Hoof to Hide by fjhuangjun


									                      Hoof to Hide
The Social and Environmental Impacts
       of Leather Production

                              Elmer Tosta
                   Race Poverty and the Environment
                   Professor Raquel R. Pinderhughes
                        Urban Studies Program
                     San Francisco State University
                              Spring 2003

Public has permission to use the material herein, but only if author, course, university, and
                                 professor are credited.
• This Presentation focuses on Leather.
• It is designed to take you through the
  cradle to grave lifecycle of leather, paying
  particular attention to the social,
  environmental, and public health impacts
  of the processes associated with its origins
  on the animal through its preparation for
  use by the consumer.

                     Leather                 2
• We start by looking at the factory farm
  processes, the slaughtering of the
  animals, the tanning of the skins. finally,
  their disposal when they are no longer
• Throughout this report comparisons will be
  drawn between developed and developing
  nations. These comparisons will help
  illustrate the social and environmental
  injustices imposed upon developing
  nations by the developed ones through
  consumptive demand for product.
                    Leather                 3
• The leather industry exists on many different
  levels throughout the world. In the United
  States, the industry is probably the highest
  quality in terms of working conditions and
  environmental concerns, but by no means ideal.
• The industry is not growing, consequently there
  is no expansion, no people being dislocated,
  only the shift of one type of production to
• The biggest market in the U.S. for leather is the
  auto industry

                        Leather                       4
                  The Problem
• The steps in producing and tanning animal skins
  starting in the corral and ending at the sales
  counter as finished goods is a long process that
  leaves its effects on individuals and communities
  world wide.
  – For some there is economic gain.
     • Wages to workers
     • Profits to owners and investors who are involved in livestock
       farming and the manufacture, distribution, and retail of
       leather products.
  – For others there is the disease that comes from
     • Directly working in the tanning process.
     • Using water and produce contaminated with by-products
       from factory feedlots, slaughterhouses, and tanneries.

                              Leather                                  5
           Scope of Report
• Feedlots, slaughterhouses, and tanneries
  in the U.S., Thailand, Viet Nam, India, and
  Bangladesh will be cited.
  – Big business is not an assurance of the
    practice of sound environmental justice
  – Small businesses in developing countries can
    be deadly to those who cling to their ways of
    making a living in the leather industry.
                      Leather                       6
                         Scope (Cont.)

• Companies have made public
  stands against the inhumane
  slaughter of animals, but are
  not so quick to take the same
  stand and boycott a facility for
  its work conditions or its
  disregard of the environment
  and the effects that these
  behaviors have on the workers
  and residents in the vicinity of
  the production site.

                            Leather      7
How did leather come into being?
• When leather was a protective skin, used
  to keep people warm or protect them from
  the elements, it was used in balance with
  the environment and the processes used
  in tanning weren’t lethal. The skins came
  from a local producer. The concept was
  smaller, and from the impression given by
  the research, kinder and gentler to the
  animals as well as humans. The quantity
  of leather produced was much lower, and
  probably the population owned fewer, if
  any, leather garments or sat on leather
  upholstered seats.
                   Leather                8
• Only after the market responded to the
  vanity of consumers did the development
  of different processes affect the health and
  well being of industry workers and
  residents near feedlots and tanneries.
  The Sierra Club Rap Sheet points out that
  in the current market, (referring to beef for
  food), because of demand, there would
  never be a kinder gentler way and that the
  agricultural factories were here to stay.
                     Leather                  9
• The Sierra Club Rap Sheet reads like a
  “who’s who” of environmental violators in
  the slaughterhouse and meat packing
  industries within the United States.
  Locations ranging from the Midwest,
  (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska), to the South,
  (Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas), are home
  to slaughterhouses that have been found
  to be guilty of contaminating their natural
                     Leather                    10
• Tanneries around the
  world, as cited by
  various sources in
  this report, will be
  shown as examples
  of workplaces that
  contaminate to their
  environments as well
  as expose their
  workers to hazardous
                     Leather   11
 In some parts of the world, people
 are dying to get into the business.
• An anonymous article in the African News
  describes a situation where the population of
  Namibia is asking their government to allow the
  slaughtering of cattle, which the government is
  cautious about because of the lack of facilities.
  Namibia is looking to expand its capacity to
  slaughter its own cattle in order to avoid
  exporting “on the hoof.” The problem is that they
  don’t have sufficient slaughterhouses and
  tanneries to process their livestock.
                       Leather                   12
• The government of Namibia is concerned
  that lack of appropriate facilities will lead to
  conditions similar to those in Bangladesh
  and India, (described elsewhere in this
  report), where health and environmental
  hazards have gotten out of control by
  spreading pollution and disease. The
  government should receive accolades for
  not jumping at an economic incentive that
  jeopardizes the health of its citizens and
  their future generations.

