A horrifying video of animals being skinned alive and child workers being exposed to toxic chemicals has laid bare the horrific reality of the leather industry in some parts of the world. For two years animal rights charity PETA Germany, with journalist Manfred Karremann, investigated the billion-dollar leather industry in Bangladesh. New footage reveals that animals are skinned alive for shoes, belts, jackets, handbags and other products that are exported around the globe.
The video, narrated by pop singer Leona Lewis, says an estimated two million cows are transported on severely crowded trucks thousands of miles from India – where it is illegal in most states to slaughter them – to Bangladesh every year. Many arrive with broken tails and open wounds and are so weak and malnourished that they cannot even stand.
Cows and goats are fully conscious when their throats are cut on the streets of Dhaka
This cow was too weak to stand up
In abattoirs, or illegally on the streets, their throats are cut with a knife – and some still struggle to escape as their skin is peeled off. Tanneries use toxic chemicals to prevent animals’ skin from decaying. Unprotected workers, including children, stand barefoot as they soak hides in carcinogenic chemicals, cut the skins with knives, and operate dangerous machinery – some losing fingers in the process.
Cows transported from India to Bangladesh are bound with ropes and often so crowded together that they can’t even lie down
Children sort dried skins and operate dangerous machinery in Dhaka’s tanneries
The toxic waste is then dumped into the river, which has become a bubbling swamp. Most workers have chronic respiratory problems because of the chemical vapours and lack of ventilation.
Workers stand in toxic chemicals while soaking cowhides
People who live near this polluted canal are exposed to toxic chemicals in both the water and the soil.
An estimated 90 per cent of tannery workers die before reaching the age of 50.”The production of leather hurts animals, workers and the environment”, Lewis says in the video. “Please consider the impact that your purchases have, and buy only cruelty-free synthetic, natural fibre and other vegan clothing and accessories.”
Click to WATCH: Cows Skinned Alive For Leather Have Their Limbs Cut Off To Prevent Movement