Thanks to the efforts of PETA India and Maneka Gandhi—the daughter-in-law of former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and a staunch animal rights proponent—India’s Central Board of School Education has banned leather shoes from school uniforms.
Leather shoes are seen as a vestige of British colonial rule, under which they were introduced as a requirement for Indian school uniforms. But in addition to the obvious cruelty to cows, leather shoes are unsuited to India’s hot, humid climate, and leather manufacturing also takes a tremendous toll on the environment. Leather shoes in school uniforms will be replaced with comfortable, environmentally friendly, and easy-to-clean canvas plimsolls (no, not those Plimsouls).
PETA’s campaign against Indian leather started a decade ago when PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk traveled to India to investigate the transport of cows to slaughterhouses. Since then, dozens of international retailers have agreed to stop purchasing Indian leather, costing the industry millions in lost revenue. Find out more about Ingrid’s investigation here.
Written by Alisa Mullins