cold intellect ...

But it's not because we just haven't figured out the big secret that you have.
posted by kyrademon at 11:06 AM on July 18, 2011 [11 favorites]


schmod: “So, go ahead vegans. Eat all the gelatin you want. Animals are not being harmed because of it... And, also it isn't like animals aren't harmed during other industrial/agricultural process that do not necessarily include animal products as an output.”

me: “Did you notice how you flatly contradicted yourself here?”

invitapriore: “I don't see it. There are two points being made: 1. Consuming gelatin has zero bearing on the demand for dead animals, because we have a surplus of it and it's a natural byproduct of meat processing. If your goal as a vegan or vegetarian is merely to not contribute to the demand for dead animals, then you can eat gelatin without fear of violating your own ethical code. 2. Ironically, there are many foodstuffs whose production inevitably kills a lot of animals that are nonetheless considered safe for vegans and vegetarians to eat, probably out of ignorance of realities of the process. Thus vegetarian and vegan demand for flour is tantamount to vegetarian and vegan demand for dead animals, even if no animal products end up in the flour itself. The implicit conclusion is that, from a consequentialist standpoint, being willing to eat flour and not being willing to eat gelatin is ethically inconsistent, which makes sense to me assuming that the facts are all there.”

If one is concerned that flour production kills animals as an inevitable result of the process, then one ought to be concerned that gelatin production kills animals as an inevitable result of the process. I guess it's possible to insert something like "well, those animals were going to die anyway!" but that's not really a rational way to look at the economy of it; buying anything creates demand, by the very nature of the transaction, so you can't really claim that purchase is a neutral activity where demand is concerned.

As it is, the argument reads like this: 'gelatin production doesn't harm animals; and besides, there are lots of other things that harm animals, so what's the difference?' The difference is that, if we actually care about avoiding harm, we should try to be clear on the fact that 'gelatin production doesn't harm animals' is actually code for 'gelatin production doesn't harm animals in any way that actually bothers me personally.'
posted by koeselitz at 11:08 AM on July 18, 2011


1. Consuming gelatin has zero bearing on the demand for dead animals, because we have a surplus of it and it's a natural byproduct of meat processing. If your goal as a vegan or vegetarian is merely to not contribute to the demand for dead animals, then you can eat gelatin without fear of violating your own ethical code.
2. Ironically, there are many foodstuffs whose production inevitably kills a lot of animals that are nonetheless considered safe for vegans and vegetarians to eat, probably out of ignorance of realities of the process. Thus vegetarian and vegan demand for flour is tantamount to vegetarian and vegan demand for dead animals, even if no animal products end up in the flour itself.


One is the product of an industry that exists in order to breed, cultivate, and then destroy animals. The other is the product of an industry that, due to carelessness or efficiency, inadvertently kills animals. They aren't the same thing.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I confess I'm no biochemist, but one of the supposed advantages of the product, (aside from ethical concerns), would be greatly reduced likelihood of immunosuppressive reactions, contracting infectious animal diseases such as BSE, or gelatin impurity due to sloppy slaughter/manufacture procedures.

That's precisely the point of this, and it has nothing to do with veganism, which is poor framing and a total derail. From my reading of the point of the research: Gelatin is widely used in making drugs that have a time-release component, because the gelatin breaks down slowly. But a measurable number of patients have adverse reactions to gelatin. Making gelatin from human sources eliminates this problem.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:12 AM on July 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, notice how we've slipped from "It kills animals!" to "It funds an industry I don't like!" I don't love the meat industry either, but I can think of no conceivable link that causes gelatin consumption to result in the slaughter of additional animals, even if it's (lightly) lining the pockets of the industry.

Well, the argument is more "I don't want to support killing animals. I won't provide support to a industry that kills animals as its purpose." Which isn't, you know, a slip so much as a logical development of a stand.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:13 AM on July 18, 2011


Astro Zombie: Well, to be fair, the press release (hidden behind a button) does take the framing of scaling up to industrial production of gelatin. Both seem to be trolling the "frankenfood" premise of the research for the sake of publicity without noting that rubicon was crossed over a decade ago.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:16 AM on July 18, 2011


"Also, notice how we've slipped from 'It kills animals!' to 'It funds an industry I don't like!'"

That ... isn't actually a slip. I actually have more than one reason for doing stuff.


Ah, that's a good point. I didn't think about the fact that you're still giving money to CAFOs even if your purchase doesn't compel them to kill more animals than they would otherwise.

The difference is that, if we actually care about avoiding harm, we should try to be clear on the fact that 'gelatin production doesn't harm animals' is actually code for 'gelatin production doesn't harm animals in any way that actually bothers me personally.'

Well, I would interpret it more as, "given the realities of the meat processing industry, the same amount of harm will be done to animals whether gelatin is produced or not," which is different, I think. There are reasonable arguments to be made for why it's still not ethically consistent for a vegan or vegetarian to purchase products made with gelatin.

The choice has to do with drawing a variety of personal ethical lines, considering the difference between industries that inevitably involve animal slaughter and those that simply do it by traditional and for convenience and can be changed, acknowledging that participating in some degree of animal death is inevitable because of the society in which you live and weighing what in your life is a necessity versus what is a violation of your ethics you simply cannot ignore, considered and targeted economic boycott, and yes, as I have admitted, also a certain degree of personal disgust at certain ideas or practices which is by definition therefore based on emotion rather than cold intellect ...

That's reasonable, and for what it's worth, I am effectively vegetarian (I will very occasionally eat free range meat from farms whose practices I'm familiar with), but to be honest my ethics with regards to meat consumption is fundamentally unemotional, which colors my arguments here. Just a personal difference, I guess.
posted by invitapriore at 11:17 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


For me, it's turning into a classic case of a somewhat sensationalistic press release followed by even worse reporting. I'm trying not to touch the issue of ethics because I think that battleground is going to come down to pro-/anti-GMO, which is orthogonal to the issue of veganism as most vegans eat bread and drink non-isinglass beer.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2011


One is the product of an industry that exists in order to breed, cultivate, and then destroy animals. The other is the product of an industry that, due to carelessness or efficiency, inadvertently kills animals. They aren't the same thing.

I agree. I think I was thinking of my justification for eating the meat that other people are throwing away, which is something I do, but that doesn't lead to any more money being given to an awful industry, as opposed to actually purchasing something from them.
posted by invitapriore at 11:22 AM on July 18, 2011


Vegans aside, how would this affect kosher or halal certification?

Did I read the article? Of course not.
posted by gimonca at 11:25 AM on July 18, 2011


koeselitz: "If one is concerned that flour production kills animals as an inevitable result of the process, then one ought to be concerned that gelatin production kills animals as an inevitable result of the process. I guess it's possible to insert something like "well, those animals were going to die anyway!" but that's not really a rational way to look at the economy of it; buying anything creates demand, by the very nature of the transaction, so you can't really claim that purchase is a neutral activity where demand is concerned."

Right, except I pointed out that buying gelatin does not create additional demand for animal carcasses. If that were the case, we could have that argument, but your underlying assumption is demonstrably false.

It's not that animals are not being harmed in a way that doesn't bother me. It's that animals are not being harmed because of your decision to consume gelatin.

I also pointed out that the severe disparity between the availability of gelatin-producing components and the demand for gelatin means that you're not really putting very much money into the meat industry's pockets. Refusing to consume gelatin for this reason is nickle-and-dime ideology, and unlikely to accomplish anything, even on a micro scale. (Sort of like how buying a Prius is a hilariously ineffective way of saying "fuck you" to the petroleum industry.)

If the meat industry is making any money off of gelatin, it's a miniscule amount. These are bits of the animal that are being thrown away, and we throw away so many animal bits that they're effectively worthless.