                       Leather                  13
 Even more people dying to get in.
• The communities of Tangra and Tiljala in India
  were protesting in 2002 the proposed closing of
  their tanneries to benefit a larger production
  facility that would put them out of work (Niyogi, Novemer
  23, 2002). This situation mimics the post civil was
  Slaughterhouse Cases where the authorities
  removed economic opportunity from the
  disenfranchised for the benefit of the more
  powerful business owner. Again, this points to a
  situation where people are fighting for an
  opportunity to work in a lethal industry.
                           Leather                       14
 Thank the “Untouchables” for the
          cheap labor.
• The lowest members of the caste system, known
  as the “untouchables,” make up the workforce of
  the Indian leather industry.
• The caste system does not allow them to work
  their way up or out of the oppressed and
  disenfranchised conditions they’re born into.
• Their low status condemns them to lifelong
  exposure to numerous toxins and unsafe work
  conditions which are detrimental to their health
  and the health of subsequent generations
  (Srivastava, August 23, 2001).

                       Leather                  15
       Women in the workforce
• 60% of the 2.5 million workers who make
  up the Indian leather industry labor force
  are women. Many of themn are the single
  wage earner in the family(Srivstava, August 23, 2001).

                          Leather                      16
                        Animals First
• Ironically, the plight of
  these workers was
  brought to the attention
  of the general public
  through the efforts of
  People for the Ethical
  Treatment of Animals
  (PETA), who organized
  a boycott by large
  domestic and foreign
  manufacturers who use
  Indian leather in their
  products. The focus of
  the boycott was the cruel
  treatment of the animals
  (Srivastava, august 23, 2001).

                                   Leather   17
• Developed nations were
  more readily moved into
  action by the pleas of
  animal rights activists
  than by the needs of
  those who produce their
  luxury goods.
• The emotional appeal of
  leather industry workers
  suffering doesn’t always
  tug at the heartstrings of

                               Leather   18
• Demand for leather goods
  forces unfair labor practices.
  The tannery that produces
  the best product in
  Hazaribagh, Bangladesh is
  the one staffed by children
  (Skeem, October 3, 2002).
• The implications of workers’
  lifelong exposure to the
  tanning process in a country
  with no safety standards
  would be unthinkable to most
  consumers in developed
  counties. The problem is
  most consumers aren’t aware
  of these conditions.
                              Leather   19
        A Tale of Two Slums
• One slum, in Seoul, has developed on the
  site of a former slaughterhouse, pointing
  out the the types of conditions in which the
  poor in developing nations are forced to

                     Leather                 20
• The other slum in Bangkok is inhabited by
  Christians who slaughter pigs (which is not
  allowed by the Buddhist population).
  There is a market for these animals and
  their skins, and consequently, the poorest
  segment of the economy is forced to
  slaughter animals in an inappropriate
  facitlity (probably their living quarters) in
  order to survive.
                     Leather                  21
• These two situations
  describe the
  degrading living
  conditions of people
  who have no means
  or network of support
  to rise above their
  conditions (Swift, R. January,

                                   Leather   22
   What happens to workers in a
  developing country when a large
       manufacturer leaves?
• Once an industry pulls out, there is not much
  employment hope for those left behind,
  particularly if they’ve suffered an occupational
  injury. In 2002, Reebok pulled out of Viet Nam.
  An article in Footwear News, (Oct. 14, 2002)
  expressed concern for workers in a country with
  a lack of ability to develop safe standards for its
  workers (Ellis, Oct 14,2002).
                         Leather                    23
• The author cites high incidents of
  “musculoskeletal and neurobehavioral
  disorders in a large percentage (not
  specified) of the workers due to repetitive
  movement and exposure to chemical
  solvents” (Ellis, Oct 14,2002). China and Viet Nam
  are cited as high risk countries with regard
  to worker welfare. Do these workers end
  up in other high risk industries when an
  American manufacturer pulls out?
                        Leather                    24
• In some cases (such as this one involving
  Reebok), American manufacturers make up a
  majority of the production demands of some of
  these developing nations, thereby jeopardizing
  the livelihoods and the health of a large segment
  of the population.
• Ellis points out that when a country goes from a
  dictatorship to a democracy; the American
  companies usually pull out, leaving behind a
  physically injured and unemployed workforce for
  which the company shares no liability.
• Viet Nam is cited as a country targeted by the
  World Bank to develop and improve its footwear
  industry (Ellis, Oct 14,2002).

