Buying leather directly supports the misery of the slaughterhouse. Statistics from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and the Council for Leather Exports conclude the value of leather exports from India is 10 times more than the value of its meat exports, and with India as one of the largest leather manufacturers in the world, cows and other cattle suffer cruel slaughter just for their skins.
Believe it or not, India's treatment of cows is among the cruelest in the world. Since it is illegal to kill healthy, young cattle, they are often deliberately maimed. Their legs may be broken or they may be poisoned so that they can be declared fit for slaughter, not that too many slaughterhouse workers care. We have seen healthy calves and still productive milk cows openly killed.
Cattle are tied together with ropes through their noses and beaten mercilessly in forced "death marches" over hundreds of kilometers. They are also transported in appalling conditions, crammed on top of each other into lorries in the searing Indian heat. They cannot help but crush one another and suffer and they die hideous deaths from suffocation and wounds. The lorries careen at breakneck speeds along bumpy dirt and gravel roads and down mountain passes, pitching the cows around and causing more injury and death.
During the marches, cattle collapse from hunger, exhaustion, injury and despair. Handlers force them along by snapping their tails at each joint and rubbing tobacco, chilies and salt into their eyes. Each snap brings pain analogous to that of breaking a finger. They are never offered food or even as much as a drop of water.
By the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse, some animals are dead and many are so sick and injured that they must be dragged inside, again with no concern for their feelings and pain. A closer look at the animals still conscious reveals sheer terror and betrayal, their short fur stands on end. Once inside, their throats are slit in front of other watching and waiting cattle. Some have their legs hacked off while still conscious or suffer the agony of being skinned alive. Pigs are often killed by way of iron rods being forced through their bodies.
"While the cows were being loaded, I could hear the gurgling of one cow choking on her own blood. The rope in her nose had been improperly placed, and with the constant tugging on it by rough handlers, as well as being tethered to her fellow cattle during the 12-hour march, it had ripped through her nose, and blood was pouring down her face".
Cattle Are Not the Only Animals Killed for Their Skins :
While most leather products are made from the skins of cattle and calves, leather is also made from the skins of horses, sheep, lambs, goats and pigs who are slaughtered for meat. Many of these animals suffer the horrors of factory farming-overcrowding, unanesthetized castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning. Other species are hunted and killed specifically for their skins, including zebras, bison, boars, deer, kangaroos, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, crocodiles, lizards and snakes. Rats, cats and stray dogs are also killed for leather, but since people are typically put off by this fact, it is passed off as simply "leather". Much of the leather sold as "crocodile" and other wildlife items are actually made from endangered, illegally poached animals. When you buy leather, you can't tell what animal it was made from.
"Exotic" animals such as alligators are factory farmed for their skins. Ranched alligators are kept in tiny structures, with up to 600 inhabiting one building, which reek of rancid meat, alligator waste and stagnant water. Although alligators may naturally live up to 60 years, on farms they are usually butchered before their fourth birthday.
Alligators on farms are often beaten with hammers and sometimes take up to two hours to die. Snakes and lizards are often skinned alive because of the widespread belief that live flaying imparts suppleness to the finished leather. Kid goats may be boiled alive to make kid gloves, and the skins of unborn calves and lambs%u2014some purposely aborted, others from slaughtered pregnant cows and ewes-are considered especially "luxurious".
According to recent international press reports, in one province in Thailand, dogs are rounded up and crushed, more than 50 at a time, into a lorry for five days without food or water, only to become "briefcases, car seat covers, trimmings on a fancy coat or ironically, fancy rawhide chews for pampered "pet" dogs".
Each month, 30,000 dogs suffer the same fate, with their hides being exported internationally. The consumer is largely unaware of these products' origin, as the seller uses cover labels such as "lamb", "calf" or "goatskin". The labels will never say "dog"; however, it is not technically illegal to sell or import dog fur, even in the European Union.
At Deonar abattoir in Mumbai(INDIA), sheep, goats and cattle arrive in overcrowded and bone-cracking conditions, and are made to suffer, strewn across the grounds, with their injuries untreated, until they are purchased for slaughter or until they die. These animals are forced to watch their companions be killed before they themselves have their souls cut out of their bodies.
ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF LEATHER :
Leather factories wreak havoc on the environment. The leather tanneries around the Ganges have been cited for dumping toxic metals such as chromium into the river. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants, such as protein, hair, salt, lime, sludge, sulfides and acids. Groundwater near tanneries has been found with highly elevated levels of lead, cyanide and formaldehyde.
People who work in tanneries and live near them are dying of illnesses caused by constant exposure to such toxic chemicals. Pollution such as that dumped into the Ganges by surrounding leather tanneries has been cited as one major reason for outbreaks of illnesses as well as death of marine life. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the incidence of leukemia among residents near one tannery was five times the U.S. average.
According to Fair TradeMark Canada, many rivers in India are poisoned by tannery wastes. Fair TradeMark states that, in the region around Palar, 35, 000 hectares of farmland has been affected by tannery waste. Waste has reduced the yield from once fertile land to half. Farmers often receive no compensation for such crop losses so many of them are forced to give up and sell their land to tanneries. In the local population, there has been a significant increase in diseases which result from drinking water polluted by tannery effluent: gastro-intestinal disease, asthma, growth abnormalities in children, and an infant diarrhea caused by poisoning through breast milk. Susceptibility to tuberculosis has also increased. The tannery workers themselves suffer from skin diseases, fever, eye inflammation, lung cancer, and also sterility. Also according to Fair TradeMark Canada, a NGO tested soil and water samples from 13 affected villages for tannery chemicals. In nearly every case, the values exceeded the limits allowed by Indian legislation. The villages once renowned for their cultivation of aubergines and flowers now produce neither. In Tamil Puthur, only six of the original sixty families remain due to the effects of tannery pollution. The remainder have been forced to move to a city in search of work.
Please sign this petition to help end this cruelty to these innocent animals !
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Vibhor Sharma Kaushal
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