Modern Meadow (what a genius name!) makes leather. It looks the same, feels the same, wears the same, even smells the same, as traditional leather, which is odd, considering it is missing such a huge component of leather: the suffering.
Modern Meadow’s mission is to help meet the increasing global demand for leather items without the cruelty and the environmental toll. Leather stopped being just a by-product of the beef industry long ago: pound for pound, leather can actually be more lucrative than meat, with certain hides fetching hundreds of dollar per square foot — and sales of leather goods are expected to reach $91+ billion in the next four years.
Modern Meadow uses a tissue engineering technique called biofabrication to grow leather from skin cells in trays in a lab. The company is also developing biofabricated meat, fish and poultry from muscle cells. Even the initial cells used to grow leather and meat are obtained from small biopsies that don’t kill, injure or even hurt any animals.
The founders, father and son Gabor and Andras Forgacs, previously founded Organovo, which provides engineered human tissues to drug companies testing new compounds. Other companies are also exploring biofabrication for human health, for example growing tissue “patches” to help heal a heart, lung, liver or bones. Modern Meadow is the only company employing the technology for the manufacture of consumer goods.
Currently it takes Modern Meadow about a month to make a square-foot leather sample that’s fully finished (arguably it takes 2-3 years to obtain the same from a real cow), but the company is working to perfect production of its biofab leather until it is as affordable as traditional leather and hides.
And should anyone still think, somehow, that leather isn’t too bad ….watch the leather segment of the movie “Earthlings”. It’s not long. And then remember that yes, in fact you buying it IS exactly the same as you DOING it.
You know those things that are so horrendous you just know THIS TIME, absolutely EVERYONE must be against them? Except invariably someone comes along with a nasty comment that shows there actually isn’t anything bad enough for EVERYONE to condemn it? I am talking about things like chopping up dolphins and slaughtering dogs slowly for tender meat, and poaching elephants for ivory trinkets.
So the day before yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the first state ivory (and rhino horn) ban. That is pretty great. It is even greater that the Obama administration has proposed a federal ivory ban. It winded me for a second or two to find that there are NRA-backed, Republican-introduced bills in both the House and the Senate to kill it. These bills would also block states from passing their own bans (which would effectively repeal parts of the recent New Jersey law). And the NRA is vociferous about supporting them.
We need to mobilize and make sure our lawmakers know an overwhelming number of AMERICANS SUPPORT BANNING IVORY.
And we need to do it quickly. As you know, nasty pieces of legislation can be tacked on to larger bills and rushed through at any moment. So PLEASE, call NOW. Don’t put it off until later. Not only is a call quickest, it carries the most weight. Calling is EASY and NO-stress; there is no conversation: you give your name and say you want your lawmakers “to oppose any and all pieces of legislation that kill the federal ban and block state ivory bans.” That’s it.
It’s a good idea to know your legislators’ contact info, but if you don’t, look it up quickly and easily: http://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup
How much worse does it have to get for EVERYONE to condemn it?
In June, Wildlife Services released a 655-page report in which it acknowledged killing over four million animals last year. This total includes over 75,000 coyotes, 420 black bears, 3,700 foxes, 12,200 prairie dogs, as well as beavers, wolves, mountain lions, otters, , ferrets, birds, and other animals. It’s a secretive, wasteful, ineffective and cruel war on wildlife. One they need to not only continue but grow. One that, fyi, you are largely financing.
Bear in mind that these four million animals are not only shot (and we know how often that is NOT a quick death) from land and from the air, but also trapped, burned and poisoned — methods that cause hours/days of agony before death , and the deaths of countless other non-target (and non-reported) animals. In addition, I think we have probably all seen appalling news stories and videos about Wildlife Services employees routinely practising extreme cruelty, leaving animals to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes for fun, and even brutalizing domestic dogs.
It is also good to remember that while all of these animals were killed because they were somehow inconveniencing humans, a large number died specifically because they were inconveniencing humans producing meat — so many that Wildlife Services has been termed a subsidy for the livestock industry.
Wildlife Services operates with little public oversight and few rules requiring that it use the best available science, non-lethal methods, or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals. There is a growing outcry from the public, scientists, non-governmental organizations and members of Congress, to change this. Let’s add to it.
Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
phone (202) 720-3631
fax (202) 720-2166
A federal buyout would mean rather than wasting tax money on a hunt with no market, the Canadian government can actually save money by offering to pay sealers a fair dollar amount to give up their license to kill.
An increasing number of nations are taking action by banning trade in seal products. Yet the Canadian government still authorizes the cruel slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals each year — even using government funds to finance the purchase of seal pelts.
Each year, unimaginable suffering is inflicted on the seals, all for their pelts to be stockpiled in a warehouse — not that it would make any difference if they sold like crazy. Many Newfoundland sealers themselves support a federal sealing industry buyout. With this plan, the seal slaughter would end, sealers would receive financial compensation, and economic alternatives would be developed.
Please ask Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to end this revolting slaughter once and for all with a federal sealing industry buyout. Here you will find mailing address, fax and email info: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/contactpm
Sample letter below — but please personalize as much as possible!
Dear Prime Minister Harper and Honourable Ministers,
I am writing to ask for your help to end the Canadian commercial seal slaughter by implementing a federal buyout of sealing licenses.
Each year, horrible suffering is documented during the slaughter. Conscious, wounded baby seals are left to suffer in agony and impaled on metal hooks, dragged across the ice and cut open. Seal pups that have been shot and injured escape into the water where they die slowly and are never recovered. All of this often takes place before the eyes of their mothers.
Please help move Canada beyond this antiquated commercial sealing by supporting a federal sealing industry buyout. Thank you for your consideration.
In less than a week, the Seattle premier of Speciesism: The Movie will be showing at The Varsity Theater.
I bought a copy if the documentary a couple of months ago and I loved it! I’ll be at the movie theater to see it again. The film follows Mark Devries across the country, as he sets out to figure out why humans see ourselves as the most important species and how we decide which animals are “food” and which are “pets.”
Devries learns a lot on his journey, and you’ll get see his awakening as he talks to animal rights experts, people on the street, and people in the “food animal” industries.
Lucky for us, Mark Devries will be in Seattle for the showing of Speciesism, and will be leading a Q&A session afterwards. You won’t want to miss it! Hear first-hand how making this movie shaped and changed his ideas. Maybe it will change yours too!
When: Thursday, April 3rd at 7 pm
Where: Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, Seattle, Washington 98105
Please contact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service (USFS) to express your concerns (addresses below). It is hard for me to tell you to be polite, since neither I nor you feel polite about this issue, but foul letters will get us nowhere. The same letter/email can be sent to all four snailmail addresses and one email address. Honestly, writing one letter with the help of the taking points below and at http://www.predatordefense.org/coyotes.htm, copying it and sending it to four places will take less than half an hour out of your life, but those coyotes will be living a horror next weekend, and many will NOT live.
28910 Hwy 20 W
Hines OR 97738-9424
Emigrant Creek Ranger District
265 Hwy 20 S
Hines OR 97738-9428
Blue Mountain Ranger District
PO Box 909
John Day OR 97845-0909
Prairie City Ranger District
PO Box 337
Prairie City OR 97869-0337
After helping to spread the vegan message to holiday shoppers, Please join Action for Animals in demonstrations at both Nordstrom and Macy’s. These stores continue to sell the fur of animals who have been cruelly killed by such methods as drowning, poisoning, strangulation, genital electrocution, and being trapped or beaten to death.
When: Friday, November 29th @ 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Where: Seattle Downtown Nordstrom (500 Pine Street)
The demonstration will begin at Nordstrom at noon. At 1:00pm we will march to Macy’s where the protest will continue until 2:00pm.
Signs and flyers will be provided; you just need to show up! The more people we have speaking up for the animals the better, so please be there and invite your friends and family to attend! You can invite people through the Facebook event page.
Please remember to not wear any animal-sourced clothing (leather, wool, feathers, down, etc.). We want people to stay focused on our message of not exploiting animals.
