This is part two of the Impossible Burger food fight with our tasters first impressions and candid conversation on the ethics of lab-grown meat versus farm-raised meat. Find part one here.
But once the cameras quit rolling, our deep discussion into the merits of meat vs. vegetable patties began in earnest.
IKE: Do you think the Impossible Burger is a more ethical option than a traditional hamburger?
JEFF: Yes. Nothing died to make this burger.
IKE: A cow didn’t die, sure. But the farmlands needed to produce these ingredients are often acres of monoculture where wildlife species are suppressed. On a ranch, you have biodiversity. Wildlife is allowed if not encouraged to thrive.
JEFF: That may be so, but most the meat this country consumes aren’t the cows you see on the side of the road. They are cows that were raised in a box somewhere else.
IKE: Understood. I’m not crazy about the process of mass producing meat, but unfortunately my pocket book dictates that if I want to eat meat, I have to buy what’s cheap.
JOEL: There’s no question there’s a lot benefits to eating plant-based foods vs. industrially produced livestock. Unfortunately, it does come down to economics. There are a lot of people whose diets would suffer significantly without access to that cheap meat.
IKE: I don’t think it’s reasonable to ask an entire populace to embrace an “ethical” diet at the risk of poverty.
JEFF: I’m vegetarian, but I don’t believe everyone needs to be. As a nation, we do consume way too much meat, however.
IKE: So what’s the solution?
JOEL: Like anything else in a capitalist market, you can’t expect the producers to bear all the weight, nor the government, nor the consumers. All change needs to be driven by all those sectors working in concert. Until consumers decide to eat less meat, until the producers respond to that decision, until the government devises a plan to incentivize healthy diets and production practices, it’s hard for me to claim one diet is more ethical than the others.
IKE: I’ll be honest, I like the Impossible Burger as a sandwich. I don’t see anything impossible about it as it fails to provide a believable substitute for meat, but I would be willing to replace a couple meat sandwiches a week with something like this. The problem is research. Every time science provides us a “healthy” alternative, research seems to prove the alternative is worse than what it replaced. Look at diet soda, sugar substitutes and margarine.
JOEL: I can’t believe it’s not butter.
JEFF: I can’t believe it’s not murder (before finishing the last bite of his Impossible Burger). For me, it’s about being more ethical. I don’t believe in killing animals, so I don’t eat them. While that may not mean my food is produced as ethically as possible, I believe it’s more ethical than meat.
JOEL: I think what the Impossible Burger symbolizes is more ethical, and that’s having more plant-based options for our nutrition.
IKE: If the problem with meat is the death of animals, do you see lab-grown meat as a viable and ethical option?
JEFF: Absolutely. I think it’s the future.
JOEL: I’m down. Sure. Why not?