People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent a letter to the chair of the Council for Leather Exports (CLE) yesterday, urging him to advise the members of the council to end the slaughter of cows and buffaloes to manufacture leather goods.
Ahead of Cow Appreciation Day today (13 July), the NGO suggested Sanjay Leekha to make a transition towards cruelty-free vegan leather that could be done by careful consideration of the changing consumer interests. It also said that focusing on vegan leather production would open up newer avenues for enhanced livelihoods.
The Council functions under the aegis of the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Today, a lot of companies are producing leather using plant-based materials that are abundantly available in the Indian topography. Starting from agricultural waste to discarded temple flowers, everything is finding application in this sustainable, cruelty free structure.
The CLE members’ directory lists down cow leather, buffalo leather, cow calf leather, buffalo calf leather. PETA footage recording the horrors inside leather factories can be viewed here:
Some of world’s leading luxury brands can now be seen adopting vegan leather in tune with changing consumer preferences. Gucci recently unveiled cruelty-free fashion using Demetra, vegan leather made of wood pulp, while Hermes is transitioning to Sylvania, derived from mushrooms.
In the letter, the NGO noted that the demand for plant-based leather is growing globally and the market is expected to reach nearly $90 billion by 2025.
A host of environmental, ethical and physiological concerns have made the sharp transition possible. The consequences of leather include factory workers developing a host of skin diseases, respiratory disorders and various cancers on long exposure, while also creating agricultural wastelands.
PETA India has documented several footages showing workers slitting animal’s throats and cattle transported on vehicles in which they are packed so tight that they are unable to move, leading to broken bones.