All leathers are made from animals
Leather and wool - what is it?
What is leather
Bags, belts, shoes - there are many things that are made of leather. But what exactly is leather? Leather is the skin of an animal. The skin of cows is used in most of the products that can be bought from us. But there are also other types of leather, such as rabbit, fox or camel leather.
Most of the leather things we can buy from us come from South America or Asia. The cows are specially bred for this. Often times they don't have a good life. They have to live in cramped stables and can hardly get out into the fresh air. They don't live very long either. Once they are fully grown, they are killed. Cows can actually live up to 30 years. Leather is also a by-product of the meat industry. When an animal is slaughtered, the meat is processed and the skin is made into leather.
Leather is a tanned animal hide that is chemically treated. When tanning, toxic substances are often used, which make the leather durable and beautifully soft. There are also natural fabrics that can be used to tan leather. This leather is then much more expensive. Shoes for only 30 euros, for example, are made of cheaply made leather.
There are already many imitations of leather. These are man-made materials that look and feel similar to leather. No animals then had to die for this. You can tell whether an item is made of leather or not by the leather symbol.
Where does wool come from?
Wool is used in many winter clothes: sweaters, wool coats, scarfs and hats. It is considered a natural substance that grows back. Wool mostly comes from sheep. But it has little to do with a green meadow and a farm like in “Shaun the Sheep”. There is also wool from llamas and alpacas. But it is a little rarer and therefore more expensive.
Australia is the largest wool producer in the world. Sheep are kept there on huge farms. Actually, this is also a natural process: sheep get more fur in winter that they lose in spring. In the past, the superfluous wool was combed out of them.
Today sheep are shorn with a razor. Shearing is very stressful for the animals. Sheep are very sensitive flight animals, and most of all they prefer to run away. But they are held and sometimes very roughly shorn. The workers on such farms have to work quickly so that they are often not paying so much attention. It is therefore often the case that sheep are injured in the process.
So wool and leather are natural materials. But the animals often have to suffer for it so that we can dress well. As a real animal rights activist, you should think carefully about what you are going to buy or what your parents will buy you. Take a good look at an item of clothing before you buy it. The label tells you what material the clothing is made of. What is much more important: think carefully about whether you even need the item of clothing and whether you really like it. Because we have way too many clothes that hang in the closet and are never put on.
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