5 Reasons Why You Should Never Buy a Leather Jacket
The vast majority of people nowadays realize that fur coats are tacky products of cruelty, but what about leather jackets, which are much more common and just as terrible? With all the awesome vegan leather jackets out there, there’s no reason to buy one made of somebody’s skin.
Here are the top reasons why you should never buy a jacket made of any animal’s skin:
1. You’re Wearing Skin
As I mentioned above, leather is actually someone’s skin. How sick is that? We’ve previously shared a PETA Asia undercover investigation that revealed that dogs are bludgeoned and killed so that their skin can be turned into leather shoes, gloves, belts, and other accessories.
Most people were horrified to learn that dogs were being killed and that their skin was being turned into these items. Cows are sensitive animals who can feel pain, fear, happiness, and sadness, just like the animals we share our homes with—and they don’t want to die. So why is wearing a cow’s skin any better than wearing a dog’s or a cat’s? It’s not.
2. Leather Is Toxic to the Environment and a Danger to Human Health
Skins from dead animals, including humans, rot. To prevent this, companies use tons of toxic chemicals that end up in nearby soil and water, endangering the lives of the people who work at the tanneries—often including children—and those who live in the area. It’s estimated that 90% of tannery workers in Bangladesh die before age 50. About a quarter of them are under 11 years old.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents of an area surrounding one tannery in Kentucky was five times higher than the national average. Arsenic, a chemical commonly used in leather finishing, has long been associated with an increased risk of cancer in workers who are exposed to it on a regular basis. And several studies have established links between sinus and lung cancer and the chromium used in tanning.
3. It’s Inhumane
Most of the leather in the U.S. comes from other countries like India, where people force cows to march hundreds of miles in the heat without food or water to slaughter. Sometimes people break their tails and rub chili peppers and tobacco into their eyes in order to force them to get back up after they’ve collapsed from exhaustion. Because most Indian states have banned the slaughter of cows, many cows are also tied up, crammed onto trucks, and transported thousands of miles to Bangladesh to be killed in ancient slaughterhouses.
At the slaughterhouses, workers typically tie the terrified cows’ feet together, cut their throats, and tear off their skin. Cows are sometimes still alive and kicking when their skin is peeled off—all needless violence for a jacket.
4. The Leather Industry Supports the Meat Industry
More and more people are ditching meat and dairy after learning how animals suffer when they’re killed for food. But you may not realize that when you buy leather, you’re actually supporting the meat industry.
The multibillion-dollar meat industry profits from more than just animals’ flesh. Its coproducts include internal organs, heart valves, fat, and blood, but animals’ skin is one of the most profitable.
When cows’ milk production in the dairy industry declines, they’re slaughtered, and their skin is made into leather. The hides of their calves, who are frequently raised for veal, are sometimes turned into high-priced calfskin. The economic success of slaughterhouses and dairy farms is directly linked to the sale of leather goods.
5. It’s Easy to Find Vegan Leather
Chances are, a lot of the leather-looking items you already own are probably vegan. That’s because tons of stores—such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Nasty Gal—carry animal-free leather jackets, shoes, and belts. So there’s simply no reason to buy a jacket made of somebody’s skin. In fact, wearing a cowskin jacket is just as unnecessary as wearing a fur one.
By supporting the leather industry, you’re also supporting those who exploit children, dump toxic chemicals that poison the air and water, and kill animals. Compassionate people, including vegans, human rights activists, and environmentalists, have every reason to skip leather. Want to help? Keep reading.
It’s easy to help animals used for their skin. All you have to do is check the tags before you buy any leather-looking items and avoid anything that’s labeled “leather.” Be sure to pay attention to these symbols:
Look for cruelty-free materials such as synthetic leather, PU, polyurethane, “manmade” materials, and waxed cotton. There are also many innovative options on the market, like pineapple leather, grape leather, apple leather, and cactus leather.
Avoid cashmere, down, fur, leather, mohair, suede, sheepskin, shearling, silk, wool, and nubuck.
So now that you know the facts, wear your vegan leather with pride and share this page so that everyone knows wearing leather is seriously f’d up.