The pleasure of pleather

Earlier, we reported the provincial government purchased 260 leather portfolios as part of its new oath cermonies. In an interview, community services director Anne McKinnon - who says the cost of those binders is $45, not $75 as noted in documents obtained by Public Eye - explained, "What they wanted to provide are long-term keepsakes. They're meant to be a token - something that's meaningful for people when they come in. They've got long-term use. They're something that can be used for a very long time." But not everyone is happy with the government decision's to purchase animal hide office supplies.

In an interview with Public Eye, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals assistant campaigns manager Matt Rice said, "By purchasing leather, the provincial government is supporting cruelty to animals. From the farm to the store, life is Hell for cows and all animals that are raised for their skin and flesh. The provincial government is certainly risking offending vegetarians and other people who care about animals and who don't want to support cruelty to animals. And they could do much better by choosing any number of pleather alternatives that are available in the twenty-first century."

Continued Mr. Rice, "They would most likely be a lot more inexpensive. They'd be better for the environment and the animals as well. Leather production wreaks havoc on the environment. The leather industry is categorized as a gross consumer of energy. And over 95 percent of leather products are chrome painted. And the noxious waste from tanneries that contains chromium, lead, cyanide, sulphide and acid are considered hazardous by many environmental organizations."


It is incredibly funny for someone complaining about the chemicals used in the production of leather to then turn around and suggest pleather.

Pleathers are plastics and polyvinyl chlorides that are derived from petroleum hydrocarbons. The chemical and ecological footprints of pleathers are quite impressively grim and only someone who has no clue how they are produced would suggest that they are an ecologically benign alternative to leather. One may argue that pleathers are "cruelty fee" as long as one discounts the ecological cruelty and human rights record of parts of the petroleum industry. Consider that most pleather is derived from China and that the oil used in China is from some of the most ecologically and human rights challenged countries. Might I suggest that any activists ask themselves who are supplying the arms and political protection in Darfur and what is the major export of the Sudan?

Leather on the other hand is a by-product of the food industry in Canada. The processing is done in first-world factories with first-world emission control systems. While the activists don't eat meat, other people in Canada do and as such the material is out there. If it were not used for leather it would simply be wasted. So let's summarize, do we use a resource that currently exists, is a waste product from another activity, is relatively safe and is derived from Canada or do we instead throw out that resource and instead use dwindling petroleum hydrtocarbon stocks derived from some of the most ecologically and human rights challenged parts of the world?



You say horsefeathers but seem to lack any supporting documentation. I on the other hand am willing to support my positions. Regarding oil and Sudan here is a quote sourced from the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS):

The Chinