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New Company Rayfish Farms Stingrays to Skin for Shoes

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The innovative ways people come up with to exploit animals in the effort to make some cash never ceases to amaze us. This time, a new company called Rayfish is raising genetically engineered stingrays to make expensive shoes.

How are they genetically engineering them? Rayfish explains on their website, “Rayfish Footwear uses a patented process of bio-customization, which allows you to design your own living, transgenic stingray. Using the DNA on file in our genetic library, you can combine the skin patterns and coloration from dozens of different species.”

That means that by using the DNA from other species, they are able to change the look of the stingrays that are grown in their facility. Each stingray is slaughtered to make one shoe. Are you cringing? Us too.

The company does have a note about the stingrays being raised “humanely” although it doesn’t specify what that means. Perez Hilton points to a photo on Rayfish’s facebook page showing a picture of some “Zebra” stingrays.

They haven’t started mass production yet, but they expect to in late 2012. Sneakers will be priced at $1800 a pair. At least with high prices like those, the number of sneakers they sell will be lower. But then again, when you do the math, if they sell 100 pairs, that’s 200 stingrays sacrificed.

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  • Southern Fried Scientist


    • GDiFonzo

      It could be. It’s difficult to tell whether the photos are real. It does seem a bit like some kind of Yes Men stunt. In any case, the overall response on Facebook seems to be overwhelmingly negative.

      • Southern Fried Scientist

        Not only does the science not exist to do this, but genetics doesn’t work the way Rayfish describes. Pigmentation genes from one species don’t just automatically create the same pattern when inserted into a completely different species’ genome and even if they did, you couldn’t mix and match them to create predictable “custom” patterns never seen in nature. Add to that a “patented process” for which no patent exists and the fact that, if this were true, it would literally be the least profitable way to use this technology and you have all the ingredients for a great hoax.

        • GDiFonzo

          Good point, Andrew. I would also imagine that any undertaking involving genetic engineering would be unbelievably cost-prohibitive for a startup company. As for the words “patented process,” I hear them on so many commercials that I just tuned them out in this case. Observant!

  • This is utterly disgusting. I can’t believe people.

  • Austen W

    I don’t think this is a hoax. The photos don’t look ‘shopped to me, and they have a post explaining their scientific process. Granted, I’m only a science enthusiast, not an expert, but it all seems plausible to me given their explanation. http://rayfish.com/index.php?chapter=blog#patterning_science

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