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Public opinion roundly condemns the use of animals for their fur. Little explanation is required as to the reason why. Fur is regarded as a cruel luxurious status symbol and little else. Leather does not always receive such condemnation. In fact it is often regarded as a practical by-product of the meat industry; environmentally sound; a quality product readily available to all. However, there is myth and ignorance surrounding its production. Here we provide the reasons why we should condemn leather as vociferously as we condemn fur. Fur Facts around 30 million animals, mainly mink and fox - but also chinchilla, sable and even lynx - are held captive in row upon row of metal wire cages, where they are unable to pursue their natural instincts and so resort to stereotyped behavior, self-mutilation and cannibalism. Death comes by gassing, electrocution, lethal injection or neck breaking. There are around 12 such factory farms in Britain (all mink), imprisoning 50,000 to 100,000 animals. Trapping accounts for an estimated 5 million animals worldwide, normally by means of steel-jawed leg hold traps which are now illegal in Britain.


Leather & the 'By-Product' Myth


Those purchasing leather products may try to reassure themselves that the animal it came from had already died for meat so it matters little that they 'use up' the remaining skin for a pair of shoes or a jacket. However,
it does matter because by doing this they will be helping to subsidies the meat industry. Purchasing leather ensures the continuity of a massive industry based on animal suffering. Not only leather, but every last part of the animal is sold in order to make the whole bloody business possible. Blood is made into fertilizer or used to fill out pet food. Hair is removed to make paint brushes. Bones, hooves and horns are boiled up and turned into gelatin(e) which is used to make jelly, capsules for drugs and vitamins, sweets, biscuits, photographic film, toiletries, cosmetics and matches.


Exploding the 'Bio-Degradable' Myth


The leather industry try to brainwash the public into believing that their product is bio-degradable and a really positive purchase if you care about the environment. After all, whoever heard of an environmentally-friendly
plastic?! However, what the leather industry fail to mention is that in its natural state leather would never be used for shoes, boots, bags or anything else for that matter. Why? Because in its 'natural' state it would rot extremely rapidly. However, even before it rotted down to nothing, it still couldn't be used because it would become rigidly hard and crack in the winter or very soft and limp in the summer! At the end of the day those leather shoes wouldn't last very long at all in their 'natural' state. What do the leather manufacturers do about this? They treat the leather in various un environmentally-friendly ways to make sure it won't go rigid in the cold or flaccid in the heat and, more importantly, won't rot! If leather is so bio-degradable and environmentally friendly what of the
leather samples found in Northern Germany that were estimated to be 12,000 old or leather artifacts believed to date from the Neolithic and European Bronze Ages! Exotic Leathers Most leather in the UK is made from the skins of cattle, calves, sheep, lambs, goats and pigs. However, many other species are hunted and killed
worldwide specifically for their skins. These include zebras, bison, water buffaloes, boars, deer, kangaroos, alligators, elephants, eels, sharks, dolphins, seals, walruses, frogs, crocodiles, lizards and snakes.
Thousands of endangered olive ridley sea turtles are captured and butchered illegally in Mexico, solely for their skins. It is estimated that 25-30% of US imported crocodile shoe leather and other wildlife items are made from endangered illegally poached animals.

 

