Whenever I talk about vegan alternatives to leather, I feel like I get a lot of pushback. Leather is a natural material, so it must be eco-friendly, right? I feel like that argument fails on many levels, and the video below is just one example of how unnatural the leather industry really is.
Leather Industry and the Environment
Petroleum-based leather alternatives are not the greenest fabric, I totally agree. But the leather industry is not a better option. Here are a few reasons that leather is bad for the environment:
- Producing leather means raising cows. In many places, that means deforestation. It also means feeding those cows and the huge industrial agriculture footprint that goes along with it.
- The leather tanning process it terribly toxic. Tanneries use tons of water and toxic chemicals like formaldehyde to make that cow skin wearable. Their processes pollute the air and the water.
- Leather is cruel. Just like with raising factory animals for meat, raising them for their skins often comes with a heavy does of animal abuse. Commodity animals like cows aren’t protected by animal rights laws like dogs and cats are, and so-called “ag gag” laws prevent transparency in many factory faring operations.
Leather Industry Cruelty
The video below is pretty graphic. It depicts the cruelty and abuse that’s unfortunately pretty common in the leather industry. This is a PETA video, and I know that PETA is a pretty polarizing operation. They pull some crazy stunts, and they can be pretty off-putting. But they also do a good job of showing the cruelty in the world of animal agriculture, like the leather industry. I hope that you’ll give the video below a chance and maybe rethink the leather in your wardrobe:
Image Credit: Factory Farming photo via Shutterstock