Bleeding Cows for Profit

A vegan objection to “cultivated meat”

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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A dark brown cow standing in a field, looking towards the camera.
Vishnu, a bovine resident at PreetiRang Sanctuary, in June 2016. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

As most of my regular readers know, I am vegan for ethical reasons. I am convinced that my fellow animals are sentient beings who feel pain and fear, and cannot consent to being exploited for human use. I therefore avoid consuming or otherwise using animal products to the best of my ability, in order to minimize avoidable harm.

I do recognize that it is not practical or possible for everyone on Earth to go vegan. However, I feel that many of the reasons US-Americans give for consuming animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products boil down to excuses or virtue signaling rather than genuine need or hardship.

In that regard, I am dismayed to see some vegan entrepreneurs promoting the exploitation of cows for human profit. The company they’re promoting, Omeat, hooks cows up to blood apheresis machines and extracts plasma from their bodies on a weekly basis. (Omeat refers to this non-consensual process as “donating”.) They then use this plasma to make so-called “humane” and “slaughter-free” meat.

I learned of this company from posts on LinkedIn, one of the few social media sites I’m currently active on. Some fellow vegans and animal rights advocates got into somewhat heated discussions over the ethical implications of this process. Those promoting Omeat — including Jennifer and Pavle Stojkovic — said that this product is not intended for vegans, but for the vast majority of people who eat animal flesh. They claimed that the production of cultivated meat is the quickest and best way to save animals. Pavle chided critics for being absolutist, amongst other things, then started blocking us. I’ve uploaded screenshots of some of the relevant threads for reference.

One of those critics, Michele Simon JD MPH, wrote an article for Forbes this week, voicing many of our questions. One of our greatest concerns was the fate of Omeat’s cows once they are “spent” of plasma. We were unable to get straight answers to this question from the company’s representatives.

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch