Video: Cows Branded, Shocked, and Beaten for Leather Car Interiors, Shoes, Bags, and Sofas

PETA Exposes Systemic Cruelty at Suppliers to World’s Largest Leather Producer With Links to General Motors, Toyota, Macy’s, Costco, Kenneth Cole, Nine West, and Others

For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2016

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Greeley, Colo.

A PETA video exposé featuring investigative footage from the nongovernmental organization Repórter Brasil of eight Brazilian cattle ranches supplying JBS S.A.—the world’s largest beef producer and leather processor—reveals that cows are branded on the face with no pain relief, electroshocked, and beaten, then their throats are slit and they are skinned to produce the leather interiors offered by General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, and other major car brands worldwide. The leather is also used for shoes, belts, handbags, and other accessories sold at Kenneth Cole, Nine West, and Stride Rite as well as for sofas, armchairs, and home accessories sold at Costco, Macy’s, and other furniture retailers around the world. The Brazilian minister of agriculture, Eumar Roberto Novacki, has been asked to investigate the cattle farms for allegedly violating the Brazilian Constitution, which forbids cruelty to animals.

In addition, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear or abuse in any other way”—is calling on these companies to replace all leather products with vegan leather. JBS produces 10 million hides annually through its 26 factories scattered across three continents, and its U.S. headquarters is based in Greeley.

“Every leather car interior, home good, or fashion accessory means that gentle cows were likely beaten, branded, and shocked before being skinned,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on consumers to make kind choices concerning what they buy and to leave animals’ skins out of it.”

An eyewitness found that calves were dragged away from their mothers and yanked up by their ears and tails and that cows suffered from open, bloody wounds. Cattle were forced to go through tight chutes, where they sometimes trampled one another in panic. Workers also electroshocked them to get them into crowded trucks headed to JBS slaughterhouses, where their throats were slit and their skin was cut off.

Brazil has one of the largest cattle herds in the world—219 million cows, who now occupy over 600,000 square miles, an area equal to the combined land mass of France, Germany, and Ukraine. Just a few short decades ago, a large part of this area was covered with lush, valuable rainforest.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here. For more information, please visit

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