New Video Shows Perilous, Gruelling Journeys of Cows Killed for Leather

For Immediate Release:

10 July 2020

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, PETA Points Out That Live-Animal Export Fuels Risk of Spreading Disease to Humans: It’s Time to Shop Vegan for Everyone’s Sake

Sydney – Amid heightened awareness of the public-health risks involved in handling and transporting animals resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, PETA is pointing to a new investigation by Manfred Karremann – a German journalist who has covered various animal welfare issues, including the dog and cat fur trade and toxic leather tanneries in Bangladesh – released by PETA Germany. The investigation reveals that animals used by the international leather industry are commonly kept, transported, and killed in filthy, crowded conditions in which devastating zoonotic diseases can develop and spread.

Karremann documented that animals are subjected to weeks-long journeys from Europe and South America overseas and by truck to abattoirs in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and elsewhere, some of their skins ultimately ending up on shop shelves in Australia, Europe, and the US. The video footage shows weak or injured animals being hoisted off a docked ship by one leg with a crane (a process that can break their legs and dislocate their joints) and then dropped onto an abattoir-bound truck. When they finally reached the abattoir, they were pinned to the ground or tied up and their throats were cut. Workers slit the throat of a cow who was still moving as blood gushed out and threw a sheep who was still kicking onto a pile of corpses to bleed to death.

“As the world reels from a deadly virus that originated in the cruel treatment and butchery of animals, this deeply disturbing video footage should set off alarm bells,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk. “Animals killed for leather endure enormous pain and suffering, and its production poses a risk to human health, so PETA is urging shoppers to avoid it like the plague.”

More than 1.4 billion cows, goats, and sheep – and millions of other animals – are killed for leather worldwide every year. Inadequate labelling makes it nearly impossible for consumers to determine where leather really came from. Sustainable vegan leather made from apples, cork, mushrooms, paper, tea, and other materials mimics the properties of animal-derived leather without the cruelty, risk of transmissible disease, or environmental destruction.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, the belief that humans are superior to all other animals. For more information, please visit