Leather & the Environment


The amount of waste and pollution generated by the leather manufacturing industry is phenomenal. The stench from a tannery is overwhelming. Not only do they pollute the air, however, they also pollute the rest of the
environment with the use of a multitude of harsh toxic chemicals. One estimate puts the potential cost of an effluent treatment plant in a tannery at 30% of the total outlay proving just how much of a major problem it is.
Substances used in the manufacture of leather include: lime, sodium sulfate solution, emulsifiers, non-solvent degreasing agents, salt, formic acid, sulfuric acid, chromium sulfate salts, lead, zinc, formaldehyde, fats, alcohol, sodium bicarbonate, dyes, resin binders, waxes, coal tar derivatives and cyanide-based finishes. Tannery effluent also contains large amounts of other pollutants such as proteins, hair and salt. The leather industry also uses a tremendous amount of energy. In fact on the basis of quantity of energy consumed per unit produced, the
leather-manufacturing industry would be categorized alongside the paper, steel, cement and petroleum manufacturing industries as a gross consumer of energy. Going back to the beginning of the horrific chain of events that ends up with a leather product, we find environmental problems already very evident. Farms that breed animals are in fact themselves an environmental problem. Cattle belch and fart methane, which is produced during fermentation in their guts. A typical animal emits 48kg of methane a year, with more bubbling out of its manure. In fact, nearly half of the EU's methane comes from ruminant digestion and manure. Commercial dairying is not synonymous with environmentally acceptable practice. Dairy farms are often specialist units with high inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus - both as fertilizers and purchased feeds. Stocking rates are high, there is often no arable land on which to use slurry and dirty water, and many units also grow maize which can cause
high losses of nitrogen and phosphorus through leaching, run-off and erosion. Cows averaging 35 liters of milk a day can require up to 100 liters of drinking water a day. This requirement will increase in hot conditions.
Beef farming makes other indirect contributions to the greenhouse effect. For instance, fossil fuels are burnt to generate the energy to produce fertilizer that feed the fodder crops on which many animals feed. Rearing
beef is also land-intensive with some 340,000 hectares of British farmland devoted to growing feed for beef cattle, and beef cattle pastures take up more than a million hectares. If some of this land was planted with trees
instead, these would soak up CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow. The Wildlife Trusts report Crisis in the Hills demonstrates that biodiversity in the uplands is literally being eaten away by sheep farming. About 70% of heather moorland in England and Wales is at risk and half of upland breeding birds in decline. Case studies have been gathered from major upland areas in the UK highlighting that the loss of biodiversity has reached national unacceptable levels.

 

Meat & Leather


The type of meat that is purchased in the UK has a direct effect on the type of leather available for the leather manufacturing industry. If everybody decided they only wanted to eat young lambs under a month old,
then the skin made available for the leather industry would be very thin, soft and pliable. Soft Products or Better Leather from Babies The younger the animal at the time of slaughter, the smoother and finer the grain structure and the less likelihood of damage due to scratches, parasite damage, ringworm, dung contamination, improper flaying or inadequate salting. The skin of a female is usually finer grained than that of the male and has a looser fiber structure giving a softer, stretcher leather.


Leather = Animal Suffering


The animal farming industries produce the leather that manufacturing industries use. Animals begin by being bred in intensive, semi-intensive or extensive systems. In other words they may be factory farmed as in the case of veal calves (veal crates are banned in this country but calves are still raised for veal indoors in groups) or alternatively animals (such as sheep) may be farmed extensively in hilly upland areas where they are more or less left to their own devices suffering extremes of weather, disease and a lack of adequate food. Even gentle dairy cows who are often admired casually grazing the British countryside during the summer, are housed for 6 months throughout the winter. Some dairy cows are actually housed all year round. Both cattle and sheep suffer from a variety of health problems and undergo a variety of painful procedures depending on their species and sex e.g. castration, ear-tagging, tail-docking, artificial insemination, laparoscopy or embryo. However one thing they do have in common is the pain of lameness and mastitis. Lameness Surveys of cases of lameness in dairy cows treated by veterinary surgeons indicate an average annual incidence of about 4-6%. When cases treated by
the farmer are included the annual incidence appears to be about 25%!" Lameness is a major health and welfare problem in all sheep producing countries. It is generally regarded as the greatest cause of pain and
discomfort in sheep. Farmers Weekly writes in February 1997 that lame sheep were found in 92% of flocks covered by a Royal Veterinary College survey relating to 758,252 ewes and 427,277 lambs. Mastitis Mastitis is a very painful bacterial infection of the udder of the cow which causes inflammation and swelling. The udder becomes hard and hot with an abnormal discharge. In the recently calved cow the milk is thick, creamy and smells foul. The cow is often lame in one or both hind legs with swollen joints. Body temperature can be high and in some cases pregnant cows will  abhor or produce a stunted calf. Around 4 out of ten cows are affected each year in Britain. Sheep suffer similarly. In really acute cases the ewe will have a raised temperature and the udder may start to turn a very dark color as gangrene sets in. If this occurs, the whole or part of the udder can eventually  slough off. In extreme cases, the ewe will rapidly die of septicemia. Mild mastitis in sheep will result in permanent damage to the udder, usually in the form of abscesses, and ewes are often culled as a result. Treating mastitis in ewes is rarely successful and a three-year survey of over 30,000 lowland ewes found about 5% were affected. Sub clinical mastitis is almost impossible to detect but with up to 12% of ewes affected at some stage in lactation.

