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In Photos: The Leather Industry with Christian Faesecke

July 2022

Christianís photo report sheds light on the circumstances surrounding the global production and sale of leather, and shows the working conditions of people who are generally not seen by the end consumer.

waterboarded Cow
One of the cattle who has collapsed from exhaustion despite being kicked and beaten, lies in the dirt at the cattle market in Bagachra. The owners have covered the animalís muzzle with a cloth and are slowly pouring water over it. This technique, also known as water-boarding, is used to induce a fear of drowning and force the animal to get up. Bangladesh, 2015. Christian Faesecke / We Animals Media

Where does leather come from? The label may offer a countryís name, but whatís the story behind that single label?

Answering where leather comes from is a complex, international story across a 4,000 km border. Itís not a byproduct of meat production, but an industry unto itself. We Animals Media contributor Christian Faesecke documents how cows Ė who are considered holy Ė are trafficked from India to Bangladesh where they are killed for leather.

Due to strict prohibitions against killing cattle in India, a black market cattle trade between India and Bangladesh has emerged. Indian cattle used for leather are transported from the Ganges River via regional Indian cattle markets to the border.

In the livestock markets of Bangladesh, these animals are re-certified and declared Bangladeshi cattle. In cramped conditions, the animals are then transported to the slaughterhouses of Dhaka, where an industrial process starts, creating river pollution, sick workers, and cheap leather for world markets.



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