Lab-grown meat protein is becoming possible, even if not yet practical. But the idea has been around for a century. Scientists successfully kept a chicken heart alive outside of its own body in the early part of the twentieth century. Winston Churchill himself dreamed of “escap[ing] the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium” (1931). This technology became fully realized first in science fiction. From the radio dramas of Arch Oboler to the dystopian futures of The Space Merchants and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake trilogy, these science fictional accounts of animal-less meat each explore different ways in which the problems of meat have been solved.
In this presentation, Galusky explores how such fictional solutions match up with the real life aspirations of current in vitro meat creations, developments, and advocacy. In particular, drawing on science & technology studies and philosophy of technology, he suggests that these fictional accounts raise important questions for current proponents of this new technology and a society that would support it: What kinds of controls are we willing to assert on food animals and on ourselves? And what kinds of protein machines do we want to create?