Veganism contains many different aspects- an important one of which is clothing. This means that when one chooses to give up food obtained from animal agriculture, they should do the same for what they wear, for instance, leather.
So what makes the leather industry something opposing animal rights? Let’s explore what exactly is meant by the brutality of the leather industry.
It is not unknown that animals are slaughtered for the purpose of clothing, but the fact that a monstrous number of over a billion animals are being tortured and killed for leather may be esoteric. Regardless of the animal used, the practice itself calls for barbarity. In India, buffaloes are primarily exploited since it is illegal to kill healthy cows. However, empathy for animals lacks so greatly that cows are intentionally tortured (their legs are cut off or they are poisoned) so that they can be declared fit for slaughter.
All animals are extremely intelligent creatures. They are capable of forming relationships, performing complex tasks and even mourning deaths, yet their lives are reduced to nothing but a potential bag or belt.
Below are some ways in which animals experience torment:
1) During transport, they are made to fit into spaces extremely small and are piled one on top of the other resulting in injuries. They also experience the searing heat with no relief.
2) When an animal collapses due to exhaustion, a common practice is to rub their eyes with chili powder or salt, cut off their tails or beat them.
3) These animals are made to do ‘death marches’ for miles and miles in the heat. They are tied together with ropes running through their noses. During these marches, they are beaten mercilessly.
4) When at the slaughterhouse, each animal must watch the other dying. The workers hurl abuses at them and slaughter them while the animal screams in pain. Many leather industries work so heartlessly that the animal is skinned alive without even being stunned.
5) Apart from this, the animals are castrated, branded and de-horned (All being extremely painful processes).
Leather production is not just polluting, it has other detrimental environmental effects such as resource depletion. To be specific, leather tanneries are known for their dumping of waste into rivers. These pollutants have caused major disease outbreaks and killed many marine animals.
Clearly, avoiding leather is the more humane thing to do. The production of leather inflicts harm on not just animals, but humans as well. So, it is essential to avoid materials like leather and instead, switch to other synthetic, cruelty-free and eco-friendly substitutes.
For a complete list of cruelty-free clothing brands, visit https://voicelessindia.org/vegan-resource-sheets-1
Let’s do our part for the biosphere, and avoid the offspring of cruelty and pollution!
Sheep are gentle individuals who are emotionally complex and profoundly intelligent. Sheep, along with other sentient beings like goats, rabbits, and alpacas, are shorn and used for making cloth and yarn. The woolen products that keep us warm during winters reach us after a long-drawn process involving the abuse and mutilation of innocent animals.
Shearing is either done with the help of hand shears or electric shears. Both these methods involve the violent use of sharp metal combs, cutters, and clippers. Moreover, shearers are paid by volume and not the hour, resulting in rapid work leading to frequent injuries.
Sheep: Young lambs are separated from their mothers and are subject to uncivil practices. Hundreds of young lambs die before reaching the age of eight weeks annually! Sheep also suffer from lack of shelter and nutrition, heat exhaustion, diseases due to poor hygiene, untreated wounds, and simple neglect. Stressed and afraid by the experience of shearing, many sheep die on the shearing floor itself.
Cashmere goats: The cashmere industry abuses goats by dehorning, ear notching, castrating without pain relief, and treating them like wool generating machines.
Angora rabbits: Angora rabbits who are used to running and digging holes out in the open lay motionless inside filthy cages that are no bigger than their own bodies. Furthermore, The violent ripping of fur with electric clippers and cutters causes painful injuries and deep trauma, and several rabbits die due to heart attacks.
Alpacas: Alpacas are tied and pinned down on devices that resemble medieval torture racks, and they cry, spit, and vomit in fear while the workers shear their coats fiercely. They experience abuse and injustice, just like the other wool industries.
Once the animals have been used for wool, they are discarded like wool-producing machines that no longer function. These animals are then shipped to slaughterhouses in the Middle East, Asia, and North America. The animals witness the grim fate of being slaughtered conscious and are later sold as cheap meat.
The wool industry also has devastating impacts on the environment. First of all, Large scale grazing and clearing land for building farms leads to soil erosion and decreased biodiversity and wildlife. The industry is thus the leading cause of desertification in Mongolia, and 90% of the country is endangered of desertification, resulting in the world's worst dust storms. Secondly, massive amounts of manure are generated by farm animals, which contribute to greenhouse emissions.
From pashmina wool derived from Himalayan goats to angora wool derived from angora rabbits, India is home to the finest woolen products. India is significant enough to commence a wave of realization about the wool industry throughout the world.
We can contribute to saving the animals abused for wool by not purchasing wool in the first place. We must stay away from anything labeled angora, pashmina, cashmere, mohair, shearling, shahtoosh, or simply wool. There are plenty of fashionable and warm vegan alternatives of wool, including natural fibers like cotton, hemp, bamboo fabric, and linen, synthetic fibers like polyester fleece, synthetic shearling, nylon, rayon, and acrylic, and some other fabrics like soy-based vegetable cashmere, breathable and biodegradable fabric called Tencel, and fabric made up of recycled plastic soda bottles called Polartec wind pro.
The silk industry worldwide is known for its cruel ways of producing cloth. The verity is
that the cruelty ingredient is essential to the final product; without it, there is no output. The very creation of silk calls for torture to those taking part in it. From children to silkworms- none is spared. While other such industries like leather have been called out on many a time for their ruthless means of production, silk continues to be overlooked as an unjust and inhumane product. Its utilization continues to date as a harmless thing to do, however, those straying away from such ignorance may see the reality of the situation and just how abysmal it actually is.
Let us take a look into what makes this situation worth abstaining from.
Silk is made from the cocoons silkworms weave. To obtain this cocoon,
silkworms are boiled and gassed alive. If not, then they are forced out of their
cocoons prematurely or given an inadequate amount of food.
Once they have laid eggs, female moths are crushed to their deaths. Males fare
no better as they are thrown out when they can no longer mate.
Millions and millions of silkworms are killed each day for their silk. This number
translates to 6600 silkworms being killed for just 1 kilogram of silk. This mass
killing is so normalized it goes by the name of ‘‘the art of silk’’.
Its environmental impact is devastating as well. Silk production causes a
tremendous amount of water pollution as well as emits a large amount of
Furthermore, children as young as five years old are forced to endure 12 hour
days, burns and beatings. They experience physical as well as verbal abuse at
the expense of silk production.
Thus, the silk industry is a product of death, bondage, and environmental
destruction. While one may think it is only worms, it is important to note how
worms have a physical response to pain and are capable of producing
endorphins. One can avoid this practice by using substitutes such as artificial silk
made from synthetic cloth and rayon. Other options are nylon, milkweed seed
pod fibers, polyester, Tencel and silk-cotton tree filaments. Clearly, silk is
avoidable. The humane thing to do is to switch to less harmful substances and
do our part for the biosphere.