Target: Animal Welfare Board of India
Goal: Ensure that India’s leather industry actively adheres to animal welfare regulations
Despite the Hindu beliefs of sacredness which stop cows from being eaten in India, millions of cows are still slaughtered every year so that their hides can be used for the leather industry. 400,000 tons of hides three years ago marked India as one of the top five hide producers in the world. Because of this, India has created animal welfare laws which have been called “some of the best in the world” by the Animal Welfare Board of India. The issue, however, is that adherence to these laws is not something which cattle sellers concern themselves with.
Of the several dozen slaughterhouses which were inspected in different parts of India from 2006 through 2009, none of them met the legal requirements for proper treatment and slaughtering conditions. Even before reaching the slaughterhouses, the sellers who transport cattle consistently ignore the law and transport up to four times over the legal load, usually by night when it is harder to be caught by police and animal welfare groups. This results in what can be considered abuse, with cows stuffed into truck beds side-by-side, unable to move and often collapsing en route. Some cite overprotective laws as justification for illegal transportation, claiming that the legal amount is so low as to prevent them from making a legitimate profit.
Leather companies themselves are mostly unable to do anything about the issue, as India’s ranching and slaughtering practices are much smaller in size, yet huge in number, in an almost guerilla-type operation. This prevents the companies from effectively tracing illegally-produced hides. Even India’s Council for Leather Exports, which attempted a supposed reform project for improved conditions, has been abandoned by PETA, claiming that the project has served only as a window-dressing effort to give the “misleading appearance of progress, which was nowhere near enough to genuinely alleviate the suffering of any animals…” Action must be taken so that actual improvements can be made to India’s leather industry, with strict enforcement of transportation laws as a priority.
Dear Animal Welfare Board of India,
The current state of India’s leather industry as it concerns the animals involved in production is deplorable. Despite the fact that you have, in fact, created laws placing limits on the amount of cows that can be moved in single trucks at once, the transportation issue remains of particular concern. The frequency with which sellers illegally exceed the limit points to a glaring flaw in the industry regulations that must be corrected immediately. As things currently stand, cows used for one of India’s largest industries are being firmly abused.
Even as one of the top five producers of hide in the world, none of the slaughterhouses inspected in 2006-2009 met the legal conditions necessary. In holding such a position among the global leather industry, it is essential that India begin adequately enforcing the laws which are there for the proper handling of animals considered sacred by the country. Please make the enforcement of existing animal welfare laws your top priority.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Andy Carvin