Multiple stories being told now support the idea, that when it comes to helping animals, historically, technology has done more to decrease harm to animals than anything else, so we who care about animals, should emphasize and support new technologies that might decrease animal exploitation over and above discussing ethics and justice if we want to do the most good.
So one story describes how whaling, which in the 1800's was the major source of fuel for oil lamps throughout the US, began a dramatic decline in the 1850's because kerosene suddenly became available. The takeaway message we are being told, is that the fossil fuel industry (and the new technology it enabled) was great for whales. This story is being used to encourage animal advocates to support the cultured meat industry (a new technology -- but one which also currently requires animal slaughter -- but not as much compared to obtaining meat from a live animal) and the story tellers say is the best hope of reducing harms to animals. Some well-known vegans, employed by large non-profits are devoting their time and resources to promoting cultured meat over and above working to shift the cultural paradigm through authentic vegan advocacy.
So let's take a closer look at the facts. Was the discovery and widespread adoption of petroleum based fuels really beneficial to whales?
It's estimated that 236,000 whales were killed by humans in the entire 19th century -- (a span of 100 years) which included 1846 -- considered the year of, "Peak whale oil." Compare that number to the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Oil spills are a repeat consequence of obtaining petroleum. This single incident was estimated to have killed 25,000 marine mammals. And while most of those individuals were not whales -- that number is just a fraction of all the animals that perished from this accident. But more to the point an article in Nature suggests that in the century beginning a full 50 years AFTER the introduction of kerosene, (that is from 1900 to 2000) the whale genocide caused by humans was 3,000,000. That's a ten-fold increase a full 50 years after the introduction of a technology, that we are now being told was hugely beneficial to these creatures, and the justification for why we should now embrace cultured meat technology, which as it stands right now, has known ethically problematic aspects.
if you want real justice or to meaningfully reduce exploitation and violence of other beings, go vegan and work to raise awareness about veganism as a moral baseline. Most of us already agree that it is wrong to hurt animals unnecessarily, and here in America today, we don't need to intentionally harm other beings in order to live.