Every generation seems to be appalled at some of the prior generations’ moral and ethical decisions they have made. Racism is still persistent in much of the world, and slavery still exists in far too many countries. There were virtually no laws to protect the environment before 40 years ago and still today, oil is exempt in CERCLA and RCRA because of how ubiquitous it can be found in the environment, only non de-minimus spills are treated. I know that the next generation will look down on our decisions to have factories of death that supply most of us with our proteins.In 50 years the thought of slaughtering animals will be laughable.
Our factory farming practices are not sustainable. Technological breakthroughs will have to happen in order to feed the population. And as many technological breakthroughs, this will lead to an ethical breakthrough as well.
Today, it takes 23 calories of grain to produce 1 gram of beef. Diseases are rampant due to our factory farming practices. And while government subsidies cut into cost of meat, demand for meat will double within 35 years and governments will not be able to continue to subsidize any longer.
One idea is to grow our proteins. Growing meat has many advantages as they are free of pathogens and does not entail a vast machine of misery and death. With today’s technology, growing meat is more energy efficent that our standard practices. It takes 3 calories of energy to grow 1 calorie of meat, The only concern is the monetary cost of producing these meats with the . Today it costs $40 to produce a gram. However, companies like Memphis Meats are looking to reduce the price of the meats production and make this a commercially available in about 5-15 years time.
I see this technological breakthrough not disrupting industry as much as say self driving cars. Yes, peoples’ jobs will be replaced, but we will get rid of the death machine and have a sustainable source of protein. As long as they have similar quality, I don’t see people fighting on a mass scale to as say the backlash to self-driving and electric cars due to reasons as them not replacing the fun and control of driving a car as well as removing jobs. Also, the meat industry will not lose jobs on the same magnitude as drivers.