The first step in processing animal skins is to wash and scrape away the fur, fat, and any remaining meat that might still be on the skin. This organic part of a dead animal would break down and go bad just like meat does, unless it is preserved. So, next comes the tanning process. This means soaking the skin in a vat of tanning agents to change it's texture, and make it last. In modern leather production, this means a blend of dangerous chemicals. These are not only harmful to human health, but also devastating to the environment. All too often, they are allowed to run into waterways, where they pollute and kill wildlife. Once the tanning process is finished, the skin will have been transformed into leather. From here, it will be sent to manufacturers who will begin turning it into products for people to buy.
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The Origins Of Leather Are Difficult To Trace
Some types of leather come from animals that are only bred for their skins. Pigs, goats, sheep, alligators, ostriches, kangaroos, and even dogs and cats, are killed in the name of making leather. Legal control over animal welfare is minimal, or even absent, in many of the countries where leather is produced for the global market. This makes tracking how animals were treated, or even what kind of animal they were, sometimes impossible to do.
Sadly, leather labeling does not require that leather origins are shown, so terrible practices are rife. Many animals are kept in appalling conditions and subject to terrible cruelty. In worst cases, this may even end with them being skinned alive. We're sure you'll agree – nobody with a conscience should accept the possibility that their purchases might be supporting such barbaric treatment of sentient beings!