I'm sorry to have derailed with the flour thing. It's only tangentially relevant.
posted by schmod at 11:27 AM on July 18, 2011


> Vegans aside, how would this affect kosher or halal certification?

That's an interesting question. You would see different opinions. In both Islam and Judaism, human flesh is of course strictly off-limits. But, this is not obtained by killing humans. I would hazard a guess that many Islamic scholars would tend towards checking off the "halal" box because ostensibly the genetic material is not coming from excrement or semen.

Where exactly is the genetic material coming from?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 11:28 AM on July 18, 2011


Humans should consume human products, just as cows shouldn't eat cows - that's what leads to things like Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease.

If you want to bait vegetarians, make candied bacon.
posted by theora55 at 11:29 AM on July 18, 2011


I also pointed out that the severe disparity between the availability of gelatin-producing components and the demand for gelatin means that you're not really putting very much money into the meat industry's pockets. Refusing to consume gelatin for this reason is nickle-and-dime ideology, and unlikely to accomplish anything, even on a micro scale. (Sort of like how buying a Prius is a hilariously ineffective way of saying "fuck you" to the petroleum industry.)

But, again, economics isn't, at least for a lot of people, a big factor. It's much more a decision about participation-- I'm attempting to remove myself, to whatever extent possible, from a system which I find disagreeable, whether or not my removal affects the system's functioning.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


schmod: Well, I think this entire chain is pretty much off-topic for the reasons I've already stated. I agree that abstaining from trace ingredients in food (of which, there are many) doesn't hurt the meat industry much. But on the other hand, it does support the businesses that make a living off of producing alternatives.

theora55: They didn't clone PRNP.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:32 AM on July 18, 2011


Recently, I was shortlisted to participate in a human-stage clinical trial. The brief noted that many religions have objections to consuming bovine/porcine gelatin, and that the medication being tested was in a gelatin capsule. In addition to the advantages of preventing reactions, being on a bigger scale and preventing infectious disease contraction, the possibility already mentioned about people of Muslim/Judaic faiths being able to consume this product might be useful.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 12:01 PM on July 18, 2011


Boo. I thought it'd be melting down prisoners' bones.
posted by davemee at 12:04 PM on July 18, 2011


KirkJobSluder: "schmod: Well, I think this entire chain is pretty much off-topic for the reasons I've already stated. I agree that abstaining from trace ingredients in food (of which, there are many) doesn't hurt the meat industry much. But on the other hand, it does support the businesses that make a living off of producing alternatives. "

The FPP was specifically framed in the context of ethics. The title. The summary. The tags. 1 of the 2 links provided.

If you don't like the direction of the conversation, take it to MeTa.

My argument is that Gelatin production in its current form is perfectly ethical, and does not result in animals being harmed. However, because not consuming gelatin is part of the vegan canon, people are very upset by this revelation.

I don't mind the inconsistency that vegans do/consume things that inadvertently harm animals. They strive to do their best, and to minimize harm as best as you possibly can; sometimes there are unavoidable side-effects or consequences. I get that, and it's admirable, really. What I don't understand is why they oppose processes/products that use animal-based inputs, even though those processes are no more closely linked to the harm of animals than, say, the production of wheat.

In fact, I didn't even mention that refusing to consume gelatin is ineffective because it only produces a small effect in the grand scheme of things. I said that refusing to consume gelatin has literally no measurable effect, even on a very small scale.
posted by schmod at 12:48 PM on July 18, 2011


In fact, I didn't even mention that refusing to consume gelatin is ineffective because it only produces a small effect in the grand scheme of things. I said that refusing to consume gelatin has literally no measurable effect, even on a very small scale.

It does have a measurable effect, though, in that whatever fraction of the money you paid for a product that goes towards the gelatin producer is supporting an industry whose actions do have a measurable effect on the harming of animals. Even if, as you say, gelatin is sold at a loss, you're still reducing their losses, and therefore giving them more capital that they could potentially use to cause more harm than they do currently.
posted by invitapriore at 1:18 PM on July 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


schmod: The FPP was specifically framed in the context of ethics.

