Animals Used for Leather


According to recent research, cows have distinct personalities and are generally very intelligent animals who can remember things for a long time. Animal behaviorists have found that cows interact in socially complex ways. They develop friendships over time, sometimes hold grudges against other cows who treat them badly, form social hierarchies within their herds, and choose leaders based upon intelligence. They are emotionally complex, and they even have the capacity to worry about the future.

Researchers have found that cows can not only figure out problems but also, like humans, enjoy intellectual challenges and get excited when they find solutions. Cows have been known to perform impressive feats, such as leaping over a 6-foot fence to escape from a slaughterhouse, walking 7 miles to reunite with a calf after being sold at auction, and swimming across a river to freedom.

Cows who are killed for their skins, in the leather trade, are subjected to painful procedures such as castration, branding (which causes third-degree burns), tail-docking, and dehorning—all without painkillers. At slaughterhouses, they are often hacked apart and skinned while still alive.


Pigs are curious and insightful animals who are thought by animal behaviorists to have intelligence beyond that of an average 3-year-old human child. They are smarter than dogs and every bit as friendly, loyal, and affectionate. When in their natural surroundings—not confined to factory farms—they are social, playful, protective animals who bond with each other, make nests, relax in the sun, and cool off in the mud.

Pigs dream, recognize their own names, play video games better than some primates, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates. People who run animal sanctuaries often describe pigs in terms of human characteristics because they’ve learned that, like humans, pigs enjoy listening to music, playing with soccer balls, and getting massages.

Pigs who are killed for their skins spend their lives in extremely crowded, filthy warehouses where many of them never get to see daylight. Their testicles are cut out of their scrotums, their tails are cut off, many of their teeth are clipped in half, and their ears are mutilated, all without any pain relief. Many pigs end up scalded alive in hot-water tanks meant to soften their skin and remove their hair after they’ve been slaughtered.


Millions of kangaroos are shot for their skins every year in Australia. According to Australian government code, orphaned joeys and wounded adults should be killed by decapitation or a sharp blow to the head “to destroy the brain.” When hunters kill a mother kangaroo with a baby in her pouch, the baby is often yanked from the mother’s lifeless body and stomped to death or left to writhe in agony.

You Can Help

Check out PETA’s cruelty-free clothing guide for great tips on where to find compassionate fashion. Fashion should be fun, not fatal.

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