The leather industry is up there with the egg and dairy industry when it comes to animal exploitation that isn’t directly associated with what is eaten. Leather is most definitely non-vegan, despite the declining leather industry’s best efforts to market their cruel product otherwise.
The truth is, the leather industry is responsible for the slaughter of over a billion cattles each year. That figure is predominantly made up from dairy cattle that are callously butchered once they have been deemed to be past the peak of milk production and also cattle that have been bred specifically for their hides. Either scenario is horrific and absolutely unnecessary.
The leather industry would have us think that its products are simply a natural by-product of the animal agriculture machine. While that of course is an abhorrent concept to vegans, one should also consider how much of a threat to the environment the leather industry is. To prevent the hides from rotting, they need to be tanned. Tanning uses a potent pick and mix of chemicals that look to be a Frankenstein mix from the periodic table – chromium, sodium sulfide and magnesium oxide, and those are just a tiny number of chemicals used. Not quite so natural now?
Some of the chemicals pose serious hazards to the environment and can make their way into local eco-spheres and waterways with ease. This is even more so as issue in poorer countries where the regulation of tanning is law, not properly enforced, or both.
So not only does the leather industry contribute to unnecessary animal cruelty and suffering, it hits us with the double whammy of polluting the environment and all life within that to boot.
Perfectly good alternatives to leather are ever more readily available, so there’ never been a better time to give leather the cruelty-free boot.