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Lab-Grown Leather Could Be a Reality In 5 Years

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the looking-forward-to-leather-sheets dept.

Biotech 165

fangmcgee writes "Lab-grown leather apparel could hit the runways in as little as five years—all without harming a hair on a single animal's head, according to Andras Forgacs, co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, a Missouri-based startup that's approaching meat-and-leather production from a tissue-bioengineering, rather than farming, point of view. Backed by Breakout Labs, the grant-awarding foundation headed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, Modern Meadow seeks to combine regenerative medicine with three-dimensional printing to synthesize leather and ultimately meat."

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165 comments

Now dawns the age (5, Funny)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451195)

Of ethical bondage equipment.

Re:Now dawns the age (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451339)

mods: where are you. parent is funny and insightful

Re:Now dawns the age (4, Interesting)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451455)

Actually there are already a number of suppliers for vegan kinksters.

For many it will not matter since it is all about imagery, thus the fact the leather comes from particular animals is 'important'. Others will probably be happy to have more options in alternatives.

Re:Now dawns the age (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451693)

Actually there are already a number of suppliers for vegan kinksters.

Wow, that's the fastest I've seen rule #34 apply to a thread in a while. :-P

Re:Now dawns the age (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451933)

Which is suddenly making me wonder ... do vegan chicks swallow? Seems it would be an animal byproduct.

OK, I'm a bad bad person, I know. ;-)

Re:Now dawns the age (2)

Ironhandx (1762146) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452157)

While I don't understand them at all, in my personal experience most vegetarian & vegan chicks swallow.

Go forth young nerds and benefit from my words!

Re:Now dawns the age (2)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452195)

Actually, that is a good question. If one takes the view that the eating of any product which comes from an animal as wrong, then the logical conclusion would be no, they don't swallow.

I guess it depends on how far one goes to stand by their beliefs.

It was like when I made the comment about Rogue. Since she can't touch anyone without draining them of their life force, what would happen if the attempt would be made to artificially impregnate her? Would her body kill the sperm (more than a woman's body does naturally) or could she become pregnant? If so, what would happen to the kid? Would, because half it is related to her, her body allow it to develop or would it drain its life force?

Yeah, too much thinking for a fantasy story, but like yours, it does pose valid points.

Re:Now dawns the age (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452337)

They normally have no problem with that, since you are generally consenting. Animals cannot consent to be killed.

I am not vegan nor vegetarian.

Re:Now dawns the age (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452387)

They normally have no problem with that, since you are generally consenting. Animals cannot consent to be killed.

That's what I was thinking -- they can pretty much know there was no cruelty involved and you can give consent.

Though, in a lot of ways, it's very similar to milking a cow in terms of method of extraction. ;-)

Vegan Black Metal Chef's Outfit (1)

billstewart (78916) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452659)

Hardly an innovation - people have been wearing fake leather and fake fur for a long time. (That's not even counting the kinksters wearing latex or vinyl because they like how it feels.)

You've probably seen Vegan Black Metal Chef's rubber outfit that looks a lot like leather-based metal-head outfits. (And if you haven't, you really should.)

also in principle interesting for skingrafts. (1)

queazocotal (915608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451227)

Not to mention the cosmetic industry.

Re:also in principle interesting for skingrafts. (2)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451425)

How about a cosmetic skingraft industry to leatherize your skin? I can hear the tv commercials now "You could spend a decade suntanning to achieve the trendy new leatherskin(tm) look but now after a simple operation at your doctors office...". You could pick your leatherized skin color, maybe even fake alligator...

Never underestimate the ability of young people to spend large amounts of money to do stupid things in the name of "rebellion". This could be the next "tattoo" or the next "piercing". We're getting close to the point where the early adopters of those fads have kids who need to rebel against them... Leatherskin could be the answer.... Hmm you could look like a Dune stillsuit when you're naked or motorcycle leathers... this could work and make a lot of money for people who invest early...

Re:also in principle interesting for skingrafts. (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451869)

Or the film-industry...
I for one welcome our now completely boneless overlords, without an ethical question whatsoever!