                       Leather                    25
 What happens when the workers
• The Handbook of Texas gives a history of
  the leather industry in the state and points
  to its decline due to reduced demand for
  Western apparel and the mechanization of
  the industry. Two centers, Gainsville and
  Yoakum, had the larges thriving leather
  tanning and manufacturing businesses in
  the state during the 1960’s

                     Leather                 26
            Where’d they go?
• The effects these businesses had on their
  workers and the community at large should be
  evident, however the migration of a workforce
  that occurs when an industry experiences a
  downturn makes it difficult to trace the well being
  of these people with regard to their economic
  status and health conditions. There’s a high
  probability based upon the locations o these
  facilities that the majority of the workforce was
                        Leather                     27
• Because of the low labor costs in places
  like China, the Philippines, and India, the
  leather demand remains high due to the
  reduced price of tanning the skins.
• India is cited as one of the greatest
  violators of workers rights and the
  environment within the leather industry
  (Srivastava, August 23, 2001).

                                   Leather      28
What are the effects on the
 local ecosystems where
 production takes place?
• When we use a leather product we
  probably don’t feel any injustice or
  immediate and direct environmental effect
  from product use. The effects,
  unfortunately are far more reaching than
  most of us realize.
• American manufacturers are the largest
  consumers of leather, and more
  specifically, leather from India (Vartan, Sept/Oct
  2002) Note: recent boycotts of Indian leather by American
  Manufacturers might have changed this situation.

                               Leather                        30
           Factory Farms

– U.S. beef, chicken, and pig industries produce
  291,000,000,000 lbs of manure annually.
– This waste is normally held in open lagoons.
– In some cases, it is diluted and sprayed onto
  farm land.

                    Leather                    31
              Water Pollution
– Animal waste is one of the largest uncontrolled
  sources of water pollution in the U.S. (Swift, M. November 25,

– The seepage from the lagoons as well as run-off from
  the sprayed land ends up in drinking water.
   • Sierra Club reports growth hormones, antibiotics, ammonia,
     pathogens, and pesticides enter the water supply via animal
   • The cattle industry consumed 20 million pounds of chemicals
     at a value of 4.2 billion dollars in the year 2000.
– Contamination of crops from spraying lagoon water
  waste as fertilizer.

                           Leather                            32
• Our resources in the U.S. are not immune to
  careless accidents by private industry.
• One example from many is Cargill Pork, Inc. The
  company was cited for contaminating the water
  in the Loutre River in Missouri with animal waste
  products. (Becker, E. August 13, 2002)
  – Becker does explain that Cargill cooperated with
    inspectors, cleaned up the affected waterway, and
    shut down the offending operation. These measures
    help reduce the possibility of future accidents, but
    unfortunately do not help those exposed to the waste
    from the first contamination.
                         Leather                       33
                  Factory Farms (Cont.)

– Other environmental degradations from
  factory farming include “trees cleared to
  create pastureland, vast quantities of
  water are used, and feedlot and dairy
  farm runoff create a major source of
  water polution” (peta.org) .
– “Huge amounts of fossil fuels are
  consumed in livestock
    • “By Contrast, plastic wearables
      account for only a fraction of 1
      percent of the petroleum used in the
      U.S” (peta.org)

                             Leather          34
   • High quantities of water
     required. (peta.org)
– Air pollution
   • Hydrogen sulfide
     produced from hog
     farms (Sierra Club Rap

                            Leather   35
• The slaughtering of animals has
  traditionally been regarded at the low end
  of the socio-economic scale. This was
  reinforced in America in the late 19th
  century with the Slaughterhouse Cases.
  The Institute for Justice web site is one of
  many resources containing articles
  describing these legal decisions.

                     Leather                     36
• “…Several parishes (counties) in eastern
  Louisiana wanted to move all meat and
  butchering slaughter house activities to a
  location outside the city limits. In so doing, the
  local government provided the Crescent City
  Live-stock Landing & Slaughter-house Company
  a 25 year monopoly to monitor and oversee all
  slaughter house operations. This monopoly
  effectively put all butchers in the area out of
  work, thus depriving these people of the right to
  work” (Institute for Justice. 1998, May).

