Leather Products


Environmental Impact

To make leather out of dead animal skin it must be processed in tanneries.  Most of these tanneries are located in poor cities and villages in India and China where the tanneries release huge amounts of toxic water laced with highly toxic and acidic chemicals, into local villages and farmland drinking water contaminating the farms and drinking water.

Kanpur, India, a small city of some 2.5 million inhabitants, is one of the leading leather exporters in the world with over 300 tanneries, which treat various animals hides and skins, manufacturing them into a wide array of leather products including shoes, clothes, belts and bags with 90 percent of its products destined for markets in Europe and the United States.

The tanneries’ treated toxic water is directly dumped into the cities only drinking water and eventually discharged on farmlands, poisoning the cities residents and destroying their farm lands which has caused a health epidemic of cancer, skin diseases, tuberculosis, blindness, gastrointestinal issues and children born with severe mental and physical disabilities. The laborers at these tanneries often develop dyed skin conditions due to the chemicals they are exposed too.

Indian leather worker exposed to chemicals daily

Animal Cruelty

Many people already know about the cruelties about the fur industries.  Most people don’t know these same cruelties happen in the leather industry such as

  • Animals kept all their lives in small confinement unable to move, living an inhumane and cruel life
  • Dehorning, castrating and branding without anesthesia
  • Often abused and beaten
  • Often skinned alive

Leather isn’t a by-products of the animal agriculture industry. Its the most important co-product, increasing the demand for the animal agriculture system.

Chinese Dog and Cat Leather Industry

China is one of the world’s leading exporters of leather.  In addition to cattle and sheep used for leather an estimated 2 million cats and dogs are killed every year for leather.   These animals are kept in cages all their lives and violently butchered and often skinned alive and hacked apart until they bleed to death.  Dog and cat leather is indistinguishable by cow leather and often not labelled increasing the chances of consumers buying dog and cat leather without ever knowing.

Caution Very Graphic Video


Learn More

Care2: Wearing Cruelty

PETA: The Global Leather Trade

Pulitzer Center:  India: The Toxic Price of Leather


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