You are what you Eat : Meat, novel Protein Foods, and Consumptive Freedom

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Animal husbandry has been accused of maltreating animals, polluting the environment, and so on. These accusations were thought to be answered when the Dutch research program "Sustainable Technological Development" (STD) suggested a government-initiated conversion from meat to novel protein foods (NPFs). STD reasoned that if consumers converted from meat to NPFs, non-sustainable animal husbandry would no longer be needed. Whereas STD only worried about how to construct NPFs with a meat bite, this paper draws attention to the presumed, but problematic, role for the government in the execution of the STD suggestions. Although vegetarians take the credo "You Are What You Eat" literally and accuse non-vegetarians of being beasts, a different interpretation is more promising: eating meat has become a leading thread in many lifestyles and narratives of self-identity. Since the freedom to follow your own lifestyle or consumptive preferences is a core value in contemporary affluent societies, government intervention in the formation and satisfaction of consumer preferences for meat dishes is a precarious issue. Hence, NPFs might be interesting for a small fraction of society, but we had better not expect too much from a government-initiated conversion from meat to NPFs as the answer to animal husbandry's problems.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-196
    JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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