Animal suffering, environmental pollution and catastrophic working conditions: The true face of the leather industry

Often leather is justified as a waste product of the slaughter industry. As the most profitable by-product within the meat industry, leather is, as many preconceive, anything but a natural or waste product. It is firmly scheduled in the processing of animals. In fact, the slaughter of the animals becomes even more profitable due to the extraction of leather.

Extreme animal suffering

Mainly the leather of the animals comes from factory farming. Enge Ställe, kaum Platz zur freien Bewegung. The animals are pumped full of drugs and often get sick due to the circumstances and the dirt. The transport of the animals takes place in many countries in Asia under terrible conditions. For illegal transport, the animals are tied together with ropes and stacked on small truck beds. The cows have to survive the long transport with little food and water. To save production costs, more and more countries are turning to leather products from Asia.

Environmental impact

Leather production is also not good for the environment. The tanning process serves to make the material durable and supple. Various chemicals are used in processing, which result in environmentally harmful substances entering the wastewater. In addition, toxic substances are produced when the waste is incinerated. The production of leather also consumes large quantities of water.

Child labor

In many countries outside the EU, neither environmental nor social standards apply. In the tanneries in Bangladesh, minors work under terrible working conditions. Some of the employees stand in the chrome liquor up to their knees, breathe in the toxic fumes every day and receive very low wages for their work. Due to constant unprotected contact with the chemicals, workers often contract skin and respiratory diseases. The surrounding population also falls ill due to air, water and soil pollution.


Nowadays, no one should have to rely on leather. There are now many resource-friendly, easy-care and fair alternatives to animal leather. We featured some of them in our past blog post:

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