Actually I bought the one used in the matrix! It is a big clunker of a pod of some kind, and in there there is a guy called Zjeeanoo Reevez making my meter spin the wrong way round (the good one for me that is) and ever now and then he grows a nice leather jacket for me! And sunglasses in the summer as well!

Re:also in principle interesting for skingrafts. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451985)

Not to mention the cosmetic industry.

And auto industry - Rich Corinthian Leather* could actually be grown in labs in Corinth!

Tip o' the propeller beanie to Ricardo Montalban

It'll also save the hides of thousands of Naugas annually!

And much more expensive than real or fake (4, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451241)

If you have a moral objection to real leather, buy fake.
If you don't have any moral objection, buy real.
Or, if you don't like leather, buy neither.

Any one of these three options will be a LOT cheaper than anything grown in a lab. And I seriously doubt this will ever be able to scale.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451365)

But what if you have a moral objection to killing an animal for leather but prefer bio-engineered leather to any of the synthetic replacements and are willing to pay the premium for bio-engineered? Then this is perfect for you...

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451765)

But what if you have a moral objection to killing an animal for leather but prefer bio-engineered leather to any of the synthetic replacements and are willing to pay the premium for bio-engineered? Then this is perfect for you...

I'm betting anybody who is staying away from leather for ethical reasons is going to look at the idea of tank-grown leather and still be thinking "that still sounds nasty".

Then again, maybe a whole bunch of vegans are just waiting for tank-grown leather and there's a market for it.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451855)

I have plenty of friends who love meat but only eat meat that was hunted, not farmed who would prefer grown leather.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452313)

I have plenty of friends who love meat but only eat meat that was hunted, not farmed who would prefer grown leather.

For me it's the 'ick' factor -- a coat made of pink slime [wikipedia.org] is a mental hurdle I'm not so sure of. :-P

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452323)

and there's a market for it.

Sort of like glow-in-the-dark fish as nightlights or glow-in-the-dark tampons?

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

erice (13380) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452487)

But what if you have a moral objection to killing an animal for leather but prefer bio-engineered leather to any of the synthetic replacements and are willing to pay the premium for bio-engineered? Then this is perfect for you...

I'm betting anybody who is staying away from leather for ethical reasons is going to look at the idea of tank-grown leather and still be thinking "that still sounds nasty".

Then again, maybe a whole bunch of vegans are just waiting for tank-grown leather and there's a market for it.

There are an awful lot of Hindus whose objection to cow-hide has little to do with Western "organic/save the whales" ethics.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451799)

Leather is pretty much just a biproduct of the meat industry, the are no animals grown for their hide. Fur is a different thing, but they couldn't grow that.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451835)

s/for leather/for leather and meat/

Happy?

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452069)

My point was, those animals would die regardless if we use their leather or not. This is like saying that forest are being cut down for paper.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

Grishnakh (216268) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452275)

Exactly. There are precisely zero cows killed for their skin; they're killed for their meat. The only way lab-grown leather would make any sense is if they simultaneously introduce lab-grown beef. As long as cows are killed for their meat, there's going to be piles of left-over cow skin. If you don't use it for leather, it's just going to go to waste.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452371)

Beyondmeant is working on that problem right now, by making a replacement. Others are working on growing it in a vat.

Either way exciting times.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451891)

It would be interesting if they could do vat grown fur.

I could see the headlines now.

"PETA dumps animal blood on owner for wearing synthetic fur coat."

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452257)

Fully functional skin(ie. with follicles and everything) is a much higher bar to clear than more primitive 'thin-layer-of-epidermal-cells' type stuff that they've been using as burn dressings for years now; but if animals can grow fur, there isn't any obvious objection to a sufficiently advanced tissue-culture process being able to grow skin with fur on it(potentially even in sizes/patterns/textures that aren't available in nature).

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452341)

Fur is a different thing, but they couldn't grow that.

You've never looked inside my refrigerator, have you?

