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In Voyager, we primarily see various gourds and other alien vegetables in Neelix's kitchen, and most of the food we see replicated is vegetarian, like an instance of Paris ordering tomato soup, though Paris also does at one point express a craving for pepperoni pizza, and Neelix in another episode regrets to inform the Markonian visitors that has has run out of "marsupial surprise".

In ST VI, the dinner scene shows mostly unrecognizable blue food, probably a pasta of some sort, and nothing identifiable as meat. Similarly, in the galley scene later in the same movie, most of the food seen is either vegetable or baked goods. ST IV has the pizza and beer scene, and of course they have to take the pizza to go, so we don't know if Kirk likes pepperoni (Memory Alpha asserts that Kirk, despite claiming to like Italian, was unfamiliar with the size of a full pizza).

I can't remember much eating in TNG (Captain Picard seems to subsist solely on Earl Grey tea IIRC); what I do remember humans eating was mostly unrecognizable, but definitely not meat.

The main source of meat-eating in the canon is in DS9 (which in general has a lot of societal differences, like the existence of real money, from other ST series): Sisko's father is a Louisianan, and has a Creole restaurant in New Orleans, which from our sensibilities would almost certainly include fish and shellfish, but maybe not. In the episode of Worf's "bachelor party" and wedding we see plenty of meat, which O'Brien and Bashir certainly don't turn their noses up at, but it is a Klingon ritual after all (however Bashir proceeds to order a steak from Quark when it looks like the wedding's off).

So, while there are a few references to meat sprinkled through the canon, primarily recently-written canon (DSY/VOY/ENT) and often in reference to one or more alien races, it seems that animal protein is a rarity for humans through most of the canon. I can think of two reasons:

  • Most of the canon takes place aboard ship; even for senior officers, meat aboard a starship 1000 light-years from the nearest industrialized planet, would be a rare delicacy.

  • The human race, in its societal turnaround from near-self-destruction after meeting the Vulcans, largely lost their taste for red meat, focusing on different, possibly less environmentally harmful, forms of agriculture.

Earlier canon seems to indicate more the latter, while episodes and movies written after Roddenberry's death seem to take more license and the lack of meat is due to practical diufficulties. Anyone have any official sources on this topic?

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Does replicated meat still count as meat in the vegetarian/omnivore debate? –  Xantec Dec 14 '12 at 20:46
    
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Humans stopped eating meat? I doubt it. Maybe in space, but when on a planet with free-running meat (I mean animals) if they are not endangered, they're dinner! –  Thaddeus Dec 14 '12 at 21:13
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Kirk, TOS, "The Trouble with Tribbles": "My chicken sandwich and coffee. This is my chicken sandwich and coffee." –  Keith Thompson Dec 15 '12 at 2:04
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3 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

From the question:

In the episode of Worf's "bachelor party" and wedding we see plenty of meat, which O'Brien and Bashir certainly don't turn their noses up at, but it is a Klingon ritual after all (however Bashir proceeds to order a steak from Quark when it looks like the wedding's off).

That alone seems fairly definitive to me. Long-time vegetarians have some difficulty digesting meat, and are unlikely to order a steak.

Within canon, there is a possible contradiction:

  • In TNG 1x07, Lonely Among Us, Riker claims that humans eat only replicated meat (However, this may have simply been to placate the Anticans).
  • In TNG 4x12, The Wounded, O'Brien claimed that his mother used real, unreplicated meat when cooking. He also enjoys bacon and eggs for breakfast.

That said, a lot of different meats were eaten:

  • In TOS 2x13, The Trouble with Tribbles, Kirk ordered a chicken sandwich from the food synthesizer. He was quite dismayed to get tribbles instead.
  • In DS9 4x06, Starship Down, Sisko asks Kira to get the hot dogs from Quark's (and has to reassure her that no, it isn't a heated canine).
  • In VOY 6x24, Life Line, Dr. Zimmerman orders pork chops, but his assistant brings him a salad instead, claiming it's more healthy.
  • In DS9 6x07, You Are Cordially Invited, this was Bashir's meal: Steak with baked potato
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I've skipped over the stews and soups (which could just be flavored), and the time-travel episodes into the past, that Memory Alpha lists –  Izkata Dec 14 '12 at 21:11
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In Sins of the Father Picard serves real caviar from Earth, implied to be from his personal stock. There is also "burned, replicated bird meat" served in this episode. –  Xantec Dec 14 '12 at 21:16
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Fricandeau stew was supposed to be Chief Miles O'Brien's favorite food, and was supposed to contain meat. Considering Miles was raised on "real food" it seems likely he would want actual (replicated) meat and not just flavoring. –  Xantec Dec 14 '12 at 21:18
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There was also the scene in Broken Bow of Enterprise where Trip, Archer and T'Pol where having dinner for the first time and Trip made a joke about wanting to see how T'Pol would "Tackle the spare ribs" –  Monty129 Dec 14 '12 at 22:52
    
So the answer overall is most likely a bit of both; meat's rare in space (no pun intended), and overall, humans eat less of it, though we are still true omnivores and do enjoy a good steak or hamburger when we can get it. –  KeithS Dec 28 '12 at 22:36
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I grew up on TNG in which i remember Riker saying that they no longer killed animals and Picard saying they didnt exploit them anymore.
And i understood that anytime i saw them eat meat it was replicated meat, or would allow it in the postion of honoring another species traditions. I always assumed they were vegetarian and no longer exploited animals and never questioned it - until branching out into other star treks that is. Like how Dr Phlox has a small zoo of lab animals on the Enterprise. Which i felt contradicted what i heard picard and riker say in TNG. But i assumed huamsn may still be too young then. But then in the new movie Into Darkness- they have Tribbles as lab animals.

