In mid-December, PETA Asia released undercover footage of workers in China bludgeoning dogs with sticks and peeling off their skin in order to make gloves, belts and other accessories.
Media reports suggest that people around the world are outraged by the violence against the dogs, as they should be. But the dog skin trade is no more abusive than the cow skin trade.
During their treacherous lives on factory farms and in feedlots, cows are branded, castrated and dehorned with no painkillers. Shouldn’t we be equally outraged by these abuses? And, if so, then how can we justify buying cow leather?
Some people argue that dogs deserve a free pass because they’re companion animals. Even if that could be used as a justification, it’s inaccurate. In China, dogs are food. Their skin is another source of revenue, much like cow skin in Western countries.
Skin belongs to the animal who was born with it, not to people who want to make things out of it. Suggesting that one animal deserves to keep her skin more than another is arbitrary. With all of the non-animal alternatives available to us, we simply cannot justify stealing anyone’s skin.