Leather is on its way out. So what’s next?
But it’s a byproduct, you say? Not quite. Leather is actually the most economically important part of the meat industry so by existing it’s directly propping up industrial farming and the slaughter of over a billion animals each year. As livestock is the most common animal group used for leather it is also implicit in deforestation and climate change.
It is a toxic, cruel and damaging industry, with little regulation. Many animals aren’t properly stunned and are dismembered and skinned while still conscious.
To make leather long lasting, lethally hazardous substances such as formaldehyde, chrome, coal-tar derivatives and cyanide-based finishes are added to it. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that leukaemia among residents near a leather tannery in Kentucky was five times greater than the US average. And studies of leather-tannery workers in Sweden and Italy found cancer risks between 20%-50% above those expected.
As with everything we buy, we have to become more conscious of where these products have come from. Whether it’s your leather wallet or your steak sandwich, just take some time to think about what sacrifices have been made to bring these things into your hands.
Leather from animals will soon be a dry dusty relic of an uncompassionate and disconnected era of our world history. So start today; turn your back on leather and choose something worthy of yourself and your wardrobe.