So many people, particularly those of us who live in more industrialized countries, have become obsessed with our appearance. People slave away behind a desk just so they can afford that new designer handbag or some other fashion craze. Very rarely do we ask ourselves, “Do I truly need this material item, or am I using it to fill a void?”
Even more rarely do we ask ourselves, “What material are my clothes made out of and where do they come from?” We just take a glimpse at a tag, recognize the label, and purchase it without second guessing what our money is supporting. If the process was shown to us visually, during our purchase, just think about how many people would walk away from that item.
This is how disconnected and ignorant we’ve become.
The sad truth is that the fashion industry is torturing and murdering innocent animals and destroying the environment in the process. A recent PETA video exposes the terrifying reality behind many designer leather items.
Warning: Graphic Video That Will Make You Ditch Leather Forever
Society not only considers it ‘normal’ to own leather products, but also encourages consumers to buy them because leather is considered a high quality material, one that only people with “higher statuses” can afford. In particular, crocodile skin has been a fad for a long time in the leather industry, as many luxury brands will make leather handbags, watches, shoes, belts, and other clothing items out of it.
The PETA video below features footage inside multiple crocodile farms in Vietnam. In the video, you can see that the crocodiles are still alive while being cut open and skinned. In fact, crocodiles can live for multiple hours after being skinned alive. One of the farms featured is one that provides crocodile leather for Louis Vuitton, which is often viewed as a symbol of prosperity, but should really be viewed as a symbol of cruelty.
The Chilling Truth Behind The Fashion Industry
Crocodiles aren’t the only animals to be tortured, skinned alive, and forced to endure a slow and painful death. Leather can be made from a variety of animals including the more obvious choices of cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals like alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even house pets such as dogs and cats. You may be thinking, “I’d never wear leather from cats and dogs!” However, ask yourself these two questions: What makes dogs and cats so different from other animals and how would you even be able to distinguish between leather made from a dog and leather made from a cow?
No, North America doesn’t kill dogs and cats for leather, but they do import leather products from China, where cats and dogs are killed for their meat and then skinned for leather. In fact, most leather actually comes from China or India and there’s no way to determine where (or whom) your leather is coming from (source).
Wool isn’t any better either; you’d assume that manufacturers would want to keep the animals alive and treat them with care since wool doesn’t technically require an animal to die. It seems this would be more economical, yet these animals are tortured and often die as a result of the brutality that takes place on wool farms (you can read about that here).
I’ve also heard people argue that leather is more environmentally sustainable than other cruelty-free alternatives. Yes, it may have a longer product lifecycle than some vegan alternatives; however, it’s also responsible for the same environmental degradation the meat industry causes and further pollution from the dying and tanning processes. To give you a few statistics:
“Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”
“Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.”
“Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day.” (source)
So, How Do We Transition To A Leather-Free Fashion Industry?
We torture and murder these animals, all for what? A pair of shoes? A wallet to hold the cards that are literally driving you into debt? I’ll admit, there’s a certain practicality behind leather because of its durability, but there are numerous vegan materials that are equally as strong and long-lasting. Some of the awesome, vegan, eco-friendly alternatives to leather include waxed cotton, paper, cork, tree bark “leather,” and one of my personal favourites, recycled tires! PETA has a comprehensive list of vegan leathers that are just as sleek and durable as real leather.
I ditched all of my leather products a long time ago; however, I completely understand the struggle to do so. If you own a lot of leather, it can be expensive and wasteful to simply throw it out. You have a few options: you could sell your leather goods, donate them to a shelter or a facility that refurbishes or recycles leather, or trade them with friends for other cruelty-free options!
It’s also important to recognize that, at one point in time, using animals to create our clothing served us. Animal skin and fur was able to provide our ancestors with enough warmth to survive in colder climates. It was also a more sustainable option for clothing at the time if they were killing the animal for food anyways (long before factory farming became mainstream).
However, now is the time to divest from animal products and move towards a cruelty-free future. We’ve seen how these animals are treated and there’s no way to justify the terror that takes place in these facilities. We know that consuming animal products is of a very low vibration and that simply cannot serve us if we want to raise our consciousness and lead the collective towards a brighter future. Animals weren’t put on this Earth to serve us; they’re not ours to take, just like the environment isn’t ours to destroy.
Say goodbye to your leather so you can look great on the outside and feel even better on the inside!
In this new film called Prosperity, you can learn the ways in which companies are changing the game in order to change our world. CE's founder Joe Martino is in this film talking about CE's business practices.