I have a hard time believing that as a more evolved and ethical species- we would not become vegetarians. ESPECIALLY considering our ties with Vulcans and how Vulcans showed us so much more than we knew of life.
In reality- i think their ways would have taken more of a hold on us. And helped shape our eviolution.
It just makes sense that they we would be deeply culturely impacted by them.

It is perfectly logical to assume we became vegetarian and no longer explited animals when our missions in space made us see all life as worthy of freedom and happiness. But...not many seem to hold this same logical view. Even the most die hard trekkies ive met dont agree with me and always site examples of them eating meat (ignoring that it was always relicated or in honor of another species tradition)

My opinion then is that even those that watch Star trek- are not as evolved and advanced as the characters they imagine in the future. Most people simply do not want to face that their own practices are illogical, irrational, or less evolved than they could be.

It would be like showing a culture of slavery an image of a future with better versions of themselves where they no longer kept slaves- they would not believe it or allow it to be their underdtanding of what being "better" would entail. fictional story or not- People do not like to face certain things in themselves.

So i believe the answer to this is a matter of opinion- and a matter of what each individual can reflect from themselves.

I think thats how gene Roddenberry would have wanted it....

(taken from an interview with Roddenberry)

Roddenberry: It would have to be similar to the philosophy of Star Trek because Star Trek is my statement to the world. Understand that Star Trek is more than just my political philosophy. It is my social philosophy, my racial philosophy, my overview on life and the human condition. I have been able to comment on so many different facets of humanity because both Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation have been so wide-ranging in the subjects they’ve covered.

My philosophy about the use of animals has changed. I am not yet a vegetarian, but I don’t feel comfortable as a meat eater knowing a lot of the things that go on to put meat on the table.

Alexander: I remember the character of Commander Riker on the current series commenting on how it was no longer necessary for animals to be raised for food. Twenty-fourth century technology could create an analog of meat so that all the things associated with bringing meat to the table were no longer necessary.

Roddenberry: I look forward to that day coming. We would have our juicy T-bone steak without having to kill the animal. I feel different way about domestic animals now. I am a bit queasy about the way we raise our chickens and beef cattle and so on. It’s really ugly.

Alexander: You’re talking about factory farms?

Roddenberry: Yes, it is just not a good thing. I also look forward to when we will contact other races and other life forms. What will our attitude be toward them? If we are not careful, we may see sentient life that is so different we won’t realize it is sentient. Because the creatures we meet don’t act and interact as we do, we might consider them valuable — much as many people disdain dolphins and whales today.

Alexander: I was just thinking that we are not particularly good with the other sentient beings on our own planet.

Roddenberry: On the hand, we are making marvelous progress. We humans are really growing rapidly now. It is largely a product of television and communications. Our attitudes are changing with remarkable speed. I am glad to be in drama, because I think that I, along with other writers, can make great changes in our world because of the power of sound and image that is often as real to people as their own lives.

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While the early episodes of TNG were very idealistic in this and many other regards - we eventually see occasions in TNG and DS9, at least, where it is obvious that humans still eat some amount of "real" meat (could you imagine Sisko's father using replicated ingredients?) –  HorusKol Jun 2 '13 at 21:51
    
Enterprise happens in the mid 22nd century, while TNG takes place in the mid 24th century. Even if you considered Phlox's use of blood worms and other animals for medical purposes (almost never in a way that actually harms the animal) exploitative, that doesn't preclude the TNG statements from being correct. But, yes, I agree with you and Gene. One day, it's likely that eating any slaughtered meat will be as unpalatable to most people as animal abuse is today. There's already some backlash against veal and animal cruelty in the meat and fur industries, likewise with horse and dog/cat meat. –  Lèse majesté Jun 3 '13 at 4:47
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It only makes sense that a civilized culture that moves into space relinquish the savage history of animal captivity and slaughtering for human ingestion. Also enlightened humans will all start to realize ( supported by science ) that animal matter isn't healthy for human consumption ( there are plenty of articles, go read! ).

There is even an episode in Star Trek TNG where the state that they no longer kill animals, I believe with the Antican's (sp?), etc.

With all that being said I believe human's will probably still make exceptions and will probably be able to outweigh the harmful side affects of meat with advances in medical science etc., but it will be like when you are at the dentist and they make you feel bad for not flossing :)

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Eating meat gives you the power to employ proper grammar. Try it! –  Lightness Races in Orbit Mar 14 '13 at 15:43
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