Leather is a by-product of the beef industry, right? It comes from cows that have already been slaughtered for meat, doesn’t it?
Or maybe not. Action For Our Planet says the big cattle factory farms and slaughterhouses make up to half their profits from leather, so when you buy leather goods, you are supporting companies that practice inhumane treatment. Care2 Causes tells that more and more leather goods sold in the US are made from leather produced in China and India, where animal welfare laws are non-existent or unenforced. In Defense of Animals has a similar argument.
What’s a responsible consumer to do? Fortunately there are many synthetic leather-like materials on the market today, which are generally easier to care for than leather.
Here are a few good sites for vegan shoe, bag, and accessory shopping:
Alternative Outfitters: mens’ and womens’ shoes; bags; accessories
Moo Shoes: mens’ and womens’ shoes; bags; belts; wallets
Zappos Vegan: vegan shoes for the family, and other eco-friendly products (some of which contain leather, so be careful if you’re trying to avoid it completely)
Happy humane shopping!