The Truth About Leather: Wearing Cruelty

Although many people acknowledge and boycott the needlessness and cruelty involved in fur farming, leather still remains a tremendously popular clothing item with little to no resistance against it.

Just like fur, in order to get leather, an animal must first be killed and slaughtered. Unfortunately, many conscientious individuals are misled into believing leather is simply a “by-product” of the meat industry and there is no harm in buying it. 

Sadly, this is not the case.

It is estimated that leather makes up half of all profits of slaughterhouses that process cattle. Leather is a not a by-product, it is a co-product.

Because the profit margin is rather small on the sale of animal flesh (relatively speaking), most cattle exploiting companies are dependent upon the sale of hides to remain in business.

Many of us who care about the wellbeing of animals don’t eat meat because we don’t want to put money in the pockets of people who kill animals for profit, yet many of us still support these horrific industries by buying leather.

Most leather comes from the skin of animals raised for meat, but virtually all dairy cows meet the same end, as well, when their milk production slows down and they are no longer seen as profitable to keep.

Calfskin suede is exactly what it sounds like. This is the skin of mostly young male dairy calves. These poor calves have been taken from their mothers within days of being born and confined to tiny wooden boxes, where they’re raised to be veal. To buy calfskin suede supports the terrible treatment of veal calves, the inherent abuse of dairy farming, and the entire animal exploiting meat industry.

A growing percentage of leather on the market in the US is imported from India and China. And in China, many animal welfare laws do not exist. And if they do exist, they are simply not enforced, leaving millions of animals to suffer horrible deaths so their skin may be turned into a cheap pair of shoes.

In many states of India it is actually illegal to slaughter cows because Hindus honor them as sacred beings. Cattle purchasers will buy impoverished Hindu families’ cows from them with the promises that their beloved cows will be taken care of. But instead they death march them to Bangladesh, Pakistan or an Indian state where cow slaughter is permitted.

For cows who have been treated as the most honored member of a family, to all of a sudden be forced to walk potentially hundreds of miles, is more than most can bear. As cows falter and fall, or are too sick to walk, the wranglers will rub hot chili powder in their eyes or break the bones in their tails to motivate them to keep going.

For those who make the distance to the slaughterhouse, they will have their throats slit while fully conscious.

The thought of an animal enduring such a nightmare so someone can have — what they perceive as — a fashionable bag, jacket, pair of shoes or furniture covering, is too much for me.

When comparing the treatment of animals on fur farms to that of animals slaughtered for meat and leather, it is shocking that we don’t all do more to boycott this cruel and needless industry.

There are many synthetic alternatives to virtually every single leather product on the market. Some shopping resources: 


Sign The Petition: Boycott The Use Of Leather

photo credit: Image: Paul Martin Eldridge /


Ruth Smith
Ruth Smith2 years ago

Animal exploitation and killing is wrong....wish id have been educated years ago about the horrible animal industries which rule our lives!!

Julie Cordner
Julie Cordner3 years ago

More information about the use of animal hides (and you might be surprised at how many different animals' skins are made into 'leather') can be viewed via this link:

Julie Cordner
Julie Cordner3 years ago

I'm Vegan and ridding myself of the remnants of animals in my life - which did include shoes and belts... Amanda B (if you come back to read further comments), please consider viewing this U-Tube film about the promotion of cheese in the US:

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Deanna Zimmerman
Deanna Zimmerman4 years ago

It really makes no sense to kill a business that provides us with food and clothing without poisoning the planet (if done properly).

EVERY synthetic material poisons the environment in every phase of the manufacturing process (including the gathering of the materials and even after entering the landfills.

We should be fighting to CHANGE the industry that tortures animals; not encourage an industry that kills the planet (and with it, the animals).

Lisa Ling did a special on Cargil, and how they have been working for more than a decade to eliminate all pain and suffering of their cattle. It was an amazing hour of information that has me hopeful about the prospects of real change for treating all animals humanely.

Evelyn W.
Evelyn W.4 years ago

Fur,leather or suede,it is all the same.Drives me nuts when people scream about fur,but they are wearing or sitting on leather.I am not vegan.I do eat fish and poultry.I can look at my self in the mirror without quilt.Some how mammals are different to me.I do not own anything that a mammal use to wear.A leather couch or jacket causes the same reaction to me as does a fur coat.

antonia maestre
antonia maestre4 years ago

“How can we ourselves find peace when we are the living graves of murdered animals?"
-George Bernard Shaw

Amanda B.
Amanda Blake4 years ago

I am not a hardcore vegan. I love cheese too much! But I am loosely vegetarian. I am a fish-and-eggs vegetarian most of the time. I buy eggs from cage-free hens. I eat meat once or twice a year, but I try to ethical about, only free-range, usually Amish-raised. I never wear fur. I have a few leather things that I feel very guilty about. I just recently found out wear suede comes from. Okay, I'm stupid, I didn't know it comes from cows. After reading this and watching the videos linked, I am seriously considering getting rid of all my leather and suede. Sigh. Stupid morals.

Gerald L.
Gerald L.4 years ago

We would not even exist if it was not for our ancestors eating meat, using hides , hair, wool & leather from animals. AND you know the PARADOX ? Most of you radical hard core Vegans would be in favor of ABORTION !!!

Linda Mills
Linda Mills5 years ago

(sorry i didn't finish my thought, i was up all night from the heat)
so dairy & meat are supply & demand and cows aren't slaughtered just for their hides. having the dairy won't kill the cows but since the demand for meat will, the less meat consumed, the less leather there will be. so if vegan is to difficult, at least consider becoming vegetarian or eating vegetarian means 2-3 times a week.