 

Transportation


Problems associated with transportation include fear and pain associated with handling and mixing animals; thermal and motion stress; hunger, thirst and exhaustion; and risks of infection. In September 1996, 240
sheep were killed in a crash traveling from Britain to Spain via France. The remaining 520 were slaughtered in French abattoirs. Two days later a further 300 sheep died in another crash. Slaughter Sheep are very vulnerable to stress during drawing out (selecting) for slaughter, loading and transporting to the abattoir. In fact most of the
stress on the day of slaughter is often associated with handling, transport and lair age. These problems become more intense for animals that are un adapted to handling. Sheep are usually slaughtered by electrical stunning followed by throat cutting. Stunning, however, may not be very effective and sheep might regain consciousness when they have their throats slit or while blood is being drained from their body. The same with cattle; much distress suffered on the day of slaughter is caused by transportation and lair age (holding animals just before
slaughter). Smaller animals like calves are usually herded into open pens in groups and electrical stunning used. Captive bolt stunning is commonly used for larger animals such as cattle. It is a bolt, propelled by a blank
cartridge or compressed air, that penetrates the skull and destroys part of the brain. The government's advisory body the Farm Animal Welfare Council have been concerned at the inadequacy of the stunning. After  stunning animals have their throats slit (stuck) and are bled to death. It is the bleeding that causes death. It is highly probably that many animals are being stunned inadequately and die in distress and pain.Many sheep and cattle are also ritually slaughtered i.e. they have their throats slit whilst fully conscious. If the meat isn't considered kosher (because the carcass is damaged) this meat is sold on the open market without kosher labeling.


Buy Synthetic - Save a Life


The general public buy millions of tones of plastic products each year with very little thought. However, when it comes to purchasing one pair of synthetic shoes or boots, the very idea appears to be an anathema! Think of the number of washing up liquid or shampoo bottles every family uses in a month and one pair of good quality synthetic footwear really doesn't seem so bad after all! This isn't to say that purchasing a pair of synthetic shoes is going to be one of the most environmentally friendly acts of the year. However, those shoes or boots may last several years of heavy wear and tear before they have to be replaced. Good quality non-leather footwear is now easy to purchase. The days of a pair of plastic shoes lasting several weeks before they fall apart is over providing you choose well-made products. Of course, the best thing about non-leather footwear is that no animal suffered to produce them.


Alternatives to Leather


There are now a fabulous range of alternative non-leather footwear available from DM boots and shoes to summer sandals in a variety of colors. Fabrics are durable, weatherproof, warm and allow the feet to 'breathe'. In addition to a range of footwear, many companies now produce non-leather jackets, bags, wallets and belts. For a full list of footwear

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Take care of Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D3 (Through direct Sunlight) level of your body. For Vitamin B-12, Nurokind-OD tablets (Sub lingual), Methycobal Tablets are in India. Give you body timely exposure to Sunlight to get UV-B rays. Only healthy Vegan diet will keep you healthy. Avoid processed and junk food, MSG Salts, Trans fats- Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Refined Oil. You talk about stopping Slaughterhouse?...Wake up...Be a Vegan first. Visit Photo Gallery for Health and Food.