So, why do I think that animal skins aren’t such a problem as far as animal welfare is concerned?
Often I think that people who complain about using animals and their suffering for the products seem to not understand the cycle of life. Every animal, humans included live on the death on others. It’s the way the world works. In the wild animals don’t die quickly and painlessly, both predators and prey mostly die slowly and in agony. I wish I had the means to stop animal suffering in the wild, but I don’t. But, small farms and farmers can control the death of animals and make it as quick and painless as possible.
The horror stories and pictures many animal rights groups put out are rare and nearly all from countries overseas that don’t have the strict animal welfare rules that we do in Australia. Sure, some farmers don’t do the right thing but the smaller ones usually do. As long as we fight against the lobbyists from big corporate farmers, like the farmers federation, who spend their time trying to stop animal welfare rules we can make the world better for animals. We have to fight to support small farmers to stop big corporate farms, that only care about the money, and not animals, from gobbling up small farms.
What is suffering in my mind? For me, suffering is pain and stress. Farmers, especially smaller farmers, always try to limit pain and stress in their animals, and that is why I always source the skins that I use from small farmers and abattoirs, whether in Australia or overseas, and never from intensive farms. The only exception is with rabbit skins. I am trying to find a more humane source for rabbit skins but all meat rabbits are farmed intensively so I might have to stop offering those entirely.
On farms, sick and badly injured animals, as well as ones for meat etc, are killed so much faster and more painlessly than in the wild, and as long as the animals are handled regularly they don’t get stressed, certainly not nearly as stressed as wild animals. Abattoirs in Australia have rules on quiet handling and quick deaths which stop animals from getting stressed as much as possible. A stressed animal produces tough meat, so it’s in their interests to make it so.
All the skins, both raw and tanned, I source come from animals that are killed for other reasons, never for their skins. Most are from the meat industry, and some for pest control.
That is why I have no moral issue with using animal skins.