The Owner of Rayfish footwear responds to an Animal Rights Break In at his company. He makes really interesting points. One of the most important ones being, wow these "animal rights activists" actually released genetically modified stingrays into a wild population? Although I have mixed feelings about the idea of harvesting animals for the sole purpose of wearing them, I find that he makes super valid points about the hypocrisies of our consumer culture. I think he's also a serious scientist who is looking at the future with a hint of coldness in regards to the cost of pushing said manufacturing practices. Even if it does provide sustainable wages and excellent working conditions for employed humans. Currently, I work with leather in the shoes I design, and all of the deerskin that we use for our lining are all byproducts of seasonal deer hunts in Upstate New York meant to control the population. If our company were to purposely raise deers to kill just for the linings in our shoes, I would feel totally uncomfortable with that.
I feel purposely engineering stingray to create a luxury novelty factor in your product is a bit sleazy. Questionable, definitely. Like, just because you can does it mean you should? The future is full of possibility and I think that even if I'm uncomfortable with a new idea, it is worth thinking about and exploring. The world is full of potentially game changing ideas for better or for worse. According to the Rayfish, they were originally slated for production in late 2012, with a general price tag of $1,800 a pair. By endorsing this kind of conceptual practice, what would stop someone like Nike from doing the same thing, but pricing their product ( most likely ) significantly lower so they can sell more volume? The sad essence of consumer culture is to knock off a product and make it for less. It's like life inevitability 101. By the same token, why couldn't another scientist raise tye dye pigs and cows? Engineer elephants with diamond tusks? I mean where does it end? Can we just invent a real lorax, or dinosaur, muppet, Robocop? You know, for the sake of human entertainment. Because I'm sure there are some rich people who would pay to have their own real life muppet.
The bigger picture here is the idea of consumerism in general. if it's not practical, it's luxury. Do I, in fact, need a $100,000 yacht? Do I need a $5,000 couch? Do I even need a pair of $200 jeans? Do I seriously need to buy all the t shirts that I buy? Does the world in fact need a customized sting ray shoe for $1,800? Probably not. But I can see people buying them. The future is full of complexities and questions. We don't know where it all leads, including the scientists at the helm who don't know either. Scientists don't know how their breakthrough ideas will be interpreted by opportunistic businessmen, they are probably more concerned with the fascinations of technology. So I guess it just leaves us where we started, at the mercy of our own curiosity and evolution. Just because we don't want to change, doesn't mean the world can't change without us.