Vegans often go through extra pain to explain why silk is not ethical or why we humans should give up on the usage of pearls. However, the immorality of using leather is probably easier to explain. It is another animal’s skin. A breathing life had to be taken just so that people can wear a belt or carry a handbag. These are some of the brutal realities of the leather industry and the things they hope you never know.
The leather industry lives off of the skin of other animals literally. Every year the skin is ripped off millions of animals so that the leather industry can keep getting its raw material. The animals are mistreated, handled in a brutal way, killed under extreme conditions just so that the leather industry can stay alive instead. Most of these animals come from India and China where they do not have laws pertaining to the treatment of animals. Animals that are not obedient enough have their tails broken, chilies rubbed in their eyes or are beaten with sticks till they start bleeding just so that they can be taken to the slaughterhouse and killed mercilessly for their skin.
After being chemically treated, there is no way to tell which animals the leather has come from. All the leather industry gets is the skin that it works on to turn that into the leather we know. Most of the times to meet their needs they often use the skins of other animals like dogs, cats, foxes, sheep etc. Those animals are subjected to the same treatment as well just so that they can be considered as a low-quality leather which is not good enough to be used somewhere important.
Leather tanning uses a lot of chemicals, tar-based compounds, and harmful substances, which are extremely dangerous for humans and all other animals that live on this planet. In fact, a study shows that people who live near tanning industry centers are five times more prone to getting cancer than the ones who don’t live near one. The leather-tanner workers in Sweden and Italy showed a 20% to 50% increase in likelihood to get ill.
All these are just the dry facts. Try imagining the tortures the animals in this industry have to go through; animals who are perfectly capable of feeling emotions and pain. Being human, we have no right to subject animals to this treatment just so that we can wear the shoes we want or carry fancy handbags with us. We have a safer, environmentally healthy alternative: vegan leather.