Living Station

Week 26
  • Living Station Inspiration

Andras Forgacs – Leather and meat without killing animals

By 2050, it will take 100 billion land animals to provide the world’s population with meat, dairy, eggs and leather goods. Maintaining this herd will take a huge, potentially unsustainable toll on the planet. What if there were a different way? In this eye-opening talk, tissue engineering advocate Andras Forgacs argues that biofabricating meat and leather is a civilized way to move past killing animals for hamburgers and handbags.

Why you should listen

An entrepreneur in tissue engineering, Andras Forgacs is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, a company developing novel biomaterials. These include cultured meat and leather which, as they put it, “will require no animal slaughter and much lower inputs of land, water, energy and chemicals”.  This approach involves sourcing cells from living animals, multiplying these cells into billions, and then assembling them into the tissue precursors of meat or leather. The products, for now, are at a prototype stage.

Previously, Andras co-founded Organovo, which uses 3D bioprinting to create human tissues for pharmaceutical research and medical applications, such as drug development and replacement tissues. Organovo’s bioprinting technology was recognized by MIT Technology Review on its TR50 list of most innovative companies for 2012.

What others say

“In-vitro meat is not far from entering the market. Modern Meadow, based in Missouri and California, is one of several startups that make meat using tissue engineering. In other words, it 3D-prints your steak. It has not yet finalized its products, but like Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat, it has attracted high-caliber venture capital funding, with money from PayPal founder Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs. ” — The Guardian, September 16, 2013