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dogs and cats being used for US leather

Updated on July 12, 2012

Don't animals have rights too?

An Unethical Industry

Where do you think leather comes from? If you’re anything like me, I never used to think about the life my shoes had before they were, well my shoes! I caution readers, for after reading this you will know the truth, a truth that will put a serious damper in your next big shopping spree.

Here are the facts:

The top 4 countries producing leather for American goods are: Italy, Indonesia, China, and Pakistan.

Many different animals are used in the production of leather- cows, horses, pigs, lambs, sheep, exotic animals and yes, even cats and dogs. An estimated 2 million dogs are killed in China to meet the high demand for leather.

A French police-raid of a tannery in Deux-Sevres France turned up the skins of 1,200 cats. Approximately 20,000 cats are stolen in France for the skin trade

Animals are an easily exploitable asset used for our entertainment, food, and accessories. While a cow should live a good 25 years, dairy cows regularly die around 4 and are ancient if they live to be 6. Despite our disregard for ‘certain’ animals, science has proven all animals share the same 5 senses we have. They feel pleasure, pain, happiness and misery and yet millions suffer only to end up on a store shelf.

An undercover tape by the Washington Post exposed that some cows were still conscious while their hide was being stripped away. All employees who have reported this have been fired.

Animals may eat other animals but what they do not do is cage, confine, abuse, prolong suffering, and kill for materialistic purposes in outlandish numbers. The bunny was having a great day till he became dinner for the coyote. The coyote kills the bunny swiftly not causing the bunny to have years of misery; only humans seem to do that.

A few more important facts:

1) Meat production is responsible for 18% of man made greenhouse gasses, in comparison to transportation- which globally is responsible for 13% of greenhouse gasses.

2) In India leather industry is more harmful due to toxins than textile, medicine, fertilizer and paper production industries combined.

3) Leather makers claim their product is biodegradable however the process of tanning stabilizes collagen fibers so they stop biodegrading

4) Ground water sources close to tanneries consistently have higher levels of lead, formaldehyde , and cyanide. This increases the risk of disease and hurts already impoverished towns.

5) Our current tanning methods waste 15,000 gallons of water each year while producing up to 2200 lbs. of solid waste for every ton of hide produced.

Lose the leather, go for eco-friendly designers!

Matt & Nat Women's F11Clyde-QL  Shoulder Bag
Matt & Nat Women's F11Clyde-QL Shoulder Bag

No animals were hurt in the making of this purse... seriously! Matt and Nat use all recycled items to make their long-lasting handbags.

 

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    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      Its awful about where leather comes from. It's a terrible disregard for the lives of the animals that are made to suffer the horrors of the leather industry. Its terrible for the dogs and cats, too. In the U.S. I thought that leather came from cattle's hides, but I suppose there are other animals they use for leather, too.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I know, it's truly terrible. Even worse, a large majority of our cows used for leather are 'trafficked' out of India because cows are considered sacred there making it illegal to kill them. Cows that are malnourished and sick are beaten, tortured, and denied food and water as they make the painful track to their death.

      Even worse, although we assume 'expensive' goods have a different source of leather, the findings are repeatedly- and depressingly- the same. Even leather that boasts "Made in America" is not actually always made in America- perhaps assembled but not originated. Therefore, US regulations are easily bypassed in the name of cheap, plentiful leather goods.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 5 years ago from Neverland

      You have some very interesting and disgusting points in this Hub that will lead me to perform more research. Its sad and sick that animals are used for our pleasure and entertainment. On top of that I had no idea cats and dogs were used for leather - but then again, what makes them any different from the other animals used? Thanks for bringing this to light so I can look into it further. Welcome to HubPages!

    • JKenny profile image

      James Kenny 5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Hi Becky, thanks for writing this, I genuinely had no idea that dogs and cats were used in this way, it truly breaks my heart. I remember seeing a story in the paper yesterday, showing 500 dogs crammed into 150 small cages in China, ready to be slaughtered and served up in restaurants. I know they see dogs as food in the same way we regard cows, but it still made me feel sick. Here's a link if you're interested: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2134969/Th...

    • christollesseb profile image

      christollesseb 5 years ago from UK ME ASIA

      Welcome to Hub Pages! Wow you have certainly jumped in at the deep end with some really strong topics sure to shake people out of their comfort zones. We certainly plunder the planet & all its resources including every other species for our own selfish ends. I look forward to reading more of your thought provoking Hubs. Voted across & Up!

      Cheers,

      Christo.

    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Its so good that someone has the strength to reveal such horrors. Being a meat eater I can't say to much about farm animals unless they are treated cruelly, however, dogs and cats that's another matter.

