Many people shun and refuse to wear fur because of the gruesome ways in which animals suffer and are killed for their pelts. But what about leather? Most consumers are not aware of the cruelty to animals involved in the leather industry or the detrimental environmental effects of leather production. Designer Stella McCartney, who does not use any leather in her fashion line, explains why she has shed leather in this shocking video exposé of the leather industry. Stella’s video for PETA provides consumers with the facts so that they can make informed decisions before buying products made from leather.
In the West, many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skins endure the horrors of factory farming, including extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning – all without any painkillers. Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses because skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat industry.
A large amount of leather comes from India and China. Animal welfare laws are not enforced in India and carry no penalties in China.
In India, a PETA US investigation found that workers break cows’ tails and rub chilli peppers and tobacco into their eyes in order to force them to get up and walk after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats cut and are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious.
In addition to promoting animal suffering, leather production is also harmful to the environment. In order to preserve animal skins, companies use tons of toxic chemicals that can end up in nearby soil and water supplies. Turning skin into leather requires massive amounts of energy and dangerous chemicals, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes, some of them cyanide-based. Most leather produced in the US is chrome-tanned, and all wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Stella shares, “As a designer, I like to work with fabrics that don’t bleed; that’s why I avoid all animal skins. Please join me in exploring the huge variety of fashionable shoes, belts, purses, and wallets that aren’t the product of a cow’s violent death. You can buy cruelty-free fashion all over the place now, since demand is always increasing as people learn the dark truth about the fur and leather and exotic-skins trade“.
Join Stella in ending the suffering of animals by taking the pledge to boycott leather.