Accepted Paper:

Removing animal bodies in the post-animal bioeconomy  

Author:

Arianna Ferrari (ITAS/KIT)

Paper short abstract:

The post-animal bio-economy has recently emerged as a label to indicate the use of tissue engineering and synthetic biology to produce animal food products such as meat or egg without animals. In this paper I would like to explore the ethical dimensions of removing animal bodies in the visions of this field.

Paper long abstract:

The post-animal bio-economy has recently emerged as a label to indicate the use of recent developments in life sciences, in particular in the fields of tissue engineering and synthetic biology, to produce animal food products such as meat, egg and milk proteins, shark fin, and gelatin without animals, to overcome the negative environmental impacts of the production and consumption of animal proteins. Using plants or via processes of fermentation start-up companies, mostly located in the Silicon Valley, promise to deliver safe, good and sustainable food such as cultured meat (meat grown from stem cells in a petri dish using tissue engineering technologies) or animal-free egg white (developed from proteins in the test-tube) without having to kill animals and with a significant reduced impact on the environment.

The vision of the post-animal bioeconomy is not only dominated by efficiency as the core response to sustainability in the food domain, but is also based on a deep re-conceptualization and material transformation of the animal bodies: the goal is still to produce parts of animal bodies (meat, eggs, milk and so on), going through different modification of some parts of these bodies (cells) or using parts of other beings (plants), but without involving entire animal bodies. In this paper I would like to explore the ethical dimensions of removing animals in the visions of the post-animal bioeconomy and how we can think about uses and commodification of life beyond what has traditionally been viewed as an "animal" at all.

Panel T104
Enhancement Cultures and Future Bodies