“Leather” is another word for skin.
Imagine this: you were separated from your parents at birth, and spent your entire [short] life living amongst aliens who have castrated you, cut away your feet, and regularly press scorching irons to your body. No analgesics – nothing to alleviate this agony. Along with others of your kind, you have been prodded and electroshocked and kicked. You have nobody to run to in this dire time of need; you were raised without the comforting hold of an understanding relative; you have been deprived of anything that makes life worth living. You are dying of fatigue. You are marched hundreds of miles in the blistering heat with no food and water, yet with every ounce of strength you can muster, you walk along. And still, that is not enough. These aliens, to keep you moving along, intentionally whip you until your bones break, and rub chili peppers and tobacco into your eyes. You watch as your fellow human beings are murdered, one by one – as they are mutilated for the enjoyment of ignorant aliens. You see a woman being forced into a restraining device so that the aliens can have her raped. You want to stop it, but you are shoved along, your complex mind and extensive intelligence dimmed down to a mere product. You are a product, and that is all you are viewed as. Finally, you reach your destination, where you are dragged into a slaughterhouse. Now, you are beaten. Beaten until there is a pool of blood at your head; beaten until you begin to lose consciousness. You are still alive, even as your skin is being painfully torn away. You fight and cry but are prodded with pointy metal sticks that jab and shock you, and then any pain in you begins to dim, until there is nothing.
Cruel? I guess that’s an understatement. That leather jacket, your leather car seat, your Uggs…they all have one thing in common: they are products of inhumane abuse. The animals from whom these products came have been long forgotten by the users. Excuses make up our lives. Excuses, excuses, excuses. We tell ourselves, We need the leather. The leather makes our lives so much easier! We can’t avoid the abuse. But…we don’t need the leather, it really doesn’t make our lives easier, and it’s actually pretty simple to avoid being a consumer of such products. Cute, stylish, quality clothes that are made of imitations of animal products exist. So do cars whose interiors are made of fabric. And figuring out whether or not products are comprised of any animal goods is surprisingly easy: just read the label.
Moreover, wearing others’ skin is not merely a malevolent concept, but also is detrimental to the environment. Leather would rot if it was just that – skin. The skin is actually taken and preserved with noxious chemicals. Some of these chemicals are cyanide-based, which can drastically increase one’s chances of getting leukemia. A study revealed that people who lived near tanneries, where leather is preserved, had a cancer risk five times greater than those who didn’t live near tanneries.
So, next time you are shopping for a new pair of boots, for a new car, or for a coat, think about how crucial your decision will be to the struggling environment, and to the lives of billions of helpless animals, so helpless to the point where they are worth less than slaves.