10-feet sand image to highlight harmful effects of leather industry

June 3rd, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Puri (Orissa), June 3 (IANS) A 10-feet sand sculpture of a shoe crushing a polar bear was created Tuesday on a beach here to highlight the harmful effects of the leather industry on the global environment. The giant sand image by artist Sudarsan Patnaik in Puri city, 56 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, is part of a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), for the World Environment Day June 5.

A signage on the image says “your carbon footprints have leather shoes”.

“Leather-production facilities destroy nearby waterways and delicate eco-systems in the water resources,” PETA Campaign Manager N.G. Jayasimha told IANS.

“The energy consumed and pollution produced by the leather industry makes it a leading factor in global warming, which is endangering polar bears and their habitat,” he said.

He said the endangered polar bear was selected as a symbol to highlight the fact that leather industry harms not just the water bodies but can also affect the global eco- system.

“Consumers can save polar bears and cows at the same time by giving leather products the boot,” he said. Every year, the global leather industry slaughters more than a billion animals to tan their skins and hides, he added.

Indian leather units produce 80,000-90,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. “Tanning of one kilogram of leather requires about 35-40 litres of water, all of which is polluted during various processes of converting skin into leather,” he claimed.

For decades now, this wastewater from tanneries and abattoirs has been discharged without any kind of treatment. Consequently, water bodies located near tanneries and abattoirs have been severely polluted, the organisation claims.

The chemicals from leather tanneries have rendered much farmland useless, it said.

Citing a report by the UN in 2006, PETA said raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. Besides meat, the animals are also raised for their skins to produce leather.

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