Are vegans really confused by this?
“Vegans are going to be super-conflicted by this one. Researchers at Beijing University’s College of Life Science and Technology are pioneering a four-legged creature friendly method for cranking out the 300,000 tons of gelatin produced each year. Their solution: people. “
Read the full article at Human-derived gelatin spares the livestock, confuses vegans
It seems to us that there is no conflict relating to veganism. But there certainly are reasons that people who are concerned about the effects of GMO products would be confused, or rather disturbed.
“Vegans are generally opposed to Genetically Modified anything. GMO foods have all sorts of problems environmentally, and politically. Most vegans wouldn’t have a problem with the creation of this product from an ethical standpoint since no animal or human is being harmed. But being a new GMO, there will probably be animal tests later as such products require extensive testing and animal testing is very common for new products for humans.
It’s also important to note that Gelatin is not a necessary product. It’s a byproduct of animal agriculture that exists mostly because businesses have left over hooves and cartilage from animals slaughtered primarily for their flesh and skin. Businesses make some money from it, but it’s by far a small part.
Other vegan products exist that perform the same functions as animal derived gelatin. But they currently cost more due to gelatin being a cheap almost waste product of the animal ag industry. Agar is a very good substitute for most uses. Fruit pectin is another good substitute for some purposes like jelly making.
As with most every animal product, there is no actual need for it in modern society. The use of these products is driven by economic politics.”
There was more discussion after this post so I would like to add that Genetic Engineering in and of itself is not always a bad thing. It’s simply powerful. As with any powerful technology, it can be very dangerous and needs to be used with caution. Our current track record with GMO food products isn’t particularly inspiring.
It’s also important to note that if we can produce more products like the protein that makes up gelatin without using animals, that’s one more product we won’t need to use animals for. And that’s a good thing. In the case of Gelatin, it’s likely that it will continue to be animal derived at least in part as long as there is a need to do something with hooves and cartilage. Unless the new process can reduce costs below that of processing the animal parts into gelatin, the animal parts will still be used. But this could drive up costs of finished animal products slightly either way, and thus reduce animal consumption in some small way.
Genetic Engineering as a science may help us create a beautiful new world. Or a horror. We probably can’t, and shouldn’t stop it entirely. But we have some say in the matter of how it’s used.