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Public perceptions of the ethics of in-vitro meat: determining an appropriate course of action

Agricultural Communications Documentation Center (ACDC)
Laestadius, Linnea I. (main author), Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA
Journal article
Publication Date:
Agricultural Communications Documentation Center, Funk Library, University of Illinois
Subject Term:
animal health, biotechnology, communication methods, ethical issues, meat, perceptions, public attitudes, public opinion, sustainability, health, framing, bioethics, in vitro meat, cultured meat
19 pages., Via online journal., While in vitro animal meat (IVM) is not yet commercially available, the public has already begun to form opinions of IVM as a result of news stories and events drawing attention to its development. As such, we can discern public perceptions of the ethics of IVM before its commercial release. This affords advocates of environmentally sustainable, healthy, and just diets with a unique opportunity to reflect on the social desirability of the development of IVM. This work draws upon an analysis of ethical perceptions of IVM in 814 US news blog comments related to the August 2013 tasting of the world’s first IVM hamburger. Specifically, I address three primary questions: (1) How does the public perceive the ethics of IVM development? (2) How acceptable is IVM to the public relative to alternative approaches to reducing animal meat consumption? and (3) What should all of this mean for the ongoing development and promotion of IVM? Ultimately, it is argued that there is a strong need for facilitation of public dialogue around IVM, as well as further research comparing the acceptability of IVM to other alternatives.