Fur is not the only animal-sourced clothing that is a product of exploitation and cruelty. For more about how animals are exploited for clothing, see AFA’s skin trade info.
If you have questions or need more info, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December of last year, Michigan state politicians rushed a ‘lame duck’ bill through the House and Senate designating wolves a “game” species (i.e., an animal that can be hunted) and authorizing an open season on wolves. Governor Snyder signed it into law. It was already legal to kill wolves in order to protect dogs or livestock, and there is no scientific reason to hunt and trap them — the ONLY reason is for the “fun” of a small minority of hunters evidently lacking the gene responsible for empathy.
However, as you may remember reading here earlier this year, a coalition of different groups and citizens called Keep Michigan’s Wolves Protected quickly collected far more signatures than were necessary to put the issue of whether to allow wolf hunting on the November ballot. This meant that the citizens — not the politicians or a few wealthy special-interest groups — would decide the fate of the 650-odd wolves in the state. Michigan politicians responded by quickly passing another law giving the Natural Resources Commission the authority to designate wolves (and any other animals) “game animals”. Because the NRC is a regulatory body and not a legislative one, Michigan voters would be powerless to reverse their decisions.
Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is currently circulating a petition (unfortunately only for Michigan voters, but here is the link in case you know anyone there: http://keepwolvesprotected.com/sign) to place a referendum of this new law on the ballot. Last week, reporter John Barnes and a team of other investigative reporters from the state’s top newspapers blew the whistle on a conspiracy hatched by a lying farmer, state lawmakers, and the state Department of Natural Resources. The director of Keep Michigan Wolves Protected, Jill Fritz (also HSUS’ state director) has asked Governor Rick Snyder to block the hunt scheduled to begin November 15th, since its entire rationale was corrupt, based on fabricated reports of wolves hanging around a daycare center and appearing in people’s back yards, and incidents of wolf depredation on a single farm whose owner baited the wolves to begin with, for the sake of financial reimbursement. In addition, after soliciting public feedback on the wolf hunt, the Natural Resources Commission ignored and deleted more TEN THOUSAND of the anti-hunting emails they received.
Does this corruption shock you? It shouldn’t. These are people who want to subject wolves to the prolonged and atrocious suffering caused by shooting, bowhunting and trapping. What is lying, cheating and stealing compared to that?
TODAY, Wednesday 23rd, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the use of bullhooks on circus elephants.
“(Elephants) are trained and guided with bullhooks, which are used to inflict pain upon them and sometimes cut them when they’re hit,” said Councilman Paul Koretz. “We really want to change that. We think it’s a very cruel practice.” Of course, the ban on bullhooks means that circuses, traveling shows and other events that feature elephants would not be able to perform anywhere in the city, because the bullhook is how the handlers maintain control. A spokesman for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, says the ban was being driven by animal rights activists who want to force the circus out of the city.
UNFORTUNATELY, the ban allows for a three-year phase-in period — some of which will no doubt be used by the circuses trying to find a replacement for the bullhook. Presciently, the ban already includes baseball bats, axe handles and pitchforks. No mention of electric cattle prods, though.
Thought the Canadians were the only ones? Nope. (Just as the Japanese are the most well-known dolphin/whale killers, although the Danish Faroe Islanders do it too.)
The Namibian government continues to allow and promote the slaughter of Cape fur seals despite the fact that the population has been hard-hit already by three mass die-offs, in which seals starved to death by the tens of thousands, since 2000. Cape fur seal pups are born between late October and early January. The mother seals nurse their young for about a year or even longer.
For 140 days, staring around July 1st, the Namibian government permits the killing of about 85,000 nursing baby Cape Fur seals…on the pretext of creating employment for 120 unskilled workers living in cardboard shacks near the seal colony.
Send letters to Prime Minister Dr. Hage Geingob at Office of the Prime Minister, Windhoek, Namibia. He can also be called/faxed (he speaks fluent English) at
Tel: +264-61-287 2002
Fax: +264-61-24 9546
You can also write to Hatem Yavuz, the furrier responsible for buying the Namibian fur, here: