Every year, industries that sell animal skin as clothing – such as fur, leather, wool, and exotic skins – slaughter more than 1 billion animals. These animals are often kept in hellish conditions on factory farms, confined to small, crowded cages until they are killed. They are deprived of basic care and everything that is natural and important to them.
The fate of each animal killed for their skin varies, but wherever in the world animal-derived materials come from, they are the products of extreme suffering. In Western countries, animals used for leather endure the horrors of factory farming, including tail-docking and dehorning, castration without anaesthesia, and cruel treatment during transport and slaughter.
Countries like China, India, and Pakistan either have no animal welfare laws whatsoever or have laws which are blatantly ignored. Some leather from China is made from the skins of dogs and cats, who are rounded up from the streets and barbarically killed. Leather from countries like Bangladesh comes from animals who are illegally smuggled from India.
Often, snakes and lizards are skinned alive, because the industry believes that this makes leather made from their skins more supple, and kid goats are boiled alive to make gloves. Unborn calves are sometimes purposely aborted so that their skin can be sold as a “luxury”.
Millions of dogs and cats are killed for their fur in China. Many fur items are deliberately mislabelled and often bought by unsuspecting consumers.
Every bit of animal skin, no matter how small, represents the intense suffering of all animals who are killed to make clothing. Every fur coat, every leather shoe, every snakeskin wallet is the same – because it is their skin, not ours.