Clarks To Stop Selling Indian Leather

For Immediate Release:
May 30, 2000

Andrew Butler 020 8870 3966


London – Following last weeks’ protest outside their Oxford Street store, footwear manufacturer Clarks have now assured People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that they will no longer be using leather from animals killed in India, whose leather industry has been described as perhaps the cruelest in the world. Four more leading international clothing retailers, J. Crew, Liz Claiborne, Fiorucci, and Florsheim have announced that they too have stopped using Indian leather. The move follows a similar announcement made by Gap in mid-April. All the companies have pledged to continue the ban until the Indian government, which has so far ignored pleas from animal protectionists, including the Dalai Lama and Sir Paul McCartney, improves transport and slaughter conditions for cattle by enforcing existing Indian law. Hush Puppies, American retail giant Nordstrom and other stores that sell Indian leather are also considering a ban.

Today, PETA agreed to call a 60 day moratorium on its pressure campaign against the Indian leather trade after the Indian Council for Leather Exports agreed to share responsibility and take an active role in seeing what improvements can be made before the cattle are turned into skins. “It is an uphill battle, given that the Indian government has chosen to treat Gandhi’s ‘sacred cow’ as a cash cow,” said PETA’s Andrew Butler. PETA is considering a tourism boycott if the government continues to refuse to meet or act on the issue.

Because it is illegal to slaughter cows and young cattle in most Indian states, corrupt traders use bribes to smuggle the animals across state borders. The cows and calves, who are bought mostly under the false pretence that they’ll live out their lives on rural farms, are marched for days and crammed into lorries and trains in bone-crushing atrocities that are in direct violation of Indian law. Those who collapse have chili peppers rubbed into their eyes and their tailbones broken to keep them moving out of sheer terror and pain.

Actress Hayley Mills and her musician son Crispian Mills, as well as Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, have also urged the Indian government to enforce existing laws that are designed to protect cattle. The Dalai Lama called conditions for Indian cattle today, “too horrific for words”.

Superstar Pamela Anderson appears in PETA’s video of the Indian cattle trade, shot during visits to India by PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk, who says, “In the 21st century, when we have technology as well as natural fibres and plant foods, there is no excuse for killing animals for shoes or sustenance. However, as long as even one person does so, we all have an obligation to at least prevent the unnecessary pain and suffering animals endure in the process.”

For more information on PETA’s Indian cattle expose, please visit