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

Creepy (93888) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451375)

Like anything, in the short term it will be more expensive. In the long term, we get replicators. This sort of thing would really be good for my old vegan roommate, who every once in a while had to have bacon, but otherwise was faithful to being a vegan. If the bacon was printed, and no matter what the price, I know she'd definitely feel morally better if it weren't from a dead animal.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451521)

This sort of thing would really be good for my old vegan roommate, who every once in a while had to have bacon

What a hypocrite. I don't subscribe to Veganism, but it's based on the ethical stance that it's wrong to exploit animals.

So if you think meat is murder, milk is rape etc. then "once in a while he had to have bacon" is like saying "once in a while he had to murder/rape someone" or maybe "once in a while he had to own a slave."

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452229)

While I don't know the person who the GP posted of, I can tell you that there are many different beliefs that can can appear to work the same way. Don't assume that a particular pattern of behavior indicates a particular belief system. Don't assume that a simplistic explanation of behavior is complete or correct; the person may be simplifying for the sake of convenience, yours and theirs. (The alternative is to explain their beliefs and how they fit into the context of morality, biology, agriculture, aquaculture, food safety, and politics. Nobody wants to hear about feces being spilled on beef when deciding where to go for dinner.)

In my case, I'm very concerned about overfishing and the impacts of some forms of aquaculture. I tell most people that I don't eat fish because it's the easiest way to explain why I don't want to go to a seafood restaurant. However, I do have a fair bit of catfish and a small amount of land-raised salmon and trout. When I get a house, I'm looking to raise tillapia as part of a greenhouse filtration/fertilization system. (As a side note, there are very few places that serve catfish in my town and none that I know of that specifically serve land-raised fish.)

A comparison of what I say and what I do would suggest hypocrisy. A comparison of what I believe and what I do does, in my opinion, not. The discrepancy between speech and belief is the result of social sensitivity.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451543)

Would loose your vegan's superpowers if you consumed 3 BLTs with printed bacon?

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

bigtrike (904535) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451967)

Maybe, but it's easy to tighten a loose superpower.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452077)

Maybe, but it's easy to tighten a loose superpower.

Just use a screwdriver with plenty of vodka.

And Use Tropicana (tm) Orange Juice!! (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452267)

Wanna Know the difference between a bad steak and a good leather shoe??

You might be able to eat THE SHOE

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452225)

What if her superpower was 'vaginal clench'? In other words she's literally sitting on a diamond factory.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451573)

How could she stand the possibility of being caught by the vegan police and losing her vegan superpowers?

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

Tarlus (1000874) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451827)

my old vegan roommate, who every once in a while had to have bacon, but otherwise was faithful to being a vegan

My ex wife would do the same thing. Declared herself a vegetarian but was still a closet meat-eater from time to time when nobody was watching. Had to break the news to her that she was in fact not a vegetarian.

Educating a self-deceiving non-vegetarian ex (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451979)

Had to break the news to her that she was in fact not a vegetarian.

I assume that you did not literally have to break the news.

Rather, you wanted to break the news -- doing so felt good.

Oh yes, I have done the same, and I know that feeling well. There is something wonderfully gratifying, when calling a hypocrite on their hypocrisy, when the hypocrite in question is an ex-wife or -girlfriend. Sweet revenge! Finally!

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452295)

I've had to scrub a few of the victory marks off my grill when I found out that I hadn't turned them from the dark side. They were meat eaters all along.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452241)

I've never met a herbivore (of any type) or Jew that didn't eat bacon.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451483)

Hard to say how well it will scale, but other types of manufacturing have. Farming has a lot of waste, a lot of inefficiency... depending on how the details work out, producing just the parts you want for an application might, long term, pan out pretty well.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451485)

If it's going to be expensive, might as well grow it with an artificial pattern such as houndstooth.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452315)

Or grow a coat/seat cover without seams.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452389)

Yes please! Grow me a new car seat cover with no seams to split.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

s0nicfreak (615390) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451607)

