Editor’s Note: The views expressed in the following column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the views of the Collegian or its editorial board.
I recently read Dr. Menon’s comments on Haley Candelario’s article about the JBS Global Food Innovation Center. Immediately after, I drafted a letter to the editor on Menon’s surprising mischaracterization of what happens in a slaughter facility. After thinking for a while, though, I decided to delete the letter and start over. It seemed like a waste of time to point out that “harvest” is a weak euphemism for slaughter and that killing someone who doesn’t want to die can’t possibly be done in an ethical way. CSU students know that and I don’t think they’ll allow themselves to be misled by Menon.
I’d like to invite readers to join me in taking a step back and looking at this situation as objectively as possible. From this point of view, it appears that it will be a waste of resources for CSU to build this new facility and the consequences of that mistake will hit the College of Agricultural Sciences students the hardest.
Allow me to explain with a thought experiment. Imagine for a moment that you live in the year 1905. You invest your life savings in a horse and buggy and start a moderately successful transportation business. Three years later, though, the first Model T rolls out of the factory and it’s only a matter of time before your business is obsolete. You’d be angry, right? I know I would. You’d probably be especially angry at the person who talked you into buying the horse and buggy. And right now, CSU is trying to sell animal science majors a horse and buggy.
As a nutrition and food science student, I’ve taken a special interest in cellular agriculture: the practice of using microbes like yeast to manufacture food in a controlled and efficient setting. The most popular example of this is lab-grown or “cultured” meat, which has recently been praised in the media for requiring fewer resources to produce and for being more ethical than traditional meat. Additionally, it involves growing only meat instead of a whole animal with bones and organs and it won’t be impacted by diseases like the bird flu. Based on all this, the question isn’t whether cultured meat will undercut the market price of traditionally produced meats, but when.
Once that happens, consumers will go for the cheaper option and it won’t be long before we see cultured meat turn traditionally produced meat into the 21st century’s horse and buggy. What will animal science graduates do then? What will they do when they walk into an interview and discover that their $40,000 degrees can’t get them a job? If CSU truly has agriculture students’ best interests at heart, the school should invest in teaching and researching cellular agriculture, not production methods that will soon be obsolete. Why should CSU prepare students for careers in a dying field when it could train those same students to become pioneers capable of changing the world?
CSU prides itself on innovation and it’s time for the university to live up to that reputation. Otherwise, they risk sending debt-ridden students out into the world with obsolete skills.
Health and Human Sciences; Food Science & Human Nutrition; Nutrition and Food Science student
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