How China’s Dog Meart Industry is Affecting You Without You Knowing It
Fine leather goods are a staple of any good closet. Not only are they stylish, but they are also amazingly durable. A well made leather jacket can actually be passed down for generations. Unless you are buying vegan leather, or leather like products that are made of plastics or other synthetics, you are probably working under the assumption that your leather belts, leather briefcases and leather backpacks are probably coming from one of certain animals. The most common leather products actually come from cow hides or pig skins. But, according to new consumer research, your new leather goods might actually be made from animals that might shock you. New reports are showing that many leather goods, especially those coming from China, may actually be made from the byproducts of a meat industry that is very particular to that region, cat and dog meat.
Curbing the Flow of Illegal Animal Leathers is a Difficult Task
In 2000 the United States passed humane laws that bar importing dog and cat related goods, such as skins and furs. These laws have fines that can reach up to about $10,000. Even though these laws have been on the books for years, there are still cat and dog leathers that are able to slip through for a very simple reason. While China?s attitudes towards cats and dogs are changing, due to an increase of pet ownership, putting more pressure on trade agreements to curb this cat and dog driven leather industry, it is still difficult to differentiate these leathers from the cow and pig leathers the western world is used to. This makes it easy for profit driven leather smugglers to sell their much less expensive cat and dog leathers off as fine leather goods in order to make a healthy profit. With China importing over 8.5 billion dollars in leather goods to the United States it is difficult to get a good estimate of how much of this industry is actually illegal leathers made from cats or dogs. What makes the issue more difficult is that animal legislation in China is not as defined as it is in the United States.
This is Not Just a Cultural Difference it is Also an Animal Welfare issue
It is important to note that while this has to do with different culture standards it also has to do with humane treatment and animal cruelty. In Peta investigations of the dog and cat meat industry, they found inhumane conditions and times where the animals were seemingly tortured before dying. These business practices shocked Americans and the Chinese alike. On average a dog processing plant will kill on average up to 200 dogs each day. Part of the kill process included dogs being cudgeled before being bleed out. In some reports dogs were skinned while still showing signs of life. Many believe that once the cat and dog meat industry stops much of the animal cruelty related to it will stop as well. Currently cat and dog meat is legal in China, which means that the byproducts can still be legally used.
Even though the cat and dog meat trade is legal the new pressure from the United States may help to put extra pressure on stopping the importation and productions. Many advocates believe that the more light that is shined on the industry more consumers may start being more interested in the sourcing for their leather. Congress has been trying to put more pressure on importers to assure that they leather they are using is only coming from non dog or cat sources. As a consumer, you can take more initiative in finding out about the leather goods you are buying. By buying fine leather goods that are guaranteed cow or pig from reputable sources you can do your part to stop the cycle of animal cruelty. For more ideas of how to insure that your fine leather goods are not the products of the illegal leather trade, you can do more research on the internet or by contacting PETA.