                        Leather                    37
• The decisions on these cases
  undid the work of the 14th
  amendment. I chose this
  reference because it reinforces
  the negative economic effects
  on a particular segment of the
  society whose first employment
  and business opportunity was
  in a dirty industry. That
  segment was the newly freed
  slaves trying to get into the
  butchering industry in New
  Orleans. These cases lay the
  groundwork of racial injustice
  within the leather industry.
                        Leather     38
Leather Manufactuing/Tanning

– High energy consumption
   • “On the basis of quantity
     of energy consumed per
     unit of product produced,
     the leather-manufacturing
     industry would be
     categorized with the
     aluminum, paper, steel,
     cement, and petroleum-
     manufacturing industries
     as a gross consumer of
     energy” (Kirk-Othmer
     Encyclopedia of Chemical

                             Leather   39
• The tanning process is the part of the sequence
  that exposes workers to contaminants and in
  developing countries is a lethal trade. Tanning
  was originally fairly harmless until the turn of the
  century when demand for leather went up and
  mineral saltd, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives,
  and cyanide based oils and dyes were
  introduced to speed up the process and allow for
  varied finish treatments to meet an expanding
                         Leather                    40
• The pre-1900 tanning process involved air
  or salt drying of the animal skin, which was
  then tanned with vegetable tannins or oils.

                     Leather                41
          Tanning Methods
• Too help acquaint you with the process,
  two methods are described, taken directly
  from their web sites. The first, an
  environmentally friendly but very archaic
  method. The second, a process used to
  produce first quality leather for high end

                    Leather                    42
    Environmentally Friendly Tanning
•   The Lewis and Clark Expedition spent a lot of time preparing animal skins --
    turning hides into leather for making shirts, trousers, and moccasins.

•   The first priority is to remove the animal skin as soon as possible after it's
    been killed. Then once the skin is off the flesh and hair have to be removed.
    The best way to do that is to stretch the hide.

•   A sharp scraping tool is used to get the skin as thin as possible. This way
    the hide will tan better and be more supple. Scraping usually takes the most
    time in tanning and you have to be careful not to cut through the hide. When
    the skin turns white or light brown, the scraping is done.

•   And now we have a raw hide -- which has uses all of its own, like making
    knife sheaves or containers called parfleches. But to make clothing, you
    need to continue tanning.

•   Take the hide off the frame and soak it in water -- one to seven days,
    depending upon how large the hide is. This turns the rawhide back into skin
    and makes it more receptive to the tanning solution. Now comes tanning,
    which refers to making the skin permanently soft. http://www.nps.gov/focl/tanning.htm

                                         Leather                                       43
•   Many of the explorers already knew how to tan using tannic acid from the hardwood
    trees of the east. Since there were no hardwood trees on the Plains, the explorers
    probably learned brain tanning from the Mandan Indians.
•   This means to take the animal's brains; smash it up and boil it in water to make a
    paste. After boiling, allow the mushy solution to cool long enough to smear onto the
    hide. Fold or roll the hide in the brain solution and let it sit overnight to soak. The rule
    of thumb is that each animal has enough brains to tan its own hide. By the next day,
    the brains should be completely soaked into the skin.

•   Now comes the most laborious part -- stretching the hide until it becomes completely
    dry. This must be done by hand. If you stop before it is absolutely dry it will stiffen up
    and then it will have to be retanned all over again.
•   Finally, the hide is smoked over a very smoky but not hot fire. This is an all day job
    and it is done until the entire skin has a nice, brownish color. The smoking
    permanently preserves the skin so that it can get wet and not stiffen up.
•   And now you have a completely brain-tanned elk hide -- ready to be made into


                                            Leather                                               44
Tanning process from a developed
       country (Germany)
• 1. Warehousing and sorting
  In the raw material area the
  skins are preserved in salt,
  stored in controlled cool rooms
  and before processing,
  presorted for quality and
• 2. Soaking
  The skin is soaked to remove
  dirt and salt.
• 3. De-Fleshing
  During this process tissue,
  flesh and fat remnants are
  removed by a roller mounted

                                Leather                                                    45
•    4. Liming
    By adding lime and sulphur
    compound the hair is removed
    from the skin.
• 5. Bating, pickling, tanning
  During bating and pickling the
  skins are treated with acid and
  salt in preparation for tanning.
  During tanning the skin fibres
  absorb the tanning agents.
  That's when the skin becomes

• 6. Samming
  During this process water is

                                 Leather                                                      46
•   7. Splitting
    In order to achieve an even
    specified thickness the leather is
    reduced in substance. The
    resulting split-leather can than be
    processed further as suede.