The ethics of gelatin produced by yeast modified with human DNA. Certainly could you condescend to actually addressing the (albeit stupid) ethical conundrum actually raised by the post rather than grinding an irrelevant axe about gelatin vs. wheat production?

What I don't understand is why they oppose processes/products that use animal-based inputs, even though those processes are no more closely linked to the harm of animals than, say, the production of wheat.

Well, you could start by reading the text that you quoted from me. To explain it again, veganism is also a positive ethos that supports the development of alternate cuisines, ingredients, and methods of production. I admit, I'm not economically hurting anyone when I buy Couch Guitar Straps products. I am, however, supporting a company that AFAIK is doing the right thing (and makes good products and has great customer service to boot).

This is in addition to the negative ethos of minimizing harm. And again, the "what about wheat/corn/rice/soya" argument falls short in that human dietary needs make up only a fraction of the land that's cultivated in North America, with about half dedicated to animal feed. Switching to vegetarianism does result in less land cultivated for your dietary needs in most cases. It's certainly a win in terms of water conservation.

Note that I can't really call myself a vegan or vegetarian these days. Also, many vegetarians are more accepting of minor byproducts like gelatin.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:33 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am not a vegan, but it stupid and inane to assume that vegans will be overjoyed or delighted about this.

Well, one main objection to dairy/eggs/meat is that they are obtained coercively (i.e., without the animal's consent). Under this criterion, breastfeeding counts as "vegan." Recombinant DNA from humans was almost certainly volunteered with consent, so this seems like it should count as well. Of course, there are as many reasons for veganism as there are vegans.

All that said, yes, the framing of this story is kind of absurd, as AZ pointed out above; the primary benefits of this system would be medical, not alimentary.

Agar shots are a little weird though
posted by en forme de poire at 1:40 PM on July 18, 2011


I have serious doubts that this human gene and yeast gelatin could meet kosher or halal certification. I would like if some knowledgeable Jews and Muslims would contribute to the discussion.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 1:55 PM on July 18, 2011


"However, because not consuming gelatin is part of the vegan canon, people are very upset by this revelation."

Yes, of course, this must be entirely the reason anyone is disagreeing with you. :P
posted by kyrademon at 2:37 PM on July 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Beijing University? First I've heard of it.
posted by klue at 3:26 PM on July 18, 2011


Vegans are going to be super-conflicted by this one.

I am no longer vegan, regrettably, but I am vegetarian and doing the best I can as far as leather and gelatin and so forth is concerned, but even if I was still vegan, and this process was using actual melted-down human bones and skin from actual people who were at one stage alive - why waste it? - I still wouldn't be even the slightest bit conflicted, and Joseph Volpe at Engaget better open up wide because his smug little intro means he's gonna be getting a mouthful of my own personal tainted gummy worm.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:17 PM on July 18, 2011


Why try to provoke the vegans? What did they ever do to you? Upset because they make you question the morality of your diet?

Vegans are vegans for all sorts of reasons. Some for animal rights, as you elude to here, but some for health reasons or some for religion.

Since you weren't able to figure it out yourself, and had to come here to make bait vegans with the story, I'll help you out.

A vegan like me, who is vegan because I don't want to participate in crueler than cruel industrial farming practices, well we don't have a problem. As long as the person who is donating the whatever is doing it of their own free will, then go ahead, eat your own boogers for gelatin for all I care.
posted by mikehipp at 4:55 PM on July 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


My view comes from a misspent late-adolescence in microbiology. DNA is DNA, and yeast-produced collagen is no more animal than E. coli-produced insulin or fish genes in tomatoes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:31 PM on July 18, 2011


I want gummies made out of these but in people shape, not bear shape. And I want them to come in peach through chocolate color (not flavor, gummie chocolate would be icky) to represent human skin tones instead of gummie colors.
posted by NoraReed at 6:13 PM on July 18, 2011


-On behalf of the United Nations and the people of earth I hereby unconditionally surrender to our human gelatin gene overlords. Please advise us of your demands.

