Leather is often thought of as a by-product of the meat industry. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Leather is a full, multi-million dollar industry of its own – leather as just as responsible for an animal’s suffering as meat is.
Leather comes from many animals; cows, pigs, sheep as well as exotic animals such as kangaroos and alligators.
Most of the world’s leather comes from places such as India (India is the world’s third-largest producer) and China, where animal welfare laws are virtually non-existent. In these countries, animals tend to suffer terribly while they’re raised and their slaughter is no less merciful. In India, where it is illegal to kill cows, they are dragged on week-long journeys in and out of trailers and trucks to get to another country where killing is permitted. To motivate exhausted, terrified, starving cows to move (as they traverse these distances), people break their tails and rub chilli in their eyes. They are beaten, bashed and dragged, surrounded by others that are dead, or alive, to grim abattoirs and slaughtered in front of each other. This cheap leather is distributed across the world. The demand for low cost leather is so intense that there are also significant welfare concerns for humans working to satisfy this demand. Leather produced in these countries also adds to local environmental devastation, due to the use of toxic chemicals for tanning.