LeatherNaturally! put out a statement when an anti leather video was published by Stella McCartney. The video was full of errors.
This is now a longer suggestion to counter those who write articles or publish web sites that are aggressively against leather without consideration of the true facts. It deals with many of the comments made against leather which you can read into the answers. Please help us to improve it. Comments welcome.
Allow me to give YOU some FACTS
LEATHER IS A CO PRODUCT: WRONG
1. Without the meat industry there is no leather industry! No meat, no leather!
2. The value of a hide or skin of meat animals at farm level is ZERO. Just one small example: cattle growers ignore pleas from the leather industry to avoid barbed wire and avoid branding, which seriously damage the hide and lower its value. The animal is sold on the hoof per kilo and its value is not judged for the integrity of the hide but for the quantity of meat.
3. Hides and skins are by-product whether you like it or not. Ever seen a cow grazing in the field without its hide?
4. At abattoir level the hide is worth about 5% of the carcass value. To make leather from it is a complex process. These two facts (low value and lots of processing) constitute the definition of a bi-product
5. In 2008 abattoirs PAID traders to take away the hides hence there was a loss not a profit.
TANNERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE TREATMENT OF CATTLE IN INDIA: WRONG
6. In India cows are sacred and generally are not slaughtered. They die natural deaths and are dehided after they are dead. Bullocks and oxen are slaughtered for the meat. The leather industry is not involved.
7. Cows in general are free grazing animals as they feed on grass which produces more milk hence they are rarely confined
8. Sharks are fished (not hunted) for their fins and not their skins. Sharks are dumped back into the sea (alive to drown) after finning with their skin on! Please petition the world’s Chinese community (about 2 bn strong) to refrain from eating shark fin soup, but don’t blame the leather industry. Save the sharks!
9. The laws of western countries make precise provisions that animals must be stunned (made unconscious) before dispatching. Jewish and Muslim religious laws cannot accept stunning and demand kosher and halal slaughter which is the slicing of the throat of conscious animals. Studies however show that the animal appears not to feel pain
PERIPHERAL ANIMALS ARE ONLY KILLED FOR THEIR SKINS
10. Camel, horses, dogs, cats, rabbits are all slaughtered for their meat. It may be that the skins are sometimes used for leather. With camels, horses and rabbits we would encourage this. Biased observations don’t contribute to correct labeling. Help correct labeling.
TANNING USES TOXIC CHEMICALS LIKE ARSENIC: WRONG
11. As for the chemicals used for tanning, please take care to be informed . Most of the hazardous chemicals mentioned by opponents have been banned from the tanning industry for years.
12. The leather industry is highly sophisticated and VERY environment conscious. In fact it spends millions each year for research on ever “cleaner” leather and the effluent in all developed and emerging countries is within legal parameters. Tannery effluent is cleaner than what you flush in your toilet. The fact that tanneries in some developing countries are not compliant is true, but it is not being constructive just to condemn these poor people whose livelihoods depends on leather. Help them to improve!
13. CSR and best practices are part of the code of conduct in the leather industry.
PLASTICS AND SYNTHETICS ARE BETTER FOR THE PLANET THAN LEATHER: WRONG
14. Synthetic materials are produced from non-renewable natural resources and their transformation from oil is far more polluting than the transformation of raw hides and skins to leather.
15. Leather is a renewable natural resource and environment friendly and healthy to wear – unlike synthetics.