Someone that has a moral objection to real leather but wants the qualities of real leather might use this. From a purely fashion standpoint, yes this seems silly; fake leather looks like real leather. But from a practical use standpoint, this will be great for people that are morally opposed to real leather; fake leather is usually not heat-resistant, rip-proof, etc. etc. - basically it has none of the qualities of leather except looking similar. As someone that is vegetarian largely for moral reasons, that also makes many things by hand, lab-grown leather would be very handy to me.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452435)

Depending on the production process, there might also be engineering advantages:

Real leather is constrained by the shape and properties of the animal you removed it from. Unless your intended use case is eerily cow shaped, this usually means a bunch of cutting and sewing or other joining needs to happen. If the synthesized stuff is handled by some 'print collagen matrix, seed with cells, immerse in nutrient fluid' type process, you could theoretically produce pieces that are seamless and correctly shaped(possibly even with neat extras like variable thickness/stiffness depending on the mechanical durability required in different areas of the piece) without any cuts or stitches.

Cutting and sewing are relatively cheap, so you wouldn't do that just for the cost savings; but seams can be points of weakness in more demanding designs.

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452049)

You may be long about real leather being a lot cheaper than bio engineered leather.

Granted, you have doubts about this being able to scale up. But lets assume for a moment you are wrong.

The inputs to the process are going to be somewhat similar to the inputs required to raise a cow. But the quantity of those inputs should be much lower. You only need enough food / nutrients to grow the skin. You do not need to support the rest of the mass of the cow. The waste (urine, feces) would also be lower. No bones or brains, and the support features of the rest of the cow (the lungs / spleen / kidney's) can probably be accomplished by machine filters.

I am not sure if the vat grown meat would work as well though. You would need to support much more biomass and your probably not going to be able to simulate a massive rib steak.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:And much more expensive than real or fake (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452447)

Since this is for LEATHER, and not for food or medical use, I could easily see this scaling to a very large scale.

Think of it in these terms:

You take a skin sample from a cow.
You chemically alter the living cells, so that they become "HeLa-Like" basal cell carcinoma.
Puree, add to vegetable based growth medium, heat gently, and stir continuously.
Inject the cell "paste" into an injection mold, pretreated with some additional synthetic hormones.
Wait 7 days
Decant, steam, cut, and tan.

if you need me, I'll be in my Lab (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451245)

DOG MEAT IS MURDER!

Headline-Generating Verbage (4, Insightful)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451285)

I could discover sustainable cold fusion in as little as 5 years. Of course, there is always the chance it may take me longer, or forever.

Re:Headline-Generating Verbage (4, Funny)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451635)

I could discover sustainable cold fusion in as little as 5 years. Of course, there is always the chance it may take me longer, or forever.

I already have discovered it. It works perfectly and solves all the energy issues we might have for a few hundred years of constant growth.

The only obstacle that is in front of me is just finding the right lobbyist to help get a repeal for certain regressive laws of nature currently on the books.

Re:Headline-Generating Verbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452689)

Actually I doubt you could......

Leather is a wonderful material. (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451303)

Leather as a material is actually very interesting.

Light, Flexible, Sturdy, Tough, and a great insulator.

Still there isn't a replacement for it in a lot of protective gear. Such as Motorcycle jackets, they are not to make you look bad-ass but if you fall off your bike as an armor so you don't scrape yourself all up. Metal and Plastic is too ridgid, or too flimsy. Leather has the perfect use.

However I don't see much of a market for artificial leather, only because we are still eating cows. Most farms don't produce leather only cattle, but beef cattle what use the hides for leather.

Now if this technology makes affordable meat like it thinks it could, then perhaps artifical leather can come in.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (3, Insightful)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451385)

There are plenty of synthetic replacements for motorcycle leather at much the same price, mostly in the kevlar family, approximately.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (4, Informative)

WillAdams (45638) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451585)

Leather is constrained in size by how large a cow will grow, in thickness by the thickest point available for a given area (if you want to work really large, you can't get hides as thick as if you're willing to work smaller) and in quality by how pampered the creature was in its life (Rolls Royce uses cows raised in special pastures w/ wooden fencing (no barbed wire) and the hides which they reject would be top quality elsewhere).

