PeTA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
We live on a planet with billions of people. Most of them eat meat and use the leather made from animal skins for a range of everyday items. Like many things in life, leather has several facets. Modern meat and leather production comply with legal requirements. But leather is also produced under conditions that are unacceptable. Even when operating within legal frameworks, mass animal husbandry and the killing and processing of animals arouses criticism.
Today, the distance between the meat on the plate and the actual killing of the animal is much larger than in previous generations. Teenagers very rarely spend time on a farm with livestock, let alone learn to kill an animal for food. Yet not that long ago it was normal to fish, kill a rabbit, participate in a slaughter party, or kill a wild animal with your own weapon and then skin, gut and eat it. Now, because of the distance between slaughter and plate, many people have developed an ambivalent attitude to keeping and killing animals and, partly, also to leather.
There are a number of organisations that are committed to the dignified handling of animals. It is difficult to discuss and rationalise the issue of killing animals for food production. The number of people who completely dispense with animal products as food, leather and fur is increasing. But a large part of the world's population eats meat and uses leather as a natural product and accepts the indispensable supply industry.
The organisation 'PeTA' is internationally active and fights against animal cruelty and everything related to it. This includes mass animal husbandry, but also the use of animals as foodstuffs or the utilisation of the skin as leather, because in their opinion this leads to animal cruelty.
The main criticisms outlined by PeTA:
- Today's leather is mainly a bi-product of mass animal husbandry which is unacceptable to animals. The marketing of the leather makes mass animal husbandry more profitable.
- Some species are only killed because of their skin. These include zebras, bison, water buffaloes, wild boars, kangaroos, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, turtles, crocodiles, lizards and snakes (Note: Not all of these animals listed by PETA are only killed to make leather).
- Alligators are unreasonably reared in mass production plants because of the leather production.
- Kangaroos are slaughtered in millions every year, as their skin is described as a first-class material for football boots.
- Lambskin is mostly derived from young lambs.
- Hundreds of thousands of dog and cat furs reach the European market every year. There are additionally an estimated 2 million dog and cat skins from China. Although there has been an EU-wide ban on imports and trade since 1 January 2009, the fact remains that the skins and furs have already been imported as fashion articles or accessories. In France, 20,000 cats are stolen annually for the fur trade.
- Although leather manufacturers often refer to their products as "biodegradable" or "environmentally friendly", the process of tanning strengthens the collagen or protein fibres so that they are no longer biodegradable.
- Most leather products marketed today are tanned with chrome. The United States Environmental Protection Agency designates any material containing chromium as hazardous. In addition to the toxic substances already mentioned, tannic effluents also contain enormous amounts of other pollutants such as protein, hair, salts, lime sludge, sulphides and acids. A tannery tanning with chrome wastes over 55,000 litres of water and produces up to 1,100 kilogrammes of solid waste (e.g., hair, meat, and edge waste) per processed tonne of animal skin.
- The rearing of the animals, whose skins are ultimately processed into leather, causes waste and pollution and requires a lot of energy.
- Trees are cut down for the extraction of hay. Enormous amounts of water are consumed and the output of feed production and milk producers are among the main causes of water pollution.
- It is not necessary to make watch straps, footballs, car and furniture upholstery, belts, coats, shoes and all the other things made of leather. There are many alternative materials, e.g. cotton, linen, rubber, china grass, canvas and synthetic fabrics.
Distressing videos about the abysses of animal husbandry and leather production.