•   8. Skiving
    The grain leather is brought to an
    even thickness. Irregularities are
    removed from the reverse side
    and the leather is separated into

•   9. Sorting
    The leather is sorted into various
    quality grades.

                                          Leather                                                 47
•   10. Neutralising, filling out, dyeing
    and greasing
    The acid resulting from the tanning
    process is neutralized. Dyeing than
    takes place, where appropriate with
    anilin-dye-stuffs. The greasing
    procedure will finally achieve the
    correct softness.
•   11. Drying
    Two methods are used to dry leather.
    The vacuum process during which
    moisture is removed by suction and
    the hanging process, when leather is
    hung and taken through ovens.
•   12. Staking
    Following drying the leather is
    mechanically staked in order to soften
    it. Further processes take place in
    preparation for finishing.


                                            Leather                                                   48
• 13. Finishing
  Here the leather is given its
  final surface treatment and
  look. Through processes of
  base coat, colouring,
  embossing, ironing the leather
  becomes, depending on the
  demands of fashion, matt or
  shiny, two-tone or uni-coloured,
  smooth or grained. The art of
  finishing lies in working in
  wafer-thin layers without
  disturbing the natural look of
  the leather and its
  characteristics such as
  suppleness and breathability.


                                   Leather                                               49
        Tanning in Bangladesh
• The following quote describes the waste
  problems associated with tanning in a
  developing country. “
  – “The setting for the Nur Bhai tannery is a wasteland
    where some 7.70 million liters of untreated liquid
    waste and 88 metric tons of untreated solid waste are
    dumped each day. The problems are obvious from
    the heaps of leather cuttings, fat, flesh and hair, from
    the nauseating stench of blood, rotting flesh, and
    chemicals, and from the acid corrosion on the nearby
    tin roofs.” http://www.asiafoundation.org/ngobpweb/cg_cases.htm
                              Leather                             50
           Where the waste goes.

• Most tanneries simply dump decaying flesh
  waste – 170 kg a day at Nur Bhai – outside to
  rot. The water, some 40 to 50 liters for each kilo
  of hide, is poured down a drain or onto the
  ground. The effluent carries putrid rotting flesh,
  blood and skin, as well as toxic chemicals – salt,
  alkali, sulfuric acid, bleach, dyes, and formic acid
  – straight into the ground, or through pipes to a
  low area to the west, where they seep into the
  soil of the surrounding

                                         Leather        51
                Health Problems
• There are many problems associated with
  feedlot wastes and the affects on those
  who come in contact with their pollution.
• Researchers are trying to link the growth
  hormones used in animals with an
  increase in breast cancer in wormen (Swift, M.
  November 25, 2002).

                        Leather                52
• You don’t have to work in
  the industry or live close
  to a factory farm to be
  affected by the
• In Milwaukee in 1993,
  contamination of the
  drinking water was linked
  to 100 deaths and
  400,000 illnesses. One
  of the contaminants in the
  water supply was
  identified as cow manure
  which seeped in from a
  waste lagoon (Sierra Club Rap

                              Leather   53
• Another example is the case of the day
  care operator in Minnesota, 1995, who
  was asked to remove the children from her
  facility because they were suffering from
  nausea, diarrhea, headaches, and other
  symptoms of hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
• The cause was the hydrogen sulfide in the
  air that was generated by the hog farm,
  about a mile upwind from the day care
  center (Sierra Club Rap Sheet).
                   Leather                54
  Slaughterhouse work: bad for the
         body and the mind
• Slaughterhouse, by Gail
  A. Eisnitz is an expose of
  the livestock slaughtering
  industry and deals mainly
  with the inhumane
  treatment animals.
  Several passages deal
  with the workers’
  conditions, illnesses, and
  health affecting pollutants
  from the industry. (goveg.com)

                               Leather   55
   Emotional Effects on Workers
• There was no mention of race
  or gender: however the
  following quote helps illustrate
  the plight suffered by those in
  the slaughtering trade. The
  passage relates the violence of
  the work place to the potential
  for violence in the home:
• “Working in a slaughterhouse
  will dull one’s sense of
  compassion toward both
  animals and people, including
  loved ones” (Eisnitz, 76).