Also, presumably this material won't require the tanning process, so one will get material equivalent to vegetable tanned w/o the nasty chemicals of chrome tanned.

Moreover, even though leather can be considered a by-product of the meat industry, it's not cheap --- a full hide is well over $100.

William

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (1)

srmalloy (263556) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452625)

Also, presumably this material won't require the tanning process, so one will get material equivalent to vegetable tanned w/o the nasty chemicals of chrome tanned.

If you don't tan it, what you have is rawhide, not leather; tanning preserves the flexibility, softness, and stretchability of the material. It wouldn't be necessary to unhair the material, and since you'd be able to control what layers of the skin are grown, you would reduce or eliminate the need for fleshing it, and could control the fiber growth to reduce or eliminate the need for liming it, but you'd still have the tanning process itself, whether vegetable or mineral.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451731)

However I don't see much of a market for artificial leather, only because we are still eating cows. Most farms don't produce leather only cattle, but beef cattle what use the hides for leather.

Being able to sell the leather, even for beef cattle, means more potential income for a cow. This allows you to sell the beef cheaper to try to out compete other beef and meat producers, while still making a profit. So in the end, even if the cows are used for beef, the sale of leather can reduce the price of beef. This could increase the demand for beef, especially relative to other meats.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451873)

Still there isn't a replacement for it in a lot of protective gear. Such as Motorcycle jackets

Well, except for maybe ballistic nylon (Cordura), plastic, and kevlar. Think Joe Rocket.

I see a lot of gear now using those things, and they've been around quite a while.

That doesn't invalidate your argument entirely, but for motorcycle jackets I know for a fact that you can get a good replacement for leather.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (1)

mikestew (1483105) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452669)

The difference being that leather can take a few slides down the pavement and still be usable. Synthetics are often a one-shot deal. A horrifically bad session of pavement surfing can put a hole through synthetics when quality leather will still have some thickness left. In either case, you probably walk away with your skin intact. If replacing a $700 First Gear jacket the first time it goes down saves you a skin graft, money well spent.

That said, I like my Aerostich just fine, I just wouldn't wear it for a session of track racing.

Re:Leather is a wonderful material. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452853)

The difference being that leather can take a few slides down the pavement and still be usable. Synthetics are often a one-shot deal.

Really? I haven't ridden in years, so I don't know ... but I'd thought Cordura had abrasion resistance which was far in excess of almost anything natural.

That said, I like my Aerostich just fine, I just wouldn't wear it for a session of track racing.

Judging by the number of people I know who used to duct-tape knee-pads to their leathers because they'd worn though in the corners, and having seen someone do a nice long slide which more or less trashed their leathers ... it seems you're going to do a heck of a lot of damage to either if you do that much.

I'm pretty sure for most people they try to avoid pavement surfing, and the safety gear is a contingency, not a recurring theme.

I know very few motorcyclists who would want to slide like that any more than strictly 'necessary'.

Frederik Pohl's Space Merchants (2)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451329)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Space_Merchants [wikipedia.org]
I can't read about synthetic animal parts without thinking about the enormous mass of chicken, referred to as "Chicken Little" that is used in the book as a source of protein by continually slicing off hunks from the always growing mass of chicken heart cells. :)

Vegan? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451341)

So... Would this be Vegan?

Re:Vegan? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451565)

Honestly? You'd be surprised at how many people would still moan and cry at this. Most of them are just doing that crap because they think they are holier and more refined than others. It is quite sad.

Luckily not all vegans and veggies are morons and would happily use and consume these things given the base materials aren't from the death of something else.

Although in saying that, if they really want to be pedantic about it, technically eating those plants is them murdering some millions of helpless animals as the nutrients from them most likely entered the plant at some point in time. Luckily, not all people are that anal either.

Re:Vegan? (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452075)

It would be from the death of something else. They are suggesting growing it. As in it is alive, and then gets killed to make the leather. Your comment points out one of the great hypocrisies of the 'moral' vegan. They claim that killing is bad, but happily do it if the life is different enough from them that they can rationalize that it 'doesn't count'.

