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.
Andras Forgacs produces animal products — meat and leather — without the animal
Tissue engineering is a method of growing tissues that has been developed initially for medical applications. This emerging medical field weaves together several fields of science and engineering to make tissues and organs that can mimic, restore, maintain or improve body function.
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”.
BIOFABRICATION :: Biofabrication can be defined as the production of complex living and non-living biological products from raw materials such as living cells, molecules, extracellular matrices, and biomaterials. Cell and developmental biology, biomaterials science, and mechanical engineering are the main disciplines contributing to the emergence of biofabrication technology. The industrial potential of biofabrication technology is far beyond the traditional medically oriented tissue engineering and organ printing and, in the short term, it is essential for developing potentially highly predictive human cell- and tissue-based technologies for drug discovery, drug toxicity, environmental toxicology assays, and complex in vitro models of human development and diseases. In the long term, biofabrication can also contribute to the development of novel biotechnologies for sustainable energy production in the future biofuel industry and dramatically transform traditional animal-based agriculture by inventing ‘animal-free’ food, leather, and fur products.