Can leather be ethical?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ben39, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. zjpj83

    zjpj83 Senior member

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    I haven't eaten meat for 25 years but have nine leather jackets/coats and several shoes all leather. Not quite sure where my ethics are, I think factory farming is a disgusting mess but I also think cows are one of the dumbest creatures on the planet who wouldn't last ten minutes without humans to protect them from wolves. They contribute to global warming with their methane farts and don't even have the sense to lift their tails, just shitting all over their back legs the dirty dirty bastards.

    I LOLed
     
  2. ben39

    ben39 Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a problem with say, somebody hunting a deer, eating it and then tanning the hide. Are all hides obtained from factory farms?
     
  3. Ianiceman

    Ianiceman Senior member

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    As someone who works in Public Health, and has visited several working slaughterhouses I think it's ethical...as long as you view eating animals as ethical. Spendling some time on the killing floor I can assure you that they use all parts of the animal. And I do mean ALL parts.

    Enjoy your hotdogs and hamburgers....

    [​IMG]


    This is the main reason I gave up eating meat. There are parts of any animals I prefer not to eat.
     
  4. Grenadier

    Grenadier Senior member

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    I am generally of the opinion that it is highly unethical-dare I say, immoral-not to wear leather.
     
  5. stevent

    stevent Senior member

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    Well it all depends on context. Personally I think leather is.

    But let's say you can choose canvas shoes or leather shoes. The leather shoes last 10 years, the canvas last 3. What is the effect on the environment in terms of the canvas production/shipping/marketing/selling/waste vs. the pair of leather shoes you still have?

    You could go on with water bottles. You just went to REI and bought a few nalgenes and siggs. But you really only need one (three if you actually hike/trek). But by buying a few extra, you defeated the purpose of getting a reusable bottle in the first place. It's like recycling. Recycling is good, but if you reduced your use in the first place, then recycling is a waste. And think about the truck that picks up all your bottles, then the factory that processes them, then the manufacturing of new products, the shipping of the new products, the marketing on the fact that the new product is made from recycled materials and on and on and on.

    I enjoy eating meat and wearing leather oxfords/boat shoes/sneakers and gloves. But ethical? Can't decide.
     
  6. i10casual

    i10casual Senior member

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    I work in a factory where we mainly use leather. I couldn't decide on an answer myself so I spoke with a lots of monastics (I'm also a buddhist layman). I sucks to be killing shit and eating it. But it is part of our culture and we do use all of that animal. You have to pick your fights and I prefer leather shoes.
     
  7. Tck13

    Tck13 Senior member

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    This is all conjecture on my part, but I would guess that all leather (excluding exotics like reptiles) is a byproduct of the meat industry. I've never heard of anyone cultivating cattle specifically for their leather. I would guess that the best leather is simply selected from the massive amount of hides that are produced by the beef industry.

    It is even possible that non-factory-farmed hides are simply discarded if it's too much trouble to send them to a hide processor.

    I have no qualms with eating or wearing any kind of animal product, but I find it interesting to know about.


    This.
     
  8. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Senior member

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  9. thunderthighs

    thunderthighs Well-Known Member

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    I hear shell cordovan (the US made stuff anyway, not sure about Japan) is harvested only from horses that have died of natural causes. Probably about as ethical as leather can get, if you're concerned about such things.
     
  10. grassfedcat

    grassfedcat Member

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    i don't eat meat but lots of people still do and leather winds up going to waste if it isn't used for clothes, accessories, upholstery etc. so i don't see why using leather products is such a big deal. on the other hand i try to avoid leather just because i want to show myself and others that non-leather products work just as well and we don't have to rely on animal products!
     
  11. Avocat

    Avocat Senior member

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    Inuit eat seal meat, the fur making for weather-proof coats and boots, with deer and buffalo long hunted for food, their hides likewise used for everything from teepees and drums, to clothing, etc. In South America, the indigineous peoples eat reptiles, with horses used for boots, etc. In the Philippines, they eat dog (not German Shepherds, so .... ), with kangaroo meat and hides being important to aboriginees of Australia.

    That we humans 'engineered' cows via domestic farming (i.e., they didn't exist before we created them via selective breeding, etc.) for human consumption, using the hides for boots/shoes and coats, etc. is not unethical. Indigenous cultures (aboriginals, native North Americans, etc.) have and continue to hunt for food, and wearing the skins since time immemorial, be it for clothing or adornment, thus using the whole animal. Provided the meat is eaten, it's not unethical.
     
  12. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    I haven't eaten meat for 25 years but have nine leather jackets/coats and several shoes all leather. Not quite sure where my ethics are, I think factory farming is a disgusting mess but I also think cows are one of the dumbest creatures on the planet who wouldn't last ten minutes without humans to protect them from wolves. They contribute to global warming with their methane farts and don't even have the sense to lift their tails, just shitting all over their back legs the dirty dirty bastards.

    I LOLed

    as did i

    i beg of you SF dont get all PC on me im having too much fun leave ethics for some other forum
     
  13. IronRock

    IronRock Senior member

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  14. ysc

    ysc Senior member

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    This is all conjecture on my part, but I would guess that all leather (excluding exotics like reptiles) is a byproduct of the meat industry. I've never heard of anyone cultivating cattle specifically for their leather.
    I don't have a reference for you, but I remember researching an essay on a linked topic a couple of years ago and found that some ' meat' animals are is raised specifically for their skin, the meat gets used for something - cheap burgers, pet food - but the meat is a by-product in this case. It is kind of irrelevant either way. We don't need to eat meat, we don't need to wear leather. Selling the hides for leather will be factored into a farmers economics, even if it is only a small fraction of the cost the farmer gets per animal by buying it you are 'contributing' to the death of an animal. I am ok with that. I am not aware of any standards for leather products relating to the quality of life of the animals used to make them, I would be interested in them though. The suffering many industrially farmed animals go through during their life kind of outweighs, in my mind anyway, their fairly quick deaths.
     
  15. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I don't have a reference for you, but I remember researching an essay on a linked topic a couple of years ago and found that some ' meat' animals are is raised specifically for their skin, the meat gets used for something - cheap burgers, pet food - but the meat is a by-product in this case.
    Does it specifically refer to cattle? I could see it for reptiles, possibly other animals.
    Selling the hides for leather will be factored into a farmers economics, even if it is only a small fraction of the cost the farmer gets per animal by buying it you are 'contributing' to the death of an animal.
    This is a very good point, though would not apply in cases where the skin is discarded, which I wildly conjecture, with no evidence at all, may be the case for non-factory-farmed cattle and pigs.
     

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