Redwood Comment
Published:  20 August, 2020
Dr Mike Redwood

A final concern has risen throughout the last six months and that leads into more than half of the issues that tanners are worried about damaging the leather industry. Animal welfare, supply chain transparency, anti-meat campaigns and the rise of vegetarianism should be playing a lesser role for tanners than before. Determined action, including specific work with the EU, has provided clear evidence of the by-product, or near waste product, nature of leather’s raw material. We need to get on promoting leather.

What is more, the work from Oxford University and UC Davis has provided first class scientific evidence on methane and how livestock need to be viewed as a benefit to society rather than a climate liability. Add to that the clarity with which the EAT Lancet report from 2019 was repulsed and discredited, the meat and livestock sector should be busy with a worldwide campaign to build its reputation and fight off the pressure groups. It should not be left to parts of the leather trade and a few determined academics.

Instead, the worldwide meat industry, be it beef, chicken or pork, continues to hit the headlines with temporary closures and resets. Be they from Germany, the UK (where another chicken plant has been closed in the last few days), the U.S. or elsewhere, the reports have all followed very similar patterns. It looks like this would be best countered by making changes in the plants rather than defending the status quo. Some of these companies own outstanding wet-blue or full tannery operations; we know they have the skill and the finance to make the changes.

It is clear that to turn the hopes of a recovery in either one or two years towards more stable working we have, as an industry, to show a more united and strongly positive attitude and turn our minds to fighting for the future of leather. Among all the misery around the world, leather does have the wonderful stories that consumers need to hear. We must have the space, the tools and the determination to tell them.

Dr Mike Redwood

August 18, 2020

Follow Dr Mike Redwood on twitter: @michaelredwood

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