The cruelty of leather
largest manufacturer of leather in the world--it is technically illegal to
kill healthy, young cattle, so unscrupulous dealers often deliberately maim
Workers may break animals' legs so that they can be
declared fit for slaughter. Cattle are tied together with ropes through
their nostrils and beaten mercilessly in forced "death marches" over
hundreds of kilometers in searing heat.
During the marches, cattle
collapse from hunger and exhaustion, but handlers force them along by
snapping the bones in their tails and rubbing tobacco and chilies into their
Cattle are crammed on top of each other into lorries and
endure long, hot trips to slaughterhouses in Mumbai, Kerala, Karnataka, and
a few other states where mass slaughter is legal.
Border guards are
known to take bribes to allow overloaded lorries of cattle to move illegally
into slaughtering states.
The animals fall and crush one another on the
lorries because of overcrowding, and many die from suffocation and horn
gouges before reaching the slaughterhouse. Once inside, their throats are
slit in full view of other animals. Some have their legs hacked off while
still conscious or suffer the agony of being skinned alive.
India's leather industry is perhaps the cruelest in the world.
seven years, PETA India:
affiliates have conducted undercover investigations into the transport and
slaughter conditions that are endured by the cows, buffaloes, sheep and
goats who are used in the Indian leather trade.
The leather produced
from the skins of these animals is exported throughout the world, including
to the US and Europe.
The investigators have gathered graphic
evidence of the widespread illegal abuse of these animals as well as
evidence of unhygienic and dangerous conditions in slaughter facilities.
The animals are subjected to cruelty that includes being crammed into
lorries in such large numbers that many become severely injured when they
are crushed or gouged by the horns of other animals.
Many of them die
The evidence also reveals that most of the animals are
dragged into abattoirs before they are cut open � often with dirty, blunt
knives and in full view of one another � on floors that are covered with
feces, blood, guts and urine. Some animals are even skinned and dismembered
while they are still conscious.
investigations have also brought to light the fact that -- despite the
directives that top Indian government officials gave to state governments
and the assurances that they made to the public regarding improvements in
animal welfare six years ago - virtually no improvements in the treatment of
animals have taken place.
Abattoirs continue to be unsanitary and to
pollute the environment.
unlicensed, illegal abattoirs remain in
operation; animal-transport conditions remain deplorable; and even though it
is required by law to do so, the government has failed to form enough
branches of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to enforce
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 and its rules governing the
transport and slaughter of animals.
minimal animal protection laws regarding transport and slaughter are
blatantly ignored, and although it claims to have an Animal Welfare Reform
Programme, the Indian Council for Leather Exports (CLE) refuses to take any
action to prevent leather-selling businesses from obtaining hides and skins
from unlicensed, illegal abattoirs.
Animals of all ages, including
small calves, are illegally killed and used in the leather trade.
___The Supreme Court
PETA India has a case pending before the Indian
Supreme Court against the Union of India, each state-level government and
the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) for their failure to enforce animal
protection laws and for allowing the unnecessary and extreme suffering of
animals who are used for leather and meat. The Court has publicly expressed
its shock at the evidence of cruelty that PETA India has submitted.
In fact, more than one year ago, the Supreme Court directed the AWBI to
inform it, within a month, about steps that the Board was taking to prevent
cruelty to animals.
The AWBI was then to set up an inspection plan
for abattoirs throughout the country. To date, there is still no suitable
abattoir-inspection system in India. The Supreme Court has also directed the
government of Tamil Nadu to address and rectify the illegal abuse of animals
used for meat and leather there, but it has not done so.
The CLE's supposed Animal Welfare Reform Programme lacks the
vigour and commitment that are required in order for concrete and
long-lasting improvements to be made in animals' lives. Almost one year ago,
PETA India and its affiliates called upon the CLE to come to the negotiating
table by offering it a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
MoU raises issues that are considered crucial to animal welfare. It asks
that the Indian leather industry end its support of abattoirs that are
operating illegally; end its support of municipal abattoirs that have been
condemned for animal welfare violations; undertake at least three reform
projects a year in order to improve the animal-handling process from the
market through transport and slaughter; and move towards procuring hides and
skins only from markets, transporters and abattoirs that adhere to India's
animal protection laws.
After sitting on the MoU for nine months,
the CLE ultimately refused to even negotiate with PETA.
for Animals Abused in the Indian Leather Trade
When PETA's campaign to
alleviate the suffering of animals used for leather was first launched in
2000, about 40 major companies stated that they would not use leather
sourced from Indian animals. An estimated US$68 million was reportedly lost
by the Indian leather industry as a result of these companies' decisions not
to support unlawful cruelty. The campaign also gained the support of
celebrities all around the world, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sir
Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Jackie Chan and others.
US retailer Liz Claiborne -- which has annual sales of US$4.8 billion -- has
assured PETA US that it will not use leather from India. Kenneth Cole,
another US retailer, which has annual sales of US$518 million -- has also
weighed in, giving its commitment to PETA US that it will not sell leather
produced from Indian animals.
***You Can Help !
thing that you can do to help animals is not to eat or wear them.
Let others know about the abuse that animals endure and ask them to say no
to meat and leather too.