Barratts Agrees To Help PETA Stop Indian Leather Cruelties

For Immediate Release:
8 January 2003

Dawn Carr 020 7357 9229, ext. 224 (office); 0776 8571678 (mobile)

Leeds — Today, Michael Ziff, CEO of Stylo plc (which operates the popular Barratts shoe chain), let PETA know that the company will immediately join international efforts to try to combat the immense suffering of Indian animals killed for leather sold to the UK. As part of its burgeoning campaign to enlist international retailers to take responsibility and steps to stop unlawful abuse of animals in their supply chains, a member of PETA had planned to dress as a butcher on Thursday and ‘slaughter’ and ‘skin’ a ‘cow,’ leaving the activist naked but for her blood-red painted body outside the shop on Commercial Street, hoping to stir Stylo to take action. The company had until now been unresponsive to news of the massive suffering. That demonstration has now been called off.

As a result of years of consumer pressure, the Indian Council for Leather Exports (CLE) is now working with PETA to bring about badly needed reforms that would help reduce some suffering of cattle, goats and other animals used for leather in India at the market, in transport and during slaughter. Debenhams and Arcadia have already agreed to join this effort – now, Stylo will be added to this list. Stylo is one of Britain’s top shoe retailers. More than 40 companies – including the UK’s Clarks, River Island, The Boot Tree Ltd., Lambert Howarth Group plc, Buffalo Boots and others – have informed PETA that they will not purchase leather from India until that country enforces laws to protect animals used in the skin trade from rampant abuse, which is what led the CLE to make this pledge.

Poorva Joshipura, PETA’s project manager, says, ‘We would rather no one wear leather at all, but this is a terrific step that recognises the enormity of the suffering of once-sacred Indian cows who end up on people’s feet in Britain’.

In defiance of Indian law, corrupt skin-traders march cows, buffaloes and other animals for days and cram them into overcrowded trucks, which causes many to suffer broken bones and suffocation. Those who collapse from exhaustion or injury have their eyes smeared with chilli peppers and their tailbones broken in an effort to keep them moving. At abattoirs, the animals typically have their throats hacked with dull knives in full view of one another, sometimes by children, and are often dismembered and skinned alive.

‘That Stylo has chosen not to look away from the cruelty is admirable, and we are certain that it can have no other effect than to help make a difference in the lives of millions of animals’, says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who has personally followed the Indian ‘cattle trail’. Broadcast-quality footage of Pamela Anderson’s narrated exposé of the Indian leather industry and photographs will be available. For more information, visit PETA’s Web site