Leather is off limits to vegans and other people who don’t like the idea of wearing animal skin, but that could soon change.
Modern Meadow recently raised $10 million to grow faux leather from animal skin cells obtained through pain-free biopsies, reports The Wall Street Journal (via Ecouterre). The Brooklyn-based company is a pioneer in lab-grown meat, and hopes to apply a similar “biofabrication” technique to making leather.
This will not only be kinder to animals, but will also have a potential environmental benefit. Whether the animals are raised for their leather, meat, or both, livestock farming is a major contributor to global warming.
A 2006 report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that meat production was responsible for roughly 14 to 22 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions recorded at the time.
Growing leather in a lab is also faster. It takes Modern Meadow about one and a half months to make a fully-finished square-foot leather sample, compared to the two to three years it takes to raise a cow.