      Great Hub!! Voted up and up.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

      Very interesting hub. I was just talking with a colleague of mind about cats and dogs sometimes being used as meat in other countries. I had no idea they were used for leather too.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Thanks everyone for your warm welcome! I look forward to sharing more social issues with all of you :)

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      Sobering truths. Have you any idea how to tell?

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 years ago from Mason City

      It's awful to think that people in other countries eat dogs and cats. I have two cats and I wouldn't want that to happen to them. It's horrible! Cats and dogs are pets in this country at least. Hopefully no one uses them as food, maybe people who moved from those countries would use cats and dogs for food? I keep my cats inside. I don't want something that horrible happening to them!

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      LetifiaFT, I wish there was some way to tell! But thus far there is not. My mom is very passionate about this subject and she is currently learning how to draft some sort of Bill that would require companies disclose the origin of their leather goods. Right now, even leather that says 'Made in the US' could be the skin of anything! The best- and sometimes hardest- thing to do is look towards vegan designers. Matt and Nat make a great affordable purse and they use NO leather or animal parts. I have purchased one myself and it lasted me LONGER than my more expensive "leather" bags.

    • LetitiaFT profile image

      LetitiaFT 5 years ago from Paris via California

      Thanks Becky. Looking forward to your hub on the Bill when it's drafted!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      I had no idea that leather could even come from cats and dogs. This is cruel and insane! I have never been a leather fan and I would never buy it now. The facts about the cows are upsetting. We all need to rise up against those who do these sorts of things. Enlightening read!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 5 years ago from Hawaii

      Really?! I am at a loss for words. I mean, anything with skin can be made into leather...but that many cats and dogs? And stolen ones? Oh my goodness. Wow.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 5 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      The way animals are treated by many humans really is sickening. They don't have a voice and are reliant on us to defend them. Luckily some of us have a conscience like you. Sadly though, there aren't enough of us around. I really admire you for writing a hub like this. I find the subject matter so emotive to write about and can't get the dreadful images out of my head.

    • jennzie profile image

      jennzie 5 years ago from Lower Bucks County, PA

      That is horrific! It definitely makes me not want to buy leather anymore. This is information that everyone should be made aware of. I will share this.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      Good job jennzie shared this, as I'm deeply disturbed by this kind of thing! However there is controversy in all countries. Imagine how Asian countries feel about us keeping cats and dogs as "slaves" (when we see them as household pets) - they eat them. The same is with Horses in France, where they're consumed much like we do with pork or beef. It's amazing how we see different things - some love cows so much they'll keep 'em as pets, but we use them everyday for leather and food. No matter what - everybody in every country is guilty of animal abuse in some way, to someone elsewhere.

    • Amethystraven profile image

      Amethystraven 5 years ago from California

      Why do so many people lack compassion when money in their hand is the end result of the things that they do. Animals are abused with no regard to the fact they have five senses and a nervous system. Elephants cry, mourn, and teach their young, as do many of Gods creatures. While looking into commercialism, so many abuses have been discovered. Some people who purchase these products know where they came from and how they came about. Yet they still purchase them. There are also people who believe these products were created humanly and purchase them. Either way, mass animal abuse to have a couch, car seats, shoes, jackets, pants, skirts, purses, and many other leather goods is cruel, selfish and greedy. Now the term GENUINE LEATHER means something completely different. Yeah, it's genuine skin, but what kind?

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 5 years ago from the Ether

      Oh, this is so sad! I honestly had no idea that leather could also be made from the skin of horses, dogs, and other animals other than cows. Not so say that cows are any less important...how sad. I might have to shy away from leather altogether now.

    • 4wardthinker profile image

      4wardthinker 5 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Very interesting hub, however, I am very confused. Your title is dogs and cats used for US leather. But, your research is talking about China and France. It is so important for the US to take a stand for American Made and the standards and regulations we put on our products. Unfortunately, many products shipped to the US are finding ways to trick consumers into thinking products are made in America ie. Patented in US, Distributed in US, Manufactured in US. This is not the same.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      4wardthinker, Just as you said- the leather that says MADE IN THE USA isn't usually and it is coming from these tanneries in other countries. Also, most of the stuff we buy is not made in the us although it is sold here. Therefore the leather we are buying here in the US could be made of anything, we have no way of knowing. Sorry for any confusion!

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      kittythedreamer, I know it's so hard once you know. And even when it's just the cow... they are pretty cute too! I'm on my own little journey right now trying to avoid leather and it's really hard! Good luck in whatever you decide :)

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Amethystraven, I admire your passion! And I completely agree. There are so many other materials we can use to create the same look so it really makes no sense! thanks for commenting :)

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      thanks for sharing jennzie! :)

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      "No matter what - everybody in every country is guilty of animal abuse in some way, to someone elsewhere."

