Meat alternatives for a nutrition transition - "Getting started?!"

Common forms of animal husbandry feature severe negative impacts on the environment and the climate and contribute significantly to exceeding various planetary boundaries. Working conditions in animal production and processing are partly, common animal husbandry conditions predominantly highly problematic. Starting from this diagnosis, the working group examines the role of meat alternatives for a nutrition transition, i.e. a transformation towards environmentally and socially sound, climate and animal-welfare friendly nutritional patterns.
Consuming meat alternatives is an easy, low-cost dietary change. It could therefore act as a starting point towards changing attitudes and dietary behavior at the population level. But will it also contribute to a comprehensive, lasting and sustainable transformation of dietary behavior?
The working group researches how consuming meat alternatives can be transformatively effective, i.e. what systemic conditions support and enable that consuming meat alternatives does not perpetuate meat consumption but rather leads to a sustainable transformation of dietary behavior. To this end, the WG focuses on two specific meat alternatives: In-vitro meat and meat from conservation grazing.
Both products promise a more environmentally, climate, socially and animal welfare friendly meat consumption. In contrast to other (e.g. plant- or insect-based) alternative, they meet the demand for "real meat" and "real enjoyment". At the same time, the two alternatives feature important differences: in-vitro meat is conceived as technical, artificial, and sometimes ‘unnatural’, while meat from conservation grazing is marketed as traditional and ‘natural’.
The group's work contributes to research regarding a nutrition transition. Addressing the transformative potential of product alternatives is relevant regarding issues around shaping social transformations. Finally, in so far as in-vitro meat and meat from conservation grazing seem to ‘fit’ different conceptions of sustainability, the group will also engage with issues around such different conceptions.

Working Group Spokesperson

Dr. phil. Lieske Voget-Kleschin

Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Department of Philosophy

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Dr. phil. Frederike Neuber

University of Rostock, Department of Philosophy, Institute for Anglistik and American Studies — Environmental ethics, strong sustainability ethics — Climate Ethics — Technology assessment, techno-moral change — Argumentation Theory — Moral philosophy, motivational and transformative reasons —

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Working group members