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 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net