Author Jeff Sebo supports cell-ag development
Jeff Sebo teaches animal studies, environmental studies, bioethics, medical ethics, philosophy, and law at New York University. He also directs the Animal Studies M.A. program there. His latest book is Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (Oxford University Press, 2022), which examines how our use of animals contributes to pandemics, climate change, and other threats, as well as how these threats contribute to nonhuman suffering and death.
Sebo’s previously co-authored books include Chimpanzee Rights (Routledge, 2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (Routledge, 2018). He is also currently working with nonprofit organizations like the Legal Priorities Project, Minding Animals International, and Sentient Media. If you’d like to write something for Slaughter-Free America or want to be interviewed for the website, e-mail JonHoch87@gmail.com.
SLAUGHTER-FREE AMERICA: When and how did you first learn about cultivated meat?
JEFF SEBO: I started learning about cultivated meat around 2010 as part of my work on food, animal, and environmental ethics.
SFA: How did you come to support cultivated meat?
JS: I support plant-based and cultivated meat because I see their potential for disrupting the conventional meat industry.
SFA: Once cultivated meat is cheaper than and indistinguishable or superior in taste to slaughtered meat, what sort of impact might it have on animal agriculture?
JS: If the cultivated meat industry achieves these milestones, then it will further accelerate the end of conventional animal agriculture. The only question is whether and when the industry can achieve these milestones.
SFA: What would you say to animal activists who are opposed to cultivated meat?
JS: I agree that there are good reasons to be wary of this industry, since there are many risks and harms involved in its development. But when we weigh the risks against the benefits, I think that the upshot is that we should develop this industry carefully, not that we should not develop it at all.
SFA: Would you eat cultivated meat, or is it just something you want available for others?
JS: I would definitely try cultivated meat. Whether I continue to eat it would depend on the social and psychological effects of my eating it. For instance, would eating it cause me to see conventional meat as food again and make it harder for me to be vegan otherwise?
SFA: Do you think activists should expend energy and resources to help advance cellular agriculture, by pushing for more government funding for cultivated-meat research?
JS: Yes, I think that advancing plant-based and cultivated meat should remain a high priority for advocates. But since these industries will not succeed in a vacuum and might not succeed at all, we need to continue to invest in other, related kinds of food, animal, and environmental advocacy too.