What’s Wrong With Leather.

Fee O'Shea
4 min readApr 10

It’s a material that has been around for thousands of years, so let me enlighten you on what is wrong with leather.

I loved leather in my younger years but never looked beyond the comfortable, fashionable accessories in my closet or explored where and how leather was made until I went vegan many years ago.

Leather is a material we see in many everyday products, from shoes and bags to jackets and furniture. These are the standard items, but it goes way beyond these. You’ll find it in all sorts of places, such as inside furniture, in cars, in the pet industry (which seems so ironic!) and in the music industry etc. For a more detailed list: Leather Products.

However, there’s a hidden side to leather that many people may need to be made aware of.

Let’s start with the first issue: cruelty to animals. Leather is made from the skin of animals, and many of these animals are raised specifically for their skin. The leather industry would like you to believe it is a byproduct of the meat industry; however, skins from meat slaughterhouses are only a small part of the overall amount needed.

These animals are often kept in cramped and dirty conditions, with little access to food, water, or proper medical care. In addition, they may be subjected to cruel practices such as tail docking, ear cropping, and branding. Slaughtering these animals for their skin can also be inhumane, with some animals being skinned alive or beaten to death.

But the cruelty doesn’t stop there. Once the skin is removed from the animal, it goes through a tanning process to turn it into leather. Tanning involves soaking the skin in a mixture of chemicals, including chromium, which is known to be toxic. Not only is this process dangerous for those who work in tanneries, but it also creates a lot of pollution. The chemicals used in tanning can contaminate water sources, pollute the air, and contribute to global warming.

In fact, the leather industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. The World Bank estimates that the production of leather generates over 1.4 million tons of solid waste and 200,000 tons of chromium-laden liquid waste each year. This waste can have a devastating…

Fee O'Shea

Gold card carrying vegan NZ author. Passionate about all critters (including humans). Can be seen advocating for the animals or speaking at events.