The billion-dollar Bangladeshi leather industry is finally facing the public scrutiny it deserves for unspeakable acts of animal cruelty.
Thanks to singer-songwriter Leona Lewis’ collaboration with PETA, a recent video exposé narrated by the singer has revealed shocking facts about the atrocities that cows and other animals face when they are transported and slaughtered for their hides. This abuse has trickled down into the community; not only does the livestock suffer the consequences of leather farming, but the local environment, workers, and children do, as well.
Take a look at your shoes, handbags, belts, and even wallet. If it says “genuine leather” and you bought it off the rack, then there’s a chance that your purchase contributed to Bangladeshi’s rampant and unregulated animal cruelty resulting from the cow slaughtering and leather tanning industries.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reported that approximately 2 million cows from India are crudely and abhorrently packed like sardines onto trucks and transported thousands of miles to Bangladesh–because cows can’t be slaughtered in India–without any regard to their welfare in order to bypass Indian slaughter bans. Upon arrival, the animals are so exhausted, malnourished, dehydrated, and emaciated that they can’t even muster the energy to stand up, much less walk, to reach the next destination.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Innocent cows also suffered from necrotic wounds and broken tails, likely resulting from such hazardous transportation, and, according to sources, the animals did not receive any medical attention.
Once inside the slaughterhouses, the workers bind the legs of the cows and proceed to slit their throats while they are fully conscious. The living animals are subjected to witness the violence and suffering of their fellow species while are likely also anticipating their own imminent deaths. Disturbingly, some cows are actually seen still kicking as they are being – literally – skinned alive. Here is the link to Lewis’ PETA narration and video, but we must warn you that it is extremely graphic.
In addition to the sad existence of the cows sent for slaughter in Bangladesh, workers, and children were seen immersing and exposing themselves to highly toxic chemicals in order to soak and prepare the hides that are then used to make the handbags, shoes, and other leather products. Their jobs are performed without a barrier of protection – no shoes, gloves, or chemical rated clothing – but with a high risk of an early death and cancer.
A whopping 90 percent of the tannery workers probably won’t even live to see the age of 50 due to the deplorable conditions these employees are forced to work under, which is a sad statistic considering that many of these “workers” are actually children. Additionally, a visit to Dhaka, an area that has more than 150 tanneries, did not uncover a single waste facility or sewage plant. Instead, the runoff was simply added to a river, creating a large stream of toxic waste that traveled through the town, killing animals and endangering humans.
“The production of leather hurts animals, workers, and the environment. Please consider the impact that your purchases have, and only buy cruelty-free synthetic, natural fiber, and other vegan clothing” said Lewis. Every little change, no matter how insignificant, incites growth and broadens our views. And from those small modifications, we can only hope that a conscious attitude towards living a cruelty-free life will flourish in the wake of so much death and destruction.
Now that you’ve read the news on the latest animal cruelty scandal, we want to hear from you. What’s your take on the atrocities uncovered by PETA? Do you believe more celebrities should use their influence to spread awareness about difficult animal and human rights issues like these? What do you think it would take to have leather completely eliminate from store shelves? Let us know your thoughts on the EcoSalon Facebook page.
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Image of Cow on Truck from Shutterstock