Peter Singer at The New York Review of Books:
The most fundamental question to ask about Pacelle’s thesis is whether the humane economy can take us beyond piecemeal reforms to a world without speciesism. As long as we continue to eat animals, that seems doubtful, for it is difficult to respect the interests of beings we eat, especially when we are under no necessity to eat them. This daily practice taints all our attitudes toward animals. Can the humane economy change that?
Pacelle introduces us to several entrepreneurs who are trying to change it. Plant-based products with the taste and “mouth feel” of meat are already in supermarkets and restaurant chains, offering a product that is not only cruelty-free, but healthier and more environmentally friendly than meat. Further down the track, if costs can be reduced we may be eating meat that comes from a factory without ever being part of an animal. In 2013 Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, served a group of journalists the world’s first lab-grown hamburger. In a Brooklyn laboratory, Andras Forgacs’s company Modern Meadow uses a different process to achieve the same end. Forgacs visited Pacelle in Washington, D.C., bringing a “steak chip,” a kind of lab-grown beef jerky. Pacelle, a vegan for thirty years, had to think hard before deciding to take a bite. He does not enthuse about the taste, but adds that real beef jerky wouldn’t do much for him either.
There is broad support beyond the animal movement for reducing meat consumption. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report Livestock’s Long Shadowacknowledged that livestock, as a result of their digestive process, are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transport sector.7 One study has even suggested that farmed animals are the most significant drivers of climate change.