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The 42nd IVU World Vegfest earlier scheduled to hold in Africa will now take place in Dubai & India.This became necessary because of the outbreak of the Ebola disease in W/Africa. Click here to have more information and register.


We will provide details on the 43rd IVU World Vegfest  - which will still take place in Africa but now in 2015.  We want to take this opportunity to thank the organisers in Ghana & Togo for all their efforts to ensure that Africa will still host their 1st ever IVU World Vegfest next year.
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Clothing & Footwear

on . Posted in FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- see the menu on the right for more topics
    What's wrong with wool?
    What's wrong with silk?
    What's wrong with down?
    Why not leather?
    Wouldn't it be better to recycle leather, rather than waste it?
    Which companies make non-leather products?
What's wrong with wool?
Scientists over the years have bred a Merino sheep which is exaggeratedly wrinkled. The more wrinkles, the more wool. Unfortunately, greater profits are rarely in the sheep's best interests. In Australia, more wrinkles mean more perspiration and greater susceptibility to fly-strike, a ghastly condition resulting from maggot infestation in the sweaty folds of the sheep's over-wrinkled skin. To counteract this, farmers now perform an 'operation' without anaesthetic call 'mulesing' in which sections of flesh around the anus are sliced away, leaving a painful bloody wound.

Without human interference, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect them from the weather, but scientific breeding techniques have ensured that these animals have become wool-producing monstrosities.

Their unnatural overload of wool (often half their body weight) brings added misery during summer months when they often die from heat exhaustion. One million sheep die in Australia alone each year from exposure to cold after shearing.

Every year, in Australia alone, about ten million lambs die before they are more than a few days old. This is due largely to unmanageable numbers of sheep and inadequate stockmen.

Of UK wool, 27% is "skin wool," pulled from the skins of slaughtered sheep and lambs.

What's wrong with silk?
It is the practice to boil the cocoons that still contain the living moth larvae in order to obtain the silk. This produces longer silk threads than if the moth was allowed to emerge. The silkworm can certainly feel pain and will recoil and writhe when injured.

What's wrong with down?
The process of live-plucking is wide spread. The terrified birds are lifted by their necks, with their legs tied, and then have all their body feathers ripped out. The struggling geese sustain injuries and after their ordeal are thrown back to join their fellow victims until their turn comes round again. This torture, which has been described as "extremely cruel" by veterinary surgeons and even geese breeders, begins when the geese are only eight weeks old. It is then repeated at eight week intervals for two or three more sessions. The birds are then slaughtered.

The main countries using this cruel process are China, Poland and Hungary, where some 60 per cent of down produced is live-plucked. The down market in the UK alone is worth around 2.6 million pounds per year. The "lucky" birds are plucked dead, i.e. they are killed first and then plucked.

Why not leather?
Many leather goods are made from the byproducts of the slaughterhouse, so while you may not be contributing to the destruction of animals, you will be contributing to the profits of these establishments. Some leather is purpose made, i.e. the animal is grown and slaughtered purely for its skin.

The Nov/Dec 1991 issue of the Vegetarian Journal has this to say about leather: "Environmentally turning animal hides into leather is an energy intensive and polluting practice". The Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology states: "On the basis of quantity of energy consumed per unit of product produced, the leather-manufacturing industry would be categorized with the aluminum, paper, steel, cement, and petroleum- manufacturing industries as a gross consumer of energy." Production of leather basically involves soaking (beamhouse), tanning, dyeing, drying, and finishing. Over 95% of all leather produced in the U.S. is chrome tanned.

The effluent that must be treated is primarily related to the beamhouse and tanning operations. The most difficult to treat is effluent from the tanning process. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many other pollutants involved in the processing of leather are associated with environmental and health risks. In terms of disposal, one would think that leather products would be biodegradable, but the primary function for a tanning agent is to stabilize the collagen or protein fibers so that they are no longer biodegradable."

Wouldn't it be better to recycle leather, rather than waste it?
from a reader in the USA:
That's not the point. By refusing to buy leather, we send a message to the killers of animals..... leather is a byproduct of the meat industry...if we don't eat animals for ethical reasons, we certainly shouldn't wear them.

Which companies make non-leather products?