Just in time for Cow Appreciation Day (13 July), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has sent a letter to Shri Sanjay Leekha, chair of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE), which functions under the aegis of the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, urging him to advise the organisation’s members to move to end the slaughter of cows and buffaloes for leather goods.
This can be done, PETA India advises, by studying the market change in consumer interests and making the switch to vegan leather production, thereby opening up new opportunities for enhanced livelihoods.
Today, vegan (non-animal) leather is often made from plants, including those that grow in abundance in India – like bananas, grapes, apples, pineapples, and coconuts – or from related agricultural waste and discarded temple flowers.
The CLE members directory currently lists cow leather, cow calf leather, buffalo leather, and buffalo calf leather suppliers. PETA India’s letter to the CLE can be viewed here, and video footage of the horrors of animal-derived leather production can be downloaded here.
Examples of vegan leather used by major international companies include Demetra, a vegan leather containing wood pulp developed by Gucci, and Sylvania, derived from mushrooms, which Hermès is working on with MycoWorks.
PETA India is working diligently to push the country’s producers and farmers into a stronger position in the domestic and world markets by urging them to see the writing on the wall and move away from animal-based clothing, foods, and other goods now.
Dr Manilal Valliyate, CEO, PETA India, said, “Vegan leather is the future, and we don’t want India to be left behind. Market reports show that ever more shoppers are demanding plant-based options, which are friendly to animals and the environment.
“Council for Leather Exports members should start producing leather using only plants and other non-animal materials, thereby empowering farmers, sparing animals’ lives, and protecting human health and the environment,” Valliyate said.
In the letter, PETA India notes that demand for vegan leather is growing fast. Infinium Global Research estimates that the market for it will reach nearly US$90 billion by 2025.
PETA India identifies some of the factors behind the boom, including concerns over tannery waste in the Ganges, which is causing human health problems and creating agricultural wastelands, as well as workers’ rights issues, since the toxic chemicals in leather production cause many to suffer from skin diseases, respiratory disorders, and various cancers.
In visits to markets, transport routes, and slaughterhouses with CLE representatives in the past, PETA India has documented that Indian slaughterhouses are the stuff nightmares are made of. Cows were dragged from vehicles in which they had been packed so tightly that they sustained broken bones.
Video footage shows slaughterhouse workers slitting animals’ throats without stunning them and in full view of other cows.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAIndia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
Cow Appreciation Day was created by US fast-food chain Chick-fil-A as a marketing gimmick to sell slaughtered chicken products over its competitors’ beef, but PETA US has routinely hijacked the day to tell the public that both cows and chickens matter and that neither want to be killed for food.