Shocking New Ad Blames Leather Industry for Amazon Fires

PETA Billboard Near Horween Leather Company Says Cattle Ranchers Are Burning Down the Rainforest to Meet Greedy, Global Demand for Leather

For Immediate Release:
September 17, 2019

Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Chicago – As fires rage in the Amazon rainforest, PETA will hit Horween Leather Company—one of the oldest continuously running tanneries in the U.S.—with a graphic new billboard that shows a cow ripping flesh off a leopard next to the words “Wearing Leather Kills More Animals Than You Think.” The ad explains, “Ranchers Set Fires in the Amazon Rainforest to Graze Cattle and Grow Crops to Feed Them. Wear Vegan.”

“The demand for meat, dairy, and leather in the U.S. and around the world is the cause of the deadly fires that are robbing humans and other animals of their rainforest homes and contributing to global climate change,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “People can decry the devastation all day long, but as long as they have milk in their coffee or leather on their feet, they might as well whistle into the wind.”

The production of leather—which accounts for up to 20% of the commercial value of a cow—shares responsibility for the environmental hazards of the meat and dairy industries. More than 90% of the Amazon rainforest that’s been cleared since 1970 is used for either grazing or growing food for cattle. The United Nations states that animal agriculture is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions.

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, and tea mimics the properties of leather without the cruelty to animals or environmental devastation.

The billboard is located at 1948 N. Elston Ave., just 500 feet from Horween Leather Company.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. 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