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BEYOND THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE

Producing real meat without killing animals.

BY KAREN DAWN

“If the new meat being grown is called ‘cell-based’ or ‘cultured,’

shouldn’t traditional meat be labeled ‘slaughtered?’ ” The question from the audience got a good laugh and prompted a fun jab back from panel moderator Ezra Klein, who called us a “roomful of hippies.”

That was last year, in Berkeley. This year’s Good Food Conference, held in early September, was across the bay at San Francisco’s five-star Palace hotel. When I tried to book a room, prices were more than $600 per night. Winky Smalls and I opted for the nearby Kimpton, known to give five-star service to fur-kids.

The Good Food Conference is put on by the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit group that supports companies trying to replace animal agriculture with truly sustainable meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood production that doesn’t involve killing billions of animals per year.

Though the meat industry’s dire effect on our planet final-

ly got some attention after the release of the 2014 documentary film Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret, the mainstream media have largely failed to catch on. Only as the Amazon burns have more outlets picked up on the issue, noting that the fires were started by cattle ranchers clearing land, and by soybean farmers growing crops to feed cattle.

Some people, aware of livestock’s contribution to climate change, are moving toward eating “only fish.” As whales wash up on beaches with plastic in their stomachs, we ban plastic bags and plastic straws but try to avoid noticing that the animals’ stomachs are empty of all but the plastic garbage. Scientists suggest the plastic leaves no room for food.

But even with no plastic in sight, animals that live in our oceans are starving. In a colony of almost 40,000 penguins in Antarctica, all but two chicks starved to death in 2017.

A “clean” meatball produced by Memphis Meats

Karen Dawn, who has written for publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post, is the founder and director of DawnWatch and the author of Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals.

THE PROGRESSIVE | 47

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