We shall create PETBL (2)

mromanuk (1318649) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451351)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Bioengineered Leather (PETBL) Because the bioengineered leather has rights too...

Re:We shall create PETBL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452127)

People for the Ethical Treatment of Bioengineered Leather (PETBL) Because the bioengineered leather has rights too...

But those guys over at the North Americal Man / Bioengineered-Leather Love Association (NAMBLLA) are just freaks.

Re:We shall create PETBL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452301)

I know you kid. However, it's important to note that PETA has been pushing for vat grown meat for some time now. I believe they would similarly support vat grown leather.

And what will happen ... (2)

Zemran (3101) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451379)

... to the skins of all those cows we eat? The beef industry is not going to stop killing the cows, but now they will have to throw away the skins rather than turn them into leather. We will have to pay more for our beef, pork etc. to cover this cost and then pay for the fake leather as well...

Re:And what will happen ... (1)

Creepy (93888) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451489)

Did you RTFA or even the headline? Their goal is to ultimately make meat, and leather is just a step to getting there.

Re:And what will happen ... (1)

Garridan (597129) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451983)

What about dung, blood, gelatin, casein, bone meal, rennet, cysteine, tallow, and countless other cow byproducts? Like the storied native americans with the buffalo, we really make use of 100% of the cow. Hundreds if not thousands of products directly use cow byproducts, and artificial production of meat is likely to include nasty organic chemicals that are extremely harmful to the environment if spilled / released in significant quantities... without all of the useful byproducts.

What we should really be doing is breeding cows without heads. People should realize that the living bodies we see are simply the highest form of technology we have ever witnessed. Artificial replication of this stuff is just ridiculous. I dismiss veganism largely because of my holistic view of the world economy -- plastic replacements for these things are more destructive to the environment, we need animal-derived nutrients to live, and vat-grown meat is going to involve some seriously scary shit.

Re:And what will happen ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451497)

Just think of it as one step toward outlawing cows.

Re:And what will happen ... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451519)

There are plenty of people who do not want any of their money going to the cattle industry.

Re:And what will happen ... (3, Informative)

Verdatum (1257828) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451525)

The same fears happened when vinyl pleather first came out. The same fears happened when man-made diamonds became feasible. The market adjusts. The skins still get sold, and the price of the original commodity usually doesn't drop as much as people fear.

Re:And what will happen ... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452745)

man-made diamonds became feasible

Well, that's because the chunk of rock doesn't mean as much if it's not unnaturally expensively priced, obviously.

Re:And what will happen ... (1)

jcaplan (56979) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451847)

You're assuming fixed demand for leather products and meat, independent of price. If there is additional supply leather from bio-reactor production, the price of leather is likely to decline until it reaches a point where all leather produced is purchased. Econ 101. You may indeed end up paying more for meat because some people buy bio-engineered leather rather than the traditional variety. This price increase is likely to decrease meat consumption, so the beef industry will kill fewer cows.

Waste not (1)

handy_vandal (606174) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452015)

The cattle industry will never throw away animal hides, or any other part of the animal. It all goes into some industrial process, every last scrap.

Re:Waste not (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452537)

The cattle industry will never throw away animal hides, or any other part of the animal. It all goes into some industrial process, every last scrap.

Given that some current tissue-culture techniques rely on a collagen scaffold to guide the living cells seeded into the structure, it would entirely fail to surprise me if some amount of cow hide ends up being quietly broken down for collagen, which will then be printed into scaffolds on which 'ethical leather' can be grown...

Misses the point (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451391)

CAFO's
Processed Foods
Fake Meat
Lots of added cancer and disease causing chemicals.
Missing out on the important natural micronutrients.
Yuck.
Give me real meat.
Leather comes from harvesting meat. It's a way to use the rest of the animals.

If you object to eating meat for ethical reasons then stop eating plants you Kingdomist. Plants have feelings too!

