UberBLACK Urged to Ditch Über Old-Fashioned Leather Requirement

PETA Calls On Entrepreneurial Business Leader to Put Brakes on Animal-Skins Requirement and Let Passengers Relax Knowing That Seats Are Cruelty-Free

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Hot spots across the country have sent the popularity of on-demand transportation skyrocketing, and in a letter rushed this morning to the CEO of industry leader Uber, PETA calls on the company to drop its requirement for leather seating in UberBLACK vehicles, calling the move out of touch. As PETA points out, a growing socially conscious population—which has driven Uber to the top of the market—doesn’t want stinky, wrinkly hide seats that stick to their legs and is increasingly aware of the leather industry’s environmental footprint and its inherent cruelty to animals, including painful dehorning, castration, and dismemberment.

“It’s übersad to use real leather and übercool to choose high-end vegan leathers to meet customer demand for luxury without the cruelty and environmental black mark,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is appealing to Uber to drop its archaic requirement for leather in all UberBLACK cars and meet the demand for eco-friendly, cruelty-free style. Let stressed riders sit back, relax, and dream of moving toward a compassionate future.”

A growing number of luxury automakers—including BMW, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz—currently offer consumers vegan-leather options.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber Technologies, Inc., follows.

August 17, 2015

Travis Kalanick
CEO Uber Technologies, Inc.

Via e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Mr. Kalanick,

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide regarding the devastating impact that leather has on communities, the environment, and, of course, animals. As you likely know, in many markets, including Chicago, Colorado, Michigan, and Texas, UberBLACK requires that vehicles in its service have leather seats. Given the myriad issues involved with leather production and Uber’s specific appeal to, and use by, millennials, who are more socially aware than ever, we’re urging UberBLACK to eliminate the requirement for leather seats across all markets.

I’m sure you’re aware that animal agriculture, which includes co-products such as leather, is a leading contributor of greenhouse-gas emissions. Specifically, a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture, according to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute.

In addition, most of the millions of cows and other animals whose skins are turned into leather endure the horrors of factory farming—including extreme crowding and confinement, disease, and deprivation of food and water. Branding, tail-docking, dehorning, and castration are all commonly performed without any painkillers. Animals are transported hundreds of miles to feedlots and to slaughterhouses—where improper stunning means that many are skinned while still alive. Please take a few moments to watch PETA’s exposé of the leather trade, narrated by Stella McCartney.

We understand that UberBLACK consumers want a luxurious experience that is stylish and comfortable. Luckily, high-end, high-performing vegan leathers already meet that demand without the environmental devastation and cruelty of leather. These plush vegan materials are already in use by luxury automakers BMW, Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, and many others.

Uber can be a leader in sustainable transport while commanding the attention of its target market by removing the requirement for leather in all UberBLACK markets.

I sincerely appreciate your time and consideration of this matter. I hope to hear from you soon.


Noelle Grain
Corporate Liaison

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