Some food for thought for the more philosophically inclined...
You may have noticed in the news the successful production of a burger in the lab, with no involvment from a living animal.
This morning, I ended up in a conversation with people in my department about this. All were meat eaters, yet about half said that if the technology were to become cheap and common, they would completely stop eating meat that had been killed. They asked me why I would continue killing animals if I didn't have too.
This worried me, and set me thinking: is there ever likely to come a time when it becomes socially unacceptable to kill animals for food, given that an alternative source of 'meat' exists? I can, reluctantly, envisage a future where this happens.
Rather than reacting with blind hostility and going on a rant about antis and vegetarians, the disconnect between urban and rural values, and the tragedy of the Nanny state, I think it would be worth us thinking very carefully about the lines of argument we should present in favour of killing animals for food when an alternative exists.
I suspect this issue will slowly grow over years, if not decades, and I think that a parrallel could be drawn with smoking. I am not a smoker, and personally hate it, but feel very uncomfortable with the extent to which personal choice has been steadily removed. Yet it would have been very hard to predict the way things have developed, from a 1950s perspective.