                                Leather   56
         A Dangerous Industry
• “…With nearly thirty-six
  injuries or illnesses for
  every one hundred
  workers, meat packing is
  the most dangerous
  industry in the United
  States. In fact, a worker’s
  chances of suffering an
  injury or an illness in a
  meat plant are six times
  greater than if that same
  person worked in a coal
  mind” (Eisnitz, 271).
                            Leather   57
Health Hazards in the Tanneries
• One of the worst examples of social and
  environmental injustice within the tanning
  industry occurs in Bangladesh. The
  reference article is quoted directly:

                     Leather                   58
•    Working conditions in tanneries are also said to expose workers to
    health hazards. A survey of 15,000 tannery workers by the non-
    governmental Society for Environment and Human Development in
    November 1999 found that more than half of them suffer from
    ulcers, nearly a third pick up skin diseases, more than a tenth suffer
    from rheumatic fever and nearly a fifth have jaundice. Other health
    complaints of leather factory workers include dizziness, headaches,
    weakness, abdominal pain and eye problems.
    According to Mohammad Hasan Ali, assistant director of Health in
    the Health Ministry, liquid waste and leather dust are the main cause
    of diseases found among tanners who work without proper footwear,
    gloves and masks. ''I don't like working in a leather factory, but I
    have to do this to support my large family,'' says 38-year-old
    Shahab, an employee at a tannery for the past decade.
    The health risks are even more serious for child laborers who make
    up a large number of the industry's workforces, despite a legal ban
    on factories hiring children below the age of 14. A United Nations
    Children's Fund report said that more than a fifth of workers of the
    nation's tanning industry are below 15 years old (Islam, 2000).

                                   Leather                               59
         U.S. Health Hazards
• Even in the U.S., people who work in or live near
  tanneries are dying from cancer caused by
  exposure to toxic chemicals used to process and
  dye the leather. The Centers for disease Control
  and Prevention found that the incidence of
  leukemia among residents near one tannery in
  Kentucky was five times the U.S. average.
• According to a New York State Department of
  Health study, more than half of all testicular
  cancer victims work in tanneries
                       Leather                   60
       The choices we make
• Wearing a leather jacket, owning and
  using leather furniture, or riding in a auto
  with leather upholstery might not
  immediately affect our health and well
  being, however, collectively our choices
  have serious implications on the people
  who live near or work in the feedlots and

                      Leather                    61
    How Consumers Learn About
• The public learns
  about all the desirable
  qualities of this
  product , but none of
  the consequences of
  its use.
  Marketing creates a
  demand for a product
  that is capable of
  generating a profit.
                        Leather   62
– Leather upholstery in an auto is
  one of several features that
  allows the manufacturer to
  upgrade the description of an
  automobile to luxurious.
– A demand is created that
  seduces consumers into debt
  for leather products which
  generally cost much more than
  their fabric equivalents.
– Leather is much more
  appropriate as footwear and
  other types of protective
  clothing than it is as shirts,
  pants, or dresses, where its
  direct contact with the skin
  causes the finish to wear
  prematurely and force the need
  for commercial cleaning which
  is almost as lethal as the
  tanning process.
                             Leather   63
• The remedies of the social and
  environmental injustices are as varied and
  in some cases as obscure as the victims.
• In the United States, governing agencies
  supposedly regulate and watch over the
  processes involved. The USDA watches
  over slaughter houses.

                    Leather                64
                 Fox in the henhouse
• Two resources pointed to a disturbing fact.
• All the top administrators in the agencies
  relevant to meat packing and slaughtering from
  the Reagan era forward are from the private
  sector of the livestock industry (Sierra Club Rap Sheet)
  (Becker, E. August 13, 2002).
• A farm bill is being considered that would
  provide assistance to factory farms for the clean-
  up of their animal wastewater(Becker, E, August 13, 2002).
  It looks like the factory farm industry is
  encouraging a business partnership with us
  taxpayers. They sell the goods, we pay for the

