People Pour ‘Toxic Slime’ Over Themselves at Milan Fashion Week
A group of PETA supporters gave Milan Fashion Week attendees an eyeful today as they poured buckets of black “toxic slime” – representing the harmful waste generated by the leather industry – over their heads. Text on the buckets read, “Leather Is a Dirty Business” and “Dump Leather.”
The protest reminded people that the leather industry is poisoning the living world. Because of the massive amounts of manure and slaughter waste, intensive water use, deforestation, and greenhouse-gas emissions involved in its production, leather is the most environmentally damaging material, as confirmed by the 2017 “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report.
Indeed, the United Nations is calling for a transition away from animal agriculture – which is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions – in order to protect the environment.
Cows Suffer Immensely in the Leather Industry
The leather industry subjects animals to horrific cruelty. The majority of leather is produced using the hides of cows farmed for their flesh and those used for dairy who are no longer producing enough milk to be profitable. They endure all the horrors of factory farming – including intensive confinement to filthy pens, castration without pain relief, chronic infections and disease caused by extreme crowding, and a terrifying trip to the abattoir.
Eyewitness footage shot on Brazilian ranches gives a glimpse of the terror and pain inflicted on cows as they’re killed for their skin and flesh:
Leather Production Damages Human Health
A PETA exposé of the leather industry in Bangladesh, narrated by Leona Lewis, shows that leather production is toxic for humans, too. Tanneries use harmful chemicals to prevent animals’ skin from decaying. Unprotected workers, including children, stand barefoot as they soak hides in carcinogenic chemicals, and the noxious waste is then dumped into the river.
As tanning is such a dangerous process, it’s no longer undertaken in most European countries or the US, so operations are moving elsewhere – jeopardising the health of people in other parts of the world so that consumers in the West can continue wearing leather shoes and jackets.
You Never Know Whose Skin You’re In
It’s not only cows who are killed for the leather trade – sheep, horses, goats, pigs, and even cats and dogs are also victims of the industry. An estimated 2 million cats and dogs are killed in China each year for their skins. When you wear leather, there’s no easy way to know for sure whose skin you’re in.
How You Can Help Animals and the Planet
Never buy, wear, or use any item made with leather. Check out our vegan leather guide to find fashionable animal-free brands and products: