Leather or also commonly known as ‘genuine leather’ is derived from cattle hide in which the ‘material’ obtained is often used in upholstery and by the clothing and fashion industry to create footwear, garments and various bags and accessories. The leather undergoes various stages of curing, washing and tanning which often includes dangerous chemicals and agents before it becomes suitable to manufacture with.
Isn’t Leather a by-product?
People who use leather are often well aware that it is the skin of an animal. However, as it is so readily available on the marketplace, we often become blinded on how it became the final product in question. Was the animal slaughtered? Perhaps it died of natural causes or one that is commonly said, isn’t all leather a by-product of the meat industry anyway?
Unfortunately leather is not simply a ‘leftover’ from the meat industry that if not used will go to waste. This is a common misconception, and the truth is that much of the leather sold comes from animals killed primarily for their skins. In fact projections tell us that in order to keep our wallets, handbags and shoes, the industry needs to slaughter 430m cows annually by 2025.
What about Cows?
There has been much success on limiting the wide use of fur and many counties consider it illegal to import any animal fur. However, over 40 million animals are still killed each year for fur worldwide.
Wearing fur still remains a mainstream taboo due to the image of fluffy animals being trapped in cages is immoral, but when it comes to leather and cows, why isn’t the protest just as strong? Perhaps it would be too difficult a task, as cows are slaughtered for beef and banning leather but continuing to eat beef just seems obscure.
An eye opening revelation about the leather industry is that India is the 5th biggest manufacturer of leather in the world. A country which considers cows to be sacred and many Hindus go above and beyond to protect cows. In fact, killing a cow in many parts of India is banned and crimes can face heafty fines or even jail time. Many cows are smuggled into neighboring countries such as Bangladesh which was captured in this shocking video by PETA. View the video here.
When travelling by train, anywhere up to 900 cows are crammed into a wagon that is supposed to hold a maximum of 80 to 100, and upon arrival 400 to 500 come out dead.
If you don’t want to contribute to the shameful leather industry, you don’t have to. There are so many cruelty-free alternatives available, both natural and synthetic which look and feel like ‘genuine’ leather but are not. Always check the labels and support companies that are aiming to make a difference to animal welfare and the environment.References