What is leather?
Leather is animal skin that's been chemically treated (tanned) to prevent rotting and degradation.
Cattle hide is the most commonly used, but other hides include lamb, pig, sheep, goat, deer, ostrich (popular among fashion designers, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Prada), kangaroo, snake, crocodile, alligator, even sting ray (used mainly in Thailand).
Leather is used in the production of shoes, wallets, gloves, handbags, belts, and saddles.
What's wrong with leather?
Contrary to popular belief, leather is NOT a by-product of the meat industry. While the hides of beef cattle are indeed used for leather, the leather industry is worth millions every year. If you buy leather, you are contributing to the suffering of innocent non-human animals.
Can you imagine living only to be killed and have your skin torn off to cover someone's feet? Not only is leather morally unacceptable in terms of animal rights, the toxic chemicals used during and released after the tanning process cause a staggering amount of damage to the environment, and to the people involved.
The chemicals used to tan leather have been proven to be carcinogenic-this causes chronic health problems among tanners. These chemicals are then released, untreated, into streams and rivers, wreaking havoc on wildlife and poisoning drinking water.
There is absolutely no justification for wearing leather. Leather causes just as much suffering as meat, and it's unacceptable to continue wearing it in an age where countless alternatives exist.