* People have always used leather
People have certainly been using leather for at least
600,000 years but we've been having wars and murdering each other just
as long. The antiquity of a practice is neither a guarantee of its
morality nor a justification for it.
* Leather is environmentally friendly
Leather is far from environmentally friendly; its
production involves the use of lead, zinc, formaldehyde and cyanide
based products. On the other hand, the synthetic alternatives can be
just as bad. Environmentally speaking there is little to choose between
them. The big difference is that the leather is a product of the
suffering and death of millions upon millions or animals.
The ethical choice is clear. but at the same time, every
effort must be made to protect the environment. It seems that the best
choice, whenever possible, is canvas.
* There is no substitute for leather
When people say there is no substitute for leather they
are usually referring to their footwear. But there are many
alternatives. Canvas, for example, is a natural and hard-wearing
material that will see you through most (if not all) of the year.
Then there are plastics (even leather shoes usually have
plastic soles) and rubber. More recently, advances have been made with
waterproof and breathable synthetics like Goretex and there are now
companies specializing in using materials that have the appearance and
qualities of real leather.
Canvas shoes are widely available but some of the newer
products are not. Their availability will only increase with demand, so
seek them out.
* What if I made use of an animal that was already dead?
It is not the eating of meat that is wrong but the
killing of animals unnecessarily. As meat eating is unnecessary and
generally requires the killing of an animal, it usually follows that
meat eating is wrong.
If, however, you managed to obtain some meat without
killing an animal (or by paying someone else to kill it for you) -- for
example, by stumbling across an animal that was already dead -- then
there is no moral objection to your eating it. Recent archeological
evidence suggests that early humans were much more inclined toward
scavenging than hunting.
* The animal was killed for food not leather
The animal was killed for profit and every last part of
it was sold to achieve that profit. It makes no difference which
particular parts you buy, the money all goes the same way (the skin
represents about 10% of the animals 'value').
Go on to Traveling
With Kitty - by Plane
Return to 30 April 2000 Issue
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