Leather or Life?

I recently read with great interest an article in Bloomberg Business entitled, “Your Salad Lunches are Killing American Leather.” I paused for a while, just digesting this perspective (pun intended). Where do I begin? Leather is the skin of a dead cow. The leather industry is based on the beef and dairy industries, which are inherently cruel and harmful to the climate. An industry based on death is attributing its decline to a shift away from beef; that shift is giving life back to many Americans. Beef is linked to heart disease, cancer, high cholesterol, colorectal and other cancers, and the list expands to type 2 diabetes when you include other red meats and processed meats.

So, let’s get this straight. The leather industry and related fashion industries are suffering because people are getting healthier, fewer cows are dying, and fewer humans are dying of lifestyle diseases. To me, this is not a problem, it’s an opportunity for innovation – faux leather products are already widely available. The timing is ripe for the leather industry to lead the movement toward more compassionate and logical fashion trends, while proactively re-training employees so they don’t lose their livelihoods. Why wait for leather to become a luxury item and then potentially have to phase it out; why not forge ahead and be a pioneer in compassionate fashion?

After all, we wouldn’t want to continue to kill lots of cows and humans to make some humans more fashionable, now would we? What kind of logic is that?

Cows are gentle, social animals who value friendships and community, just like we do.  To reduce them to meat and milk, which harms our bodies and the climate, and to translate the cruelty of their death into our apparel and accessories, is a practice ripe for transformation.

Cows are gentle, social animals who value friendships and community, just like we do. To reduce them to meat and milk, which harms our bodies and the climate, and to translate the cruelty of their death into our apparel and accessories, is a practice ripe for transformation.

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