‘Leather Is Lethal’: PETA Makes Vegan Plea to Save the Planet

For Immediate Release:
July 17, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Brooklyn, N.Y. – Following the Big Apple’s recent record-setting heat, a new PETA wallscape in the Gowanus neighborhood puts leather production under fire for contributing to the climate catastrophe, urging New Yorkers to ditch accessories and clothing made from the skins of slaughtered animals.

“Rainforests are being burned to the ground, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere and warming our planet, all to make space for cows, who lead short, miserable lives before they’re killed for leather bags and shoes,” says PETA Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges everyone to choose sustainable vegan materials that are kind to the planet and leave animals in peace.”

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 billboard is located at the corner of Third Avenue and Ninth Street in Brooklyn.

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

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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