-Jelly

-Could you be a bit more specific..jelly where? and how much? and...

-Jelly

-err...what flavour.

-Well it's fucking Jelly flavour innit. It's fucking human dna inserted into yeast cells flavour

-You mean like...Marmite.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:32 PM on July 18, 2011


schmod wrote: If you want fewer animals to be killed, don't eat meat. I certainly won't judge you for that! Beyond that, though, it's incredibly unlikely that the consumption of meat byproducts is resulting in the harm of animals -- either directly or indirectly. Choose your battles wisely.

And the free marketeer in me says that if your problem isn't that animals are killed, but that they're treated inhumanely and then killed, buy humanely raised meat products. In the market, your dollars can make a difference. They do not when they merely sit on the sidelines.
posted by wierdo at 9:25 PM on July 18, 2011


I confess I'm no biochemist, but one of the supposed advantages of the product, (aside from ethical concerns), would be greatly reduced likelihood of immunosuppressive reactions, contracting infectious animal diseases such as BSE, or gelatin impurity due to sloppy slaughter/manufacture procedures.-- malusmoriendumest

malusmoriendumest, the exact opposite is true. Read theora55's link above. There are societies that eat the brains of their dead relatives, as well as cannibalistic societies, that have high incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
posted by eye of newt at 10:50 PM on July 18, 2011


We would need to consume disgusting quantities of gelatin before the slippery slope argument could take hold.

I just had a horrifying realization about why that slope is so darn slippery.
posted by hattifattener at 11:16 PM on July 18, 2011


that have high incidence of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

As already illustrated, inserting human DNA into yeast does not make it 'human' material in the same way as you would eat from slaughtering and consuming a human. Further, you cannot contract an infectious disease without consuming an infectious agent or prion.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 5:09 AM on July 19, 2011


eye of newt: Once again, RTFA. Let me explain this again from the top. Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease is caused by a misfolded PnP which is usually introduced by ingesting brain matter. The researchers in this study did not clone PnP. There's no way for the yeast in question to produce PnP naturally. For the yeast to start producing PnP would require spontaneously changing hundreds of base pairs. Thus, the risk of yeast producing PnP is astronomically low.

The risk of a conventionally-produced gelatin product containing PnP is also low because of safety practices designed to minimize the risk of CJD. But sloppy slaughterhouse practice has introduced misfolded PnP into the food supply in the past.

So again, no PnP, no risk of CJD.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:32 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


99 comments and no "I don't think we're ready for this jelly"?

METAFILTER. I AM DISAPPOINT.
posted by elizardbits at 7:07 AM on July 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay, my knee jerk addled brain finally sees--it is really just a modified yeast derived gelatin. Apparently there's a company in San Francisco developing this for use as a vaccine stabilizer medicine and pill capsules.
posted by eye of newt at 7:33 AM on July 19, 2011


And the free marketeer in me says that if your problem isn't that animals are killed, but that they're treated inhumanely and then killed, buy humanely raised meat products.

Absolutely. If I eat beef, I much prefer it's grassfed, and free ranged and non-antibiotic/hormone-bloated and from a local farmer.

But it is kinda expensive, and difficult for urban shoppers who don't own cars. I'm all for it if it reduces the amount of meat you eat. ;)

"May I always have a friendly feeling toward all the beings of all the worlds. May the sacred stream of compassion flow eternally from my heart toward distressed and afflicted living beings."

cheese, butter, honey, etc. No animals die to produce these products.

You're out of your element, Donny. Where do you think veal comes from? The calves of ... dairy cows.

The faces of free-range farming.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:56 AM on July 19, 2011


I'm 100% human, myself.
posted by Gelatin at 12:00 PM on July 19, 2011


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