Re:Misses the point (2)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451643)

Uh, really? Since most micronutrients are elements or minerals, perhaps you could explain what an artificial version is. Vitamins, the only other class of micronutrients, are easily added to lab-grown biologicals.
I didn't see anything in TFA about adding teratogenics to the mix. On the contrary, it's the four-legged "real cow" version which is chock full of antibiotics and feed additives.

Re:Misses the point (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452141)

" it's the four-legged "real cow" version which is chock full of antibiotics and feed additives."
a) Depnds
B) You probably should take some time to understand the antibiotic issue before spouting off. There is no evidence that current use of antibiotic in animals has any effect on the consumer at all. HINT: it's used upp or peed out. Why do people think antibiotics are some magic creature that survives forever?

Re:Misses the point (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452059)

Lots of strawmen there, presumably form your ignorance.

But hey, lt's not lets science, data and facts inform you. You would have to spend all the fort throwing around more fallacious argument, cause you certainly wouldn't think about it.

Of course, the fact that it interferes with your lively has no bearing on your opinion, I'm sure~

Synthetic Meat (1)

JStyle (833234) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451685)

If we are going to make synthetic meat, let's make it unique and supremely delicious. I see no reason to work towards duplicating existing, readily available meats. Let's spend that lab money on meat so exotic and tasty it could have only come from a lab.

Re:Synthetic Meat (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452755)

It sounds like a golden opportunity to mass-marketing of tissues from endangered species, to me!

With just a teeny, minimally invasive, sampling step, exotic meats from wildly endangered organisms could be produced in massive vats. Delicious panda burgers! Seal Veal! You could also grow tissues that don't exist in nature, such as racks of crab ribs!

What's the point? (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451697)

We're still going to eat beef. We're still going to slaughter the cows. If we create synthetic leather, do they suggest we just throw the real stuff away? I doubt cattle are killed strictly for their skin and all the meat is discarded, so synthetic parts don't really save them from getting the axe anyway.

This is great news indeed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451767)

Finally, an alternative to the hide of the rare* Nauga!

* When's the last time you saw a live Nauga in the wild?

What does a bioreactor grow leather from? (1)

nbauman (624611) | about a year and a half ago | (#41451935)

Tissue-culture bioreactors, as far as I know, usually grow tissue on fetal calf serum, which come from slaughtered cattle. (Sometimes they use mice, fertilized chicken eggs, etc.)

So you have to slaughter even more cattle to create leather in bioreactors.

Right?

Pleather Leather (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41451969)

So Pleather (plastic leather) will be replaced by Leather (lab grown leather)

Imaginative cool possibilities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41452085)

I really don't care from the not killing the animals perspective. But this field does open up a lot of interesting areas. For example large single pieces of leather, much larger than a cow could provide. Growing a coat that is already in it's final shape. Eventually figuring out how to artificiality grow otter fur.

Emotional Ethics (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452333)

I can't imagine that the people who believe killing animals is unethical will be happy with harvesting skin and muscle from a bioengineered cow monster. Both of these are icky. If your trying to avoid ickyness then this is not the product for you.

Potential for use in protective gear? (2)

Burning1 (204959) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452359)

As a motorcyclist, I'm really interested in this.

Although amazing progress has been made in synthetics, for heavy duty use (read, racing, trackdays, etc.) leather is still king. We've known for a while that there are benefits to the way cows are cared for. The most protective leather comes from cows that aren't kept in barbed wire fences, and raised above the mosquito lines; there is less damage to the hide that way, making for fewer potential points of failure.

Large sheets of leather are also valuable, as they reduce the number of seams in the leather, and permit them to be moved away from common abrasion zones.

Type of leather is also important to us... Good cow leather is usually at least 1.4mm thick, and a full leather suit can be quite heavy (>10lbs.) Kangaroo leather is desirable for this application, since it's lighter and often stronger than cow leather.

I'll be interested seeing what comes of these materials.

Lab-grown rubber, too? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#41452571)

Lab-grown leather? Good! There are many cow souls in heaven who are offended their skin is used for sexual perversions by other species.

Of course, lab-grown will have a much lower psycho-sexual cachet, so maybe the cow souls will still have to lump it.

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