                                  Leather                    65
     Greening of the process
• Most tanners in the U.S. claim that their
  processes are “biodegradable.” The
  PETA organization refers to the EPA’s
  determination that all wastes containing
  chromium (which accounts for 95% of the
  leather tanned in the United States) are
  classified as hazardous wastes. The
  process of tanning leather stabilizes the
  proteins and stops the biodegradable
                    Leather                   66
• The Asia foundation is working with the
  governments of Asian countries in an
  effort to improve the conditions of the
  industry with regard to the workers and the
  environment. Their efforts is much more
  diplomatic in nature than the efforts of
  PETA, however PETA, through its “soap
  boxing” seems to be more effective by
  aiming right for the pocket books of the
                     Leather                67
• The Asia Foundation claims success,
  although in small increments, with the
  tanneries in Bangladesh. Simple changes
  were made (not specified) that allowed the
  workers to perform their jobs more safely,
  to reduce pollution, and allow the
  businessmen to make a better product at a
  better profit. The Foundation claims that “

                    Leather                68
• The Asia Foundation claims that::
  – “To the casual observer, there is little change. The
    wastes are still heaped up around most tanneries, the
    air is still putrid, and the nearby rooftops damaged
    from acid corrosion. Most workers still cut hide,
    handle chemicals, and breath toxic fumes with bare
    hands, bare feet and unmasked faces.”

  – “But at Nur Bhai, there is visible improvement. Less
    water and fewer chemicals are used, and the effluent
    is recycled, rather than dumped. Solid wastes are
    buried, or recycled for use as compost or
    manufactured products. Workers wear protective
    clothing and, due to safety training, take care during
    their duties at the sharp-bladed knives and chemical
    vats” http://www.asiafoundation.org/ngobpweb/cg_cases.htm.

                                      Leather                69
• The foundation admits that broader
  reforms will take time, but these are the
  first steps in a long journey.

                     Leather                  70
• The first step in helping correct the
  situation is for all of us to become aware
  that human and environmental
  degradation take place in the production of
  this product.
• We need to encourage tighter controls on
  the pollution standards at all levels of
  production from the feedlots to the
  tanneries. These controls should be
  financed by the businesses, not the tax
                    Leather                 71
The End
•   Coggon, David. (1999, May). Occupational Cancer in the United
    Kingdom. Environmental Health Perspectives Supplements. Vol
    107 Issue 2. 239-245.
•   Ellis, Kristi (2002, October 14). Business and Industry. FN.
    58(40) 1.
•   Hoffenberg, Noah. (2002) EPA lays down groundwork for tannery
    cleanup. The Bennington Banner. (check date and Information
    Data Base Number))
•   Institute for Justice. (1998, May). Assault on slaughter-house
    intensifies. Liberty and Law. [Online]. 7(2). (paragraph count)
    Available: FTP: Hostname: ij.org Directory:
•   Skeem, Maiken. (2002, October 3). Children of the Tanneries. Star
    Weekend Magazine. 1(77).
•   Srivastava, Sanjeev. (23001, August 23). PETA ‘skins’ Indian leather
    workers. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/15064m.
•   Swift, Richard. (1995, January)(. Pig village and the slaughter house.
    New Internationalist. 263.

                                  Leather                               73
                               References (Cont.)

•   The Asia Foundation. (No date). Bangladesh: mitigating environmental
    pollution in the tannery industry.
    http://www.asiafoundation.org/ugobpweb/cg cases.
•   The General Libraries at the University of Texas at Austin. (No date). The
    Handbook of Texas Online.
•   U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (No date). Division of Occupational
    Employment Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/oes/2001/oesi3 317.htm.
•   U.S. Census Bureau. (No date).
•   Vartan, Starre. (2002, September/October). E Magazine: the
    Environmental Magazine. Volume 13 issue 56. 53-55.
•   Swift, M. (2002, November 28). The Great Change: Growing worry:
    Feedlots and Pollution. The Hartford Courant. P.A7.
•   Living Green Magazine. (2002, November 7). Raising beef takes toll on
    land, world hunger. P.103.
•   Becker, E. (2002, August 13). Feedlot Perils Outpace Regulation, Sierra
    Club Says. The New York Times. Section A: p.10.
•   The Namibian. (2002, August 16). Namibia: NAu says caution neede on
    local slaughter plans. Africa News.
•   http://peta.org
•   Cowsarecool.com/enviro.html

                                    Leather                                 74
                              References (cont)

•   http://www.goveg.com/lhaus.html
•   http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/
•   Islam, Tabibul. (2000, June 23). Hell for leather. Asia Times.

                                    Leather                          75

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