WHY NOT LEATHER?
Many leather goods are made from the byproducts of the slaughterhouse, so while you may not be contributing to the destruction of animals, you will be contributing to the profits of these establishments. Some leather is purpose made, i.e. the animal is grown and slaughtered purely for its skin.
The Nov/Dec 1991 issue of the Vegetarian Journal has this to say about leather: “Environmentally turning animal hides into leather is an energy intensive and polluting practice. The Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology states, “On the basis of quantity of energy consumed per unit of product produced, the leather-manufacturing industry would be categorized with the aluminum, paper, steel, cement, and petroleum-manufacturing industries as a gross consumer of energy.” Production of leather basically involves soaking (beamhouse), tanning, dyeing, drying, and finishing. Over 95% of all leather produced in the U.S. is chrome tanned. The effluent that must be treated is primarily related to the beamhouse and tanning operations. The most difficult to treat is effluent from the tanning process. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many other pollutants involved in the processing of leather are associated with environmental and health risks. In terms of disposal, one would think that leather products would be biodegradable, but the primary function for a tanning agent is to stabilize the collagen or protein fibers so that they are no longer biodegradable.”