Sonakshi Sinha bats for PETA and vegan leather

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Sonakshi Sinha makes a case against ‘bloody’ leather. Photo: Universal Communications

Ahead of her forthcoming films Kakuda and Double XL, Sonakshi Sinha is the star of a new campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), India that encourages fans to ditch leather and wear vegan. Holding a bag dripping with “blood”, she calls attention to the more than 1.4 billion cows, dogs, cats, sheep, and goats and millions of other animals who are slaughtered for leather each year.

“Cows and buffaloes are intelligent, emotional animals who mourn the loss of separation from loved ones, so I choose vegan leather and other compassionate materials when I shop,” says the actress. “Through this campaign with PETA India, I hope to inspire more people to keep fashion fun, not grisly, by wearing vegan.”

Animals used for leather in India are often crammed into vehicles in such large numbers that many become severely injured or die en route. They are then dragged into slaughterhouses, where they are cut open in full view of one another on floors covered with feces, blood, guts, and urine.

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Leather production also wreaks havoc on the environment. The 2017 “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report concluded that bovine leather is the most polluting material in fashion. Turning animals’ skins into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons local waterways. Leather production is also harmful for those who live near and work in tanneries. In Bangladesh’s Hazaribagh area, 90 percent of leather tannery workers die before the age of 50.

Given animal welfare, environmental, and human health concerns, vegan fashion is the future. Last year, on World Fashion Day (August 21), 33 leading designers agreed to give leather the boot after being asked by PETA India and Lakmé Fashion Week to stop using the material to save animals and the environment.

Top designers who will not be using leather include Gaurav Gupta, Masaba Gupta, Monica and Karishma, Aneeth Arora, Ranna Gill, Shyamal & Bhumika, Sonaakshi Raaj, Siddartha Tytler, Rina Dhaka, Vikram Phadnis, Rocky Star, Atsu Sekhose, Dev R. Nil, and Akshat Bansal. Anita Dongre and Purvi Doshi have been leather-free for a while.

Luxurious synthetic and other types of vegan leather are widely available, including leather made from pineapple leaves, cork, fruit waste, recycled plastics, mushrooms, mulberry leaves, teak leaves, discarded temple flowers, coconut waste, tomato composite and more. Plant-based leathers are also good for Indian farmers, as the state of Meghalaya has shown by encouraging pineapple leather production.

Sonakshi has previously joined other stars in calling for the strengthening of animal protection laws, starred in a pro-adoption campaign for PETA India, and penned a letter on behalf of the group pushing for the transfer of an abused elephant near Jaipur.

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