It’s the Steel Toes, Not the Skin, Stupid!

Published by PETA.
jalopnik / CC

TMZ hypothesized that the folks at Chrysler “must have purposely wanted” to annoy us when they released this memo, which says that “all employee’s [sic] shall not wear any shoe with open toe or open heal [sic], Canvas, Suede, Mesh, plastic, pleather or any shoe with a raised heal [sic] on it will not be allowed on the workplace floor. Only shoes / Boots of solid leather composition are allowed ….” And what’s more, those who don’t adhere to these leather-only guidelines will be sent home to change—without pay!

TMZ might be on to something, frankly. Besides the composition of the memo itself (which is making me a little, ahem, sic), there’s the fact that the Chrysler folks are totally ignoring all the many rugged, non-porous leather alternatives out there. Of course, nobody on a factory floor should be wearing peep-toe stilettos, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a good pleather—which, you might notice, is specifically outlawed. Work boots work if they have steel toes and are made of a sturdy material; the skins of dead, abused animals are not required.

Plus, as PETA Director of Corporate Affairs Matt Prescott points out in his letter to Chrysler—oh yes, of course we wrote them a letter—this policy might “discriminate against employees whose religious beliefs forbid or discourage the wearing of leather such as Jains, many Hindus and Buddhists, and others”—not to mention those, for example, who refuse to wear skins for other ethical reasons (hmm … do I know anyone like that?).

So seriously, Chrysler, discriminating against employees while promoting an industry that is cruel to animals and toxic to the environment? Not cool. But the news this morning is cool: Chrysler did consider changing its tune and says that no one who doesn’t adhere to the leather rule will be punished.

They might also want to consider hiring a proofreader, but we’re content with the cruelty-free boots.

Written by Amanda Schinke

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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