One other student brought a related point to the discussion: "Maybe it is because this is Oregon, but every other person seems to be a vegan or a vegetarian." Which means a further lowering of demand for beef.
So, given the distinct possibility of industrially produced beef that will not be a result of killing cows, what would happen to those animals?
I have always believed that the instructor is not necessarily someone who has all the answers. Nope. As an instructor, my goal is to provide the context for students to think and raise questions. And, to a large extent, because I am a few steps ahead of them, and on a slightly higher ground, I have even seen and heard those questions before.
Those very questions are tackled by this philosopher, who reminds us that cows as we know them are not products of evolution:
Modern cattle owe their existence to selective breeding by human beings: they are very different animals from the wild oxen from which they are descended.We created the cows.
We are now working on creating beef in the lab.
So, do we have any ethical obligation to make sure that cows will continue to exist, like how we work on protecting the pandas?
There is no correct answer here. We can bring in our own sets of different values and reach different conclusions. The important task here is to ask those questions.