For Immediate Release:
31 January 2013
Group Urges State Minister of Education to Follow the Lead of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and Give Cruelly Produced and Eco-Unfriendly Leather the Boot
Jammu and Kashmir – Following Himachal Pradesh’s and Punjab’s landmark proposals to require schools to use only animal- and eco-friendly canvas or other non-leather footwear for uniforms, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has sent letters to Jammu and Kashmir Minister of Higher Education Tara Chand and officials of all other Indian states urging them to follow suit.
“This measure would protect animals and the environment and also empower children with the opportunity to be animal- and eco-friendly consumers”, says PETA India Corporate and Government Affairs Liaison Sarfaraz Syed. “Most children naturally care for animals and the environment and prefer wearing more comfortable canvas shoes over leather or other materials, so transitioning to canvas-only shoes for all school uniforms would be a win-win-win situation for all – children, animals and the environment.”
Leather shoes have a highly disastrous environmental and animal welfare cost. PETA’s undercover investigations have revealed that cows and other animals are often so severely crowded in trucks on their way to slaughter that many animals sustain serious injuries or die when they are crushed or gored by the horns of others. At slaughterhouses, many animals are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious.
What’s more, turning the skins of cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons local rivers and streams. The toxic chemicals that tannery workers are exposed to on a daily basis have been linked to nervous disorders, skin and respiratory infections and even cancer.
Canvas, on the other hand, requires relatively little maintenance compared to other popular shoe materials, including leather. As a result, it has become extremely popular among environmentalists, who have pushed for the use of canvas tote bags and other applications of the material. With the growing interest in physical fitness, canvas shoes will be the preferred footwear for children in years to come for the comfort that they provide. Canvas is recyclable and a renewable resource, and shoes made from it are biodegradable, can be washed easily and are sturdy enough to stand heavy wear and tear. In addition the environmental impact of canvas shoe production is negligible in comparison to that of shoes made of other materials. Eco-friendly materials such as canvas are also resistant to bacteria and mould. The non-animal materials used to create eco-friendly shoes make them irritant-free. They do not cause the allergies or skin rashes that shoes made from animals can. When eco-friendly footwear is made with plant-based fibres, skin is able to breathe easily.
A copy of PETA’s letter – along with video footage narrated by Hollywood actor Pamela Anderson documenting the cruelty inherent in the leather industry – is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com.