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Human Skin Used to Make Maps, Boots, and Flags

Written by PETA | May 28, 2009

Wherever American artist Andrew Krasnow displays his maps, cowboy boots, and American flags, controversy is hot on his heels.


artcritical / CC


Why all the fuss, guys? Using human skin donated to medical science to make a nice pair of boots is a use of flesh that we should all throw our weight behind!

While the photos of his work (which he says is intended to question American ethics and values) might make you a wee bit queasy, Krasnow’s creations are far more humane and understandable than leather jackets, snakeskin belts and baby-alligator–skin purses (their small heads included). Those turn my stomach because—unlike the folks who donate their bodies to science—cows, snakes, alligators, and other animals did not sign up to have their skins ripped from their bodies.

Krasnow’s next show has been commissioned by the U.K. Human Tissue Authority. Hopefully, the protesters howling outside the show will stop to consider the skins used for their own belts and bags.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • sKen says:

    waste nothing! animals in the wild think nothing of killing and eating each other. if they had thumbs and the necessary knowledge, they would clothe themselves with the skins of their prey. they would use their bones for needles and their guts for thread. neanderthals did it, apes would do it too, if they could wrap their funky monkey minds around the concept of skins for clothing. chimps are already cannibalistic, as are many other creatures. it’s only silly humans who are repulsed by the idea of conservation by complete utilization of nature. if you don’t eat it, wear it, or use it…it’s life was a waste.

  • koban says:

    this is so epic and cool i know they used to take skin off holocaust victims who had tattoos and make wallets, lady’s bags, and gloves.

  • Tyler says:

    A company called Human Leather in the UK will make you a wallet out of human skin for $14000. The donor’s beneficiaries are “handsomely rewarded” and the site claims human leather is the finest leather on Earth because the pores are so tiny.

  • Michelle says:

    Love this!!! I really hope people now see the connection between human and animal skin. The only difference is that those humans gave thier skin willingly and animals are cruelly killed and have thier skin ripped off!! Next I want humans kept in tiny cages for the rest of thier lives killed for food and endure heartless and stupid makeup tests! Let’s give them some of thier own medicine! I’m so appaled by humans today that I think we animalrights supporters should declare ourselves another species!! What do you guys think of calling ourselves the “PETAites”?

  • Melissa P. says:

    People who CHOOSE to have their bodies donated to science did so for when AFTER they passed on. On the other handanimals who are forced to have their skin ripped away from their bodies to make bags belts and shoes is done in the most heinous ways while still alive. With snakes for exampletheir heads are nailed to treesskin is ripped apart from their bodiesthen they live for several days in excruciating unimaginable pain withering around with the raw tissue from beneath their skin rubbing on the ground until they die a slow agonizing death.

  • Mac says:

    I think a lot of people are misconstruding my comments to fit their beliefs. As I’ve said in many places here I do NOT support the killing of an animal for just one thing be it fur horns musk glands or what not. However If an animal is killed for food such as beef pork chicken etc. I would want them to use all of it. That is the most humane way to use an animal if it’s slaughtered less animals die. It’s also environmentally sound less energy to burn what’s left. It’s almost as bad as the argument about how much grain and water is used to raise one pound of beef. You have to multiply that many times over the course of an animal’s life that is allowed to live to old age. However people saying “Oh human skin wasn’t used by Nazis for items during the Holocaust” to ME reads as similar to ones who deny that it even existed. I can prove how Victorians used the hair from their loved ones and yes they were already dead to make funeral wreaths. People can prove this with the Holocaust. Even if history is twisted which I doubt condoning this as ETHICAL stoops you to a similar level IMHO. There have been stories of people who did NOT give permission for the artist to use their loved ones bodies in that traveling museum that is very similar to what’s happening now. When you donate a body to science it should be used for it’s purpose to further the advancement of health. When finished the person’s remains should be cremated. I’d like to see a similar thing happen to animals as well.

  • Ashley says:

    I personally think this is FANTASTIC I mean what better way to show people that skin is skin it doesn’t matter the host. It’s equally as disgusting. People only think that humane skin is inappropiate because they have this human superiority complex. Humans tend to think that they can play god and decide which animals can live and which ones we can exploit its pathetic not only because I am an Atheist but because we are just naked monkeys. That’s it we are just as primitive in nature as a lion. People need to remember that we are NOT surpreme beings we are just beings. Smart yes but I believe that our intelligence will eventually be our demise.

  • Becky says:

    Okay yes I do find it gross… and it does make me queasy honestly a little more than leather and fur etc probably because it’s less of a norm. BUT from an ethical standpoint I’d be more willing to support willingly donated human skin than ‘stolen’ animal skin or fur. I think I’ll stick to my hemp trainers though .

  • Glinda says:

    I am a organ donor and when I no longer need my body my wish is to have every bit of it used to improve lives here whether plant animal or human. I wouldn’t mind if I became a piece of art that opened minds and changed hearts. Isn’t that what we spend our lives doing anyway? To know that I may continue to do so even after death makes me very happy. After all shouldn’t we leave the world a better place for having had us in it?

  • Elsa Roux says:

    What an interrest article just a question or two? What will be the colour change for example A White person skin A Coloured person skin A Black person skin What do they do with this colour viriation or do they also coloured accordenly your requirement or request? Think about this line we as humans is the closest to Our Father it does not matter of colour or religion the bible teach as that all human mostly was salfed and but like a mummy. This is out of the ordinary cant they think of something else to do new inventions? The body is like the bread on the table and winegrape refreshments is God Son body and bloo. PLEASE IF YOUARE INVOLVED TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE COMMANTMENTS THAT IS LAYOUT FOR ALL OF US. Bleass you all who read this article. Love Elsa Roux

  • Bananas says:

    I would like to be there to see how many of those protesters show up earing leather products! Maybe PETA could put together a demo to demonstrate against the people there who are protesting yet wearing leather?!

  • GAVIN KENLY says:

    I dont see the problem here. Better to use skin that has been donated by a human than the skin from a murdered animal.

  • Katie says:

    Is he serious? This harkens back to the days of Nazi genocide! PETA makes a good point…this skin was donated to medical science. These people gave their bodies in order for medical students to learn about human anatomy. Not for this “artist” to make boots and maps. I don’t think any of the previous posters are partial to one species over another. The taking of donated human skin to make art is unethical. How can you question a society’s ethics by doing it in a way that is fundamentally unethical. I guess he has answered his own question about the callousness of man. Wow maybe he should be on display with a plaque around his neck that reads “hypocrite.”

  • Denise C says:

    MUDRA I totally agree with you….humans are indeed heartless and cruel and lack empathy. What has this world come to??? Such a shame.

  • Zyklonia Dark says:

    WOW! Can we say OVERREACTING!! I think this is great it proves what I have believed all along…no one really goes over the top when an animal is used for fur but use a human and the crap hits the fan!! In high school I started a poster campaign to help fur animals keep their skin by encouraging people to wear the skins of beautiful people! It was great even though many people got upset about it even they saw that skin should remain on the thing it was created to be on!! And alot of cadavers are never even utilized…some cannot be used for different resons such as the person having a disease or unhealthy skin. And then you have the med school cadavers who are just cut up to be looked at and then disposed of. So really this guy is not wasting anything and think about this…violent criminals who die most of the time are donated to science. I always tell people if I ever eat meat again it will be human! who are we to think we are so important? right now there are people wearing the flesh of the mother of a calf who is now an orphan or veal. All the animals who are killed for fur or leather have families are theirs any less important than ours? Think about these things before you fly off the handle!

  • mel says:

    Why not use human skin? Animals die horrible deaths for their skin and humans wear them without any feeling about it. I think this will make a strong statement about the use of skin. Inmates on deathrow should also be used for medical experimentation instead of animals!

  • Laura says:

    That’s…kinda gross. I mean it’s a good alternative to using animal skin but I would rather not wear leather or use pleather than wear actual leather or human skin.

  • MicHale says:

    Excuse me people while I exit the room and upchuck.

  • Raquel says:

    People are such hypocrites.

  • Diogy says:

    A tad to creepy for me. Just thinking about the person or persons that do the actual skinning of these people. YUK! Reminds me of serial killer Eddie Gein. I guess at least he isn’t using animals!

  • Michele says:

    Wow for those of you who think that “the animal is already dead” so why not use it for leather… don’t you realize that the animals are being KILLED for their skin? The continued demand for leather and other animal byproducts will result in continued animal abuse. The difference between the human skin used by Mr. Krasnow and the animal skin worn for fashion is that the animals were killed for human use. Mr. Krasnow is not suggestingimplying that we should start killing humans for clothing and wallets. Some of you have really missed the point.

  • Art Wald says:

    For those of you comparing this to th Nazi’s you need to realize that historians now agree that the human lambpshades and soap were actually propoganda the Soviets made up against the Germans. And the other exhibit on Human Bodies the people DONATED their bodies to that artist. In fact he has so many bodies being donated to him he can’t keep up. Calm down. nobody was hurt and it is thought provoking. When you donate your body you give up all rights to it if scientists couldn’t find use for the skin why not an artist?

  • Jackie says:

    I’m really tempted to joke about this like saying “Ed Gein would give this thumbs up!” but well I already did.Heh.