India’S Central Board Of Secondary Education Urges Pupils To Switch From Leather Shoes To Canvas

For Immediate Release:

26 February 2014


Ben Williamson +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 229; [email protected]

Board Writes to 18,000 Schools Across India Following Discussions With PETA India and MP Maneka Gandhi


London – After conversations with representatives of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and MP Maneka Gandhi, the Indian government’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) sent an advisory to all its 18,000 affiliated schools across India strongly urging them to implement a policy that bans students and staff members from wearing leather shoes in favour of animal- and Earth-friendly canvas shoes. In the advisory, the CBSE refers to the move as an “ethical” and “compassionate” way to protect the environment and animals from harm.

“Protection of the environment needs to be practiced as much as it is being taught within our classrooms”, reads the CBSE advisory. “The Board … considers it advisable that all affiliated schools do not prescribe leather footwear and accessories as a part of their school uniform either for students or staff.”

The CBSE’s action is a major leap forward in PETA India’s campaign to get leather shoes banned from school uniforms. Already, the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have moved towards banning leather shoes in schools, and the government of Goa has informed PETA India that most of its schools already use canvas shoes. The Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body operating under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, has also asked all states to shift to environmentally friendly options as part of school uniforms. 

“The Central Board of Secondary Education’s stance is a victory for all animals used for leather, who face a painful and terrifying death in abattoirs”, says PETA UK Associate Director Mimi Bekhechi. “It will also hasten the day when tanneries stop dumping waste into the Ganges and exposing nearby residents to deadly toxins.”

At abattoirs, many animals are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious. In addition, turning the skins of cows, buffalo, sheep and goats into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons local rivers and streams.

The CBSE’s advisory to the schools is available here. For more information on the leather industry, please visit