Updated June 28, 2016: Mercedes-Benz was moving in the right direction when it informed us that the base model for the all-new manual transmission Smart Fortwo (C453) would be 100 percent leather-free. Now, the company has revealed that you can get a completely leather-free Mercedes—including limousines, T-models, roadsters, convertibles, coupes, SUVs, and compact cars—anywhere in the world. Just contact one of the company’s worldwide distribution partners or e-mail [email protected] for more information. C’mon—you know you want to. If the logo doesn’t impress your friends, the cruelty-free interior will.
Originally posted February 23, 2015
Now Leather-Free: A Smart Move for Mercedes’ Smart Cars
In 2013 and 2014, the designated “leather-free” models of the Mercedes-Benz–engineered Smart Fortwo still included leather steering wheels. But following appeals from PETA pointing out that leather is a poor choice for a purportedly Earth-friendly car, the company has confirmed that the base model for the all-new manual transmission Smart Fortwo (C453)—anticipated for the fourth quarter of 2015—will be 100 percent leather-free.
Offering leather-free interiors is a smart move that makes a positive statement about protecting the environment. The leather industry is responsible for not only widespread animal suffering but also environmental devastation. Turning animal skins into leather requires 130 different chemicals, including cyanide, and people who work in and live near tanneries suffer from exposure to these toxic chemicals. Leather production squanders valuable natural resources—including up to 15,000 gallons of water per ton of hides—and produces massive amounts of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
© iStock.com/Richard Clark
And, of course, the millions of cows whose skins are turned into leather endure branding, tail-docking, dehorning, and castration—all without any painkillers. Cows are loaded onto crowded trucks and transported through all weather conditions to slaughterhouses, where improper stunning means that many may be skinned while they’re still alive.
From clutches to coats—and even cars—smart consumers would be wise to do the planet and cows a favor by giving leather the boot and always choosing vegan options.