Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fur . . . and skin

Abuse of animals take so many forms that it can be overwhelming: all unbelievable, all awful. But sometimes a particular horror begins to seem like the worst of them all. Recent posts here, about Julie O’Connor and her campaign against fur, prompted another look at the PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights, published last year.

And of course, besides fur there’s also leather (aka animal skin) to know about and to renounce. (We’ll get to wool and down later.) Call such posts “Things we sometimes wish we didn’t know because then life (ours, anyway!) would be easier.”

The FAQ: Aren’t the cows going to be slaughtered for meat anyway? And PETA president Ingrid Newkirk’s unequivocal answer: “Leather is not simply a slaughterhouse by-product, it’s a ‘co-product,’ meaning that when you buy leather, you make it more profitable to raise and kill cows and other animals. According to industry sources, the skins of the animals represent ‘the most economically important by-product of the meat packing industry.’

“When ‘dairy’ cows’ production declines, for example, their skin is made into leather, and the hides of their offspring, calves raised for veal, for instance, are made into high-priced calfskin. . . . Decreasing demand for both animal hide and flesh will reduce the number of cows and other animals, like pigs, hurt and killed in the trade. . . .

“To read more about leather and the great alternatives to animal skins that are available, visit”

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