Animal Action Network
A non-profit Colorado Group Working for Compassion
Alternatives to Leather…
Most leather items have obvious and readily available alternatives. Most cars are available without leather interiors, though BMW and Mercedes are the only luxury cars to offer non-leather interiors on all of their models. Pleather (fake leather) jackets are available, or try fashionable Gore-Tex or fleece. Nylon, canvas, vinyl, or pleather can replace leather in bags and briefcases. Most running shoes and many cross-trainers are all-synthetic. Look for “all man-made materials” on the tag. Some shoes also have a sticker on the insole with symbols. Diamonds and checkerboard shapes mean plastic and cloth, respectively. If you see a drawing that looks like a stretched animal hide, the shoes contain leather. Brands such as Merrell, Vasque, and New Balance, to name a few, make very stylish non-leather athletic and hiking shoes – available at stores such as REI and other outdoor clothing stores. Circa, ES, Etnies, Vans, Osiris, and Ipath all make non-leather skate shoes, available at Zumiez and other skate shops. Last we checked, all Jamie Thomas skate shoes were vegan. Non-leather dress shoes can often be found at PayLess Shoes and Baker’s, or on the web. Birkenstock, Teva, and others make non-leather sandals. Converse, Vans, and others make non-leather canvas shoes as well.
For information on non-leather products, google Vegan products and clothing
After pigs and cows have suffered the crowding, confinement, mutilations, stressful transport, and frightening slaughter by the meat and dairy industries, their skins are made into shoes, boots, belts, gloves, and furniture covers. Skin accounts for more than 55 percent of the total byproduct value of cattle. Horses, sheep, lambs, and goats are also slaughtered for their meat, as well as for their hides. Many people believe that leather is just a byproduct of the meat industry and that animals are not killed solely for their skin, but this is not the case. Much of the leather in athletic shoes, for example, comes from kangaroos, who are killed for nothing more then their skin. Animals in other countries also suffer for leather sold in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe. India is a major leather supplier to the world market. While being herded to slaughter in India, cows have hot chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes, and their tail bones are painfully twisted and broken in order to make the cows stand up and keep moving. Many of the Indian animals used for leather are so sick and injured by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse that they must be dragged inside. Leather production is hazardous to the environment. Toxins that are emitted from leather tanneries endanger human and ecological health by polluting regional waterways with mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, oils, dyes, salt, lime sludge, sulfides, and acids. Residents of tannery towns have a greater-than-average chance of developing leukemia, and more than half of all tannery workers develop testicular cancer. The leather industry uses an enormous amount of energy. Huge amounts of fossil fuels are consumed in raising, transporting, and killing the animals that are skinned for leather. Synthetics such as fleece and vinyl actually require fewer petroleum products to produce.