      ^ a great quote and so true! And it's not just animals.. the distance we have placed between ourselves and the objects we buy (where they come from) has made monsters out of us... ignorance is a scary thing! Hopefully soon more people will know the truth... and care. And I also love what you say about caring for dogs but not cows... it's the animals that we (in our culture) let into our homes as pets that we see as 'special.' But really, if we got to know cows we'd learn they're really special too! Thanks :)

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Peanutritious- thanks so much. I agree that it's horrible and I don't even understand where these practices begin! If people like you and I started the world off I think we'd have kept handbags confined to non-living materials. :)

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      tammy- I know, it's terrible. So many people walk around not realizing what their leather jacket is made of! I'm glad to know you won't be giving the leather industry much money :) thanks for the support!

    • 4wardthinker profile image

      4wardthinker 5 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      FYI.....Did you know that your hub article is full of advertisements for leather goods and luxury leathers? Just a little detail you might be able to adjust.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I did not know, oh my that's not good! I wonder how to adjust? I'll have to look into this. Thanks for letting me know 4wardthinker I really appreciate it :)

    • 4wardthinker profile image

      4wardthinker 5 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Maybe you can change the title to something about animal cruelty and how they are being used as bi-products. Leave out the word leather in the title to see if it changes the ads. Hope it helps!

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Great thinking!!! Thanks again, really appreciate it

    • momster profile image

      momster 5 years ago

      Very informative hub. It is sad that humans can be so destructive and violent . Thanks for sharing this information.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      monster, I agree. Thanks for sharing your sense of compassion.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Becky I am tweeting this, hopefully more will read.

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      DrMark1961- thanks so much!! I really appreciate it! More people need to be aware of what they are purchasing and thus fueling!

    • Green Bard profile image

      Steve Andrews 4 years ago from Tenerife

      Voted up and awesome for this hub! I am well aware of the horrific abuse and killing of billions of animals that goes on all the time but I didn't know that cats and dogs were used to produce leather too. It is all so depressing!

    • Becky Bruce profile image
      Author

      Becky Bruce 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Green Bard, hello again! I know... it really is so hard because so much of what we buy is leather, once you stop and think what leather really is- a dead unknown animal- shopping is never as much fun again. Glad to know that others care and have an awareness!

    • profile image

      kyle 4 years ago

      stealing cats in France more cost effective for skin traders than breeding them? let me lay out a scenario, instead of breeding them on the cheap, I'm going to pay people to commit crimes and steal the cats. What cat even has thick enough skin to make leather? Cat skin is .01 to .07 inches thick, that is about the same thickness as saran wrap. I think this writer is embellishing the truth to add shock value to their faulty claim.

    • profile image

      JD 3 years ago

      You're all being very naïve about this.. I ride motorcycle and thus leather protects me and I am grateful for it .. so basically what I've gathered from all your comments that you all would rather they throw all the leftovers after processing the meat.. that would be truly terrible. You're never going to stop them from eating cat dog or horse like we will never stop eating hamburgers and hotdogs.. so shouldn't every part be used in respect of the animal.. Indians did it for centuries. Now what I do not agree with is the torment and disregard for their feelings and emotions they should be well looked after until ready to process. And when this happens it should be quick and painless as it is in the US.. they use an air powered piston the size of a .45 pressed against the forehead then when activated it immediately kills painlessly by shooting this piston into the skull and then retracting back to the apparatus. And if you really know anything you know there are no nerves in the brain. So I feel this is an acceptable way of putting the animal down for processing... it used to be a sledge to the head. And vegans come on how many vitamins do you have to take everyday just to stay healthy..? we are meant to eat meat its life get over it. I don't hear anyone complaining about the billions of chickens we kill every year for food.. and by the way we are animals.

    • profile image

      Nikki 2 years ago

      Hello could you please tell me I just ordered a pair of Rothco tactical military boots they say "made in china" I wanted to find out if they use cat and dog hide for there leather

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Kathy 2 years ago

      I listened to a PETA investigator on the phone a couple days ago (1/21/2015) speak of how she couldn't reveal herself during an investigation of cats being killed for their skin for making leather gloves. She spoke, almost crying as she told us how a cat was taken out of a cage to be slaughtered, and how even then, the cat thought to trust this woman enough to rub against her leg before it was slaughtered. Many of these cats and dogs still had collars on because they were stolen from their owners just by being outside. This woman from PETA fought back tears in order to tell us how difficult it was to investigate these atrocities. But IF the abusers knew that she was an investigator, they would take all her materials and videos that she gathered.

      Many people do not like PETA, but those people have no idea that PETA investigators put their freedom and sometimes their lives on the line for these animals. Support animal saviors like PETA and HSUS - it is amazing what these groups do. If you think they're all about money then get involved enough to know the truth. It takes money to do what they do for these animals.

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