It’s still many years from appearing on the menu of your local burger joint, but the first lab-grown patty debuted this summer and it has generated some meaty discourse. Science journalist Marta Zaraska contributes to the debate in this August 2013 essay in The Atlantic.
- Zaraska elaborates a number of differences between conventional and lab-grown meat. What are they? Which of the health problems caused by conventional meats would be eliminated with lab-grown meats? What is Zaraska’s own position about lab-grown meats? How and where does she express her position? Point to specific examples from the text.
- Zaraska’s essay employs many qualifications, such as “…may help lower risk of heart disease” and “… most likely heme iron free.” Do the numerous qualifications discredit her argument for you? Why or why not? Are there any assertions stated with confidence and without qualification? How do you receive these statements differently than those that are heavily qualified? Point to specific examples in your comparison.
- Zaraska relies on interviews with Professor Mark Post, the developer of the lab-grown meat and other authorities. Who are Zaraska’s other sources? How does she establish their credibility and that of the essay overall? Is the picture they present sufficiently comprehensive and well-balanced? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.
- Would you consider eating lab-grown meat? Why or why not? What factors other than nutritional content would influence your decision? How would you weigh all of these factors against each other and why? Write an essay addressing these questions, and use Zaraska’s essay as your They Say. Do additional research, if necessary, in order to support your ideas.