Every year, millions of animals are killed for the clothing industry. Whether they come from Chinese fur farms, Indian slaughterhouses, or the Australian outback, an immeasurable amount of suffering goes into every fur-trimmed jacket, leather belt, and wool sweater.
Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gassing, and poisoning. More than half the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and sometimes even skinned alive for their fur. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there’s no way of knowing whose skin you’re in.
Most leather comes from developing countries such as India and China, where animals routinely have their throats cut and their skin ripped off while they are still conscious. In India, a PETA investigation found that cows have their tails broken and chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes so that they will walk after they collapse while traveling long distances to slaughter.
Most of the world’s wool comes from Australia, where sheep undergo “mulesing,” a gruesome mutilation in which large chunks of skin and flesh are cut from lambs’ backsides without any painkillers. Each year, millions of sheep discarded by the Australian wool industry are crammed onto export ships to be sent to the Middle East. Sheep who survive the terrifying voyage are often dragged off trucks by their ears and legs, tied up, and beaten and have their throats cut while they are still conscious.
The exotic skins trade is just as horrifying. Snakes and lizards are skinned alive because of the belief that live flaying makes leather more supple. Kid goats are boiled alive to make gloves, and the skins of unborn calves and lambs—some purposely aborted, others taken from slaughtered pregnant cows and ewes—are considered especially “luxurious.”
You can help stop this. Saving animals is as simple as choosing stylish cruelty-free clothing, which is available in every price range and at all kinds of retail outlets, from discount shoe stores to high-end boutiques. With so many fashionable, comfortable options available today, there is no excuse for wearing any animal skins.