PETA Supporters Highlight Leather Industry’s Planet-Poisoning Waste
Sydney – As Australian Fashion Week kicks off in Sydney, a group of PETA supporters carrying signs reading “Dump Leather” and “Leather Is a Dirty Business” poured buckets of black “toxic slime” over their heads outside the event to call attention to the harmful waste associated with the leather industry.
Photos of the demonstration are available here.
“Cows’ skin is for nobody except the gentle animals who were born in it,” says PETA Campaigns Adviser Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA is calling on fashion fans everywhere to protect animals and the planet by giving cruel, toxic leather the boot and opting for fashionable vegan alternatives instead.”
Leather negatively impacts the environment in several ways. Vast amounts of land and water are required to raise cows, who emit methane, a greenhouse gas over 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat. The destruction of the Amazon – including the fires that continue to burn – is largely linked to leather production, with more than 86 million cows now living in pasture that used to be rainforest.
Ensuring an animal’s skin doesn’t begin to rot after it’s taken from their body also requires a worrying brew of chemicals. Although some leather producers make “eco-friendly” claims, the process of turning skin into leather requires chemicals such as mineral salts, formaldehyde, and even cyanide. The Higg Materials Sustainability Index ranks leather’s “cradle-to-gate” impact on the planet as worse than synthetic leather, and even acrylic.
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.
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 PETA.org.au.