Animal Allies Douse Themselves With Sludge in Earth Day Push Against Toxic Leather

Posted on by Erika Goyal

For Earth Day (22 April), PETA India supporters brandishing buckets proclaiming, “Leather Is a Dirty Business,” gathered in front of New Market in Esplanade, Kolkata, and dumped black sludge over themselves, representing the environmental devastation caused by the leather industry. Animal agriculture, which includes the leather industry, is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, and effluents from leather tanneries contaminate rivers and streams, harming humans and all living, feeling beings who reside there or in the vicinity. 

The leather industry is deadly to humans, other animals, and the planet. Cows, buffaloes, and other animals used for leather in India are often crammed into vehicles in such large numbers that their bones break. Slaughterhouse workers cut the throats of those who survive this ordeal in full view of other animals before dismembering and skinning them, often while they’re still conscious. Leather production also destroys the planet, since turning skin into leather uses significant energy and dangerous chemicals. Because of the prevalence of toxins in leather production, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies leather industry waste as a carcinogen. Working in tanneries has also been linked to respiratory and skin disorders, and multiple studies have shown that leather industry workers are at greater risk of developing various types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, skin, kidney, nasal, bladder, and testicular.  


Vegan leather and other animal-friendly options are available at nearly all major shoe and clothing shops nationwide. The “PETA-Approved Vegan” certification authenticates handbags, shoes, clothing, accessories, furniture, and home decor items made from vegan materials rather than animal-derived ones such as leather, silk, wool, fur, and feathers. Over 1000 companies worldwide are using the “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo to enable socially conscious consumers in India and elsewhere to identify vegan products at a glance while shopping. 

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