Dictators’ Dangerous Leather Use Prompts PETA Plea at U.N. HQ: ‘Don’t Be Like Them!’

For Immediate Release:
January 9, 2024

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

New York

With worldwide alarm about war-hungry rhetoric ramping up from Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un, PETA is surrounding the United Nations Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan with messages decrying yet another way the notorious autocrats cause suffering and devastation: by wearing planet- and animal-killing leather. PETA’s appeals are urging the public to avoid being like Putin or Kim in any way by refraining from purchasing violently produced leather items.

putin and kim jong un appear in new peta anti-leather ads peta anti-leather ads feature likeness putin kim jonh un

Credit: PETA

“Everyone can choose nonviolence and good over evil by rejecting the leather industry, which drives the climate catastrophe, kills cows by the millions, and even raises cancer rates among tannery workers and those downstream from tanneries’ effluent,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Let’s dress for peace for every living, feeling being by picking vegan materials that also protect our planet.”

Animal agriculture—which includes the leather industry, a major part of meat and dairy profit margins—is responsible for nearly one-fifth of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. The World Bank reports that cattle ranching has caused over 80% of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest since 1970, and because of fires—many of which are deliberately set to clear land to raise cows and grow crops to feed them—along with hotter temperatures and droughts, parts of the Amazon are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they can absorb.

In addition, turning skin into leather requires significant energy and dangerous chemicals, including formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and cyanide-based oils, dyes, and finishes. Sustainable vegan leather made from apples, cork, corn, grapes, mushrooms, paper, pineapples, soy, or tea mimics the properties of leather without the cruelty to animals or environmental devastation.

The visuals for the guerilla marketing campaign were created by ad agency Archer Troy. PETA will also display chalk art depicting the Putin ad outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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