Inside the Leather Industry

An Exhausted Cow Used for Leather©PETA/Karremann


Leather can be made from cows, pigs, goats, kangaroos and sheep; exotic animals such as alligators and ostriches; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skin in China, which exports their skins around the world. Because leather is normally not labelled, you never really know where – or whom – it came from.

Most leather comes from developing countries such as India and China, where laws don’t protect animals killed for their skins. A PETA India investigation found that workers in India 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 abattoir.

Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and abattoirs because skin is the most economically important by-product of the meat industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment, as its production shares responsibility for all the environmental destruction caused by factory farming as well as the pollution caused by the toxic chemicals that are used in tanning to artificially preserve the animal skins.

Fashion should be fun, not fatal! With every pair of leather shoes sold, an animal is sentenced to a lifetime of suffering. Why not choose instead from the hundreds of styles of fashionable non-leather shoes, clothing, belts, bags and wallets? Check out PETA’s cruelty-free clothing guide for great tips on where to find stylish yet compassionate clothing.

More on Animal Skins Used for Clothing:

Exotic Animals | Kangaroos | Shearling