Woman ‘Skinned Alive’ at London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week attendees got a shock today when a PETA supporter’s “skin” was torn off – with the help of special-effects make-up – to call attention to the suffering animals endure in the leather industry.
The demonstration was held in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Fashion Week in central London, grabbing the attention of industry aficionados and passers-by.
Leather Is Cruel
As highlighted in the demonstration, 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:
Sheep, horses, goats, pigs, and even cats and dogs are victims of the leather industry as well. 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.
A Nightmare for the Planet
The leather industry is also 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.
The demand for leather fuels the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, as Brazilian cattle ranchers – some of whom deliberately start illegal wildfires in order to make room for more animals – supply leather to leading global fashion brands and retailers.
Leather production damages human health, too, as tanneries use harmful chemicals to prevent skins from decaying. Unprotected workers, including children, stand barefoot as they soak hides in carcinogenic chemicals, and the noxious waste is then dumped into rivers.
What You Can Do
Never buy, wear, or use any item made with leather. Check out our vegan leather guide to find fashionable animal-free brands and products:
Please also join us in urging the British Fashion Council, organiser of London Fashion Week, to introduce a ban on leather and fur at all its events. It should instead showcase the multitude of vegan leather and faux-fur materials available – including both natural fabrics and recycled synthetics – which have a far lighter environmental footprint and don’t contribute to animal suffering.