Mercedes-Benz Agrees: Leather-Free Options For All Future Models

PETA Ends Campaign Against Company

For Immediate Release:
7 February 2005

Jodi Ruckley 020 7357 9229, ext 234

Milton Keynes — Top luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz informed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that all future Mercedes-Benz models will be available with a leather-free option either at the dealership or via special order. It takes four cows to make the leather interior for one Mercedes, and the company’s announcement follows PETA’s consumer-driven campaign to pressure Mercedes to offer alternatives to leather interior.

The campaign scored its first victory in 2003 when DaimlerChrysler-India agreed to make nonleather interiors an option in all Mercedes models built and sold in that country. Campaign supporters included actor James Cromwell, whose credits include The Sum of All Fears, The Green Mile, The General’s Daughter, and Babe, for which he received an Academy Award nomination. Cromwell had asked DaimlerChrysler representatives for a face-to-face meeting at its German headquarters to discuss the issue.

Mercedes-Benz joins a growing list of car companies that are acknowledging today’s socially conscious consumers who refuse to use leather. In December 2004, PETA thanked Saab for announcing that consumers can order any Saab model with a leather-free interior. And in recognition of its stand not to equip its hot-selling gasoline-electric hybrid Prius with leather interior, automaker Toyota recently won PETA’s Proggy “Breakthrough” Award. Proggys (short for progress) are awarded annually to companies that go the extra mile to offer humane products and services throughout North America.

American tanneries that serve the auto industry buy enough skin each year to upholster Manhattan two and a half times. Production-line speedups and inadequate stunning on North American and European kill floors mean that cows killed for their skins and flesh are often dismembered while still conscious. Leather tanneries also wreak havoc on the environment, and their pollution has been linked to cancer, respiratory infections, and other illnesses.

“Car companies are learning that offering leather-free options for their range is environmentally and ethically responsible,” says PETA Europe campaigner Poorva Joshipura. “We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz will accommodate luxury car consumers who think cruelty is unimpressive.”

Other celebrities who ride without the hide include Alicia Silverstone, Kate Pierson of the B-52’s, and Sir Paul McCartney.