Ahimsa Leather

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Nonviolence lies at the root of select forms of spiritual practice in the religious traditions of India. Regardless of religious distinctions, nonviolent action requires that the performer of any activity be aware of all its implications. The concept of nonviolent action also presumes that another person is, in a fundamental sense, not different from oneself. Philosophically, non-difference of self and others provides a theoretical basis for performing nonviolence. within the context of the Indian quest for liberation, nonviolence provides an important step toward the direct perception of the sacredness of all life. It serves to free one form the restricted notions of self and to open one more fully to an awareness of and sensitivity towards the wants and needs of other persons, animals, and the world of the elements, all of which exist in reciprocal dependence.

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Environmental Considerations

Some claim that using leather alternatives is harmful to the environment, as these alternatives usually use plastics which are derived from petrochemicals, or fabrics like cotton whose production often involves the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. However, the production of leather is also damaging to the environment.

From the Nov/Dec 1991 issue of the Vegetarian Journal:

Environmentally, turning animal hides into leather is an energy intensive and polluting practice. The Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology states, &quotOn 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 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.

Evaluating the relative environmental and health costs of leather versus non-leather products is difficult to do. It is apparent that they all involve practices that can adversely affect public health and the environment. Since leather is intimately related to the exploitation of animals, it seems most desirable to buy canvas, limit purchases, go barefoot, and encourage companies to develop more ecologically sound alternatives.

And this doesn't even take into account the ecological cost of modern animal agriculture techniques.

Also, note that some synthetics use recycled or recyclable materials All information refer to Unreasonable.org

Other Considerations

There are many other considerations to take into account when buying products - corporate policies on sweatshops, labor relations, environmental law, right down to customer service and plain honest dealing. These are important considerations, but they are outside the scope of this document.


Did You Know?

  • Statistics reveal that an average person utilizes the skin of 1.5-2 buffalo only for the sake of foot wear.
  • Debasis Chakrabarti of People for Animals in Calcutta, a local support group for PeTA says, "You see, India is the only country in the world which guarantees equal rights to animals to live peaceful life. So the cruelty by people engaged in leather business only violates Article 51 of the Indian Constitution. Pakistan, Bangladesh and even China do not have such laws framed in ” their constitution.

The Alternative View from the Indian Leather Technologists' Association in India

Arnab Kumar Jha, vice-president of the Indian Leather Technologists' Association, brushed aside the charges of cruelty against animals.

Jha says that it was practically impossible to slaughter an animal without the approval of the veterinary doctors appointed by the ministry of animal husbandry.

In response to the allegations that leather exporters killed animals indiscriminately to meet their trade demands, Jha says, “These charges are baseless and hold no water.

For example, a healthy cow usually costs around 6-8 thousand rupees, whereas its hide is sold at a meagre price of Rs 300. So do you think a sensible person would ever kill his cow worth thousands of rupees merely to obtain her hide, which will fetch him a paltry sum of Rs 300?”

References

  • Uncruel Beauty

See Also