I’ve heard that the Indian leather industry is really cruel. Is it really so bad?

Since slaughtering cows and buffalos is illegal under most circumstances in all but a few states in India, the cows are marched over hot, dusty roads for 50 to 100 miles, across state lines to locations where they can be loaded onto trucks and taken to slaughter.

Typically, up to 24 animals are crammed into trucks meant for only six to seven, so cattle must climb over one another to find any space, inadvertently gouging each other with their horns, trampling and crushing those beneath them. Horns are broken off and nose rings ripped out. Extreme crowding is particularly cruel when temperatures soar, leading to heat exhaustion and suffocation.

Many animals are so sick and injured by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse, they must be dragged inside. Others have hot chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes and their tail bones painfully twisted and broken just to make them stand up. Some animals have their legs cut off or are skinned while still alive.

Because of this cruelty, more and more people in India, in the U.S., and around the world are refusing to buy leather. In this technologically advanced time, it’s easy to find inexpensive, quality shoes and accessories that are stylish and free of animal suffering.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind