New Video Shows Perilous, Grueling Journeys of Cows Killed for Leather

Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, PETA Points Out That Live-Animal Export Fuels Risk of Spreading Disease to Humans: It's Time to Shop Vegan for Everyone's Sake

For Immediate Release:
July 9, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

New York – Amid heightened awareness of the public health risks involved in handling and transporting animals as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, PETA is pointing to a new Manfred Karremann investigation released by PETA Germany revealing that animals used by the international leather industry are commonly kept, transported, and killed in filthy, crowded conditions in which devastating zoonotic diseases can develop and spread.

Karremann documented that animals are subjected to weeks-long journeys from Europe and South America overseas and by truck to slaughterhouses in Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and elsewhere, some of their skins ultimately ending up on store shelves in the U.S. and Europe. The video footage shows weak or injured animals being hoisted off a docked ship by one leg with a crane (a process that can break their legs and dislocate their joints) and then dropped onto a slaughterhouse-bound truck. When they finally reached the slaughterhouse, they were pinned to the ground or tied up and their throats were cut. Workers slit the throat of a cow who was still moving as blood gushed out and threw a sheep who was still kicking onto a pile of corpses to bleed to death.

“As the world reels from a deadly virus that originated in humans’ cruel treatment and butchery of animals, this deeply disturbing video footage should set off alarm bells,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Animals killed for leather endure terrible pain and suffering, and its production poses a risk to human health, so PETA is urging shoppers to avoid leather like the plague.”

More than 1.4 billion cows, goats, and sheep—and millions of other animals—are killed for leather every year. Inadequate labeling requirements make it nearly impossible for consumers to determine where leather really comes from. Sustainable vegan leather made from apples, cork, mushrooms, paper, tea, and other materials mimics the properties of animal-derived leather without the cruelty, risk of transmissible disease, or environmental destruction.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, the belief that humans are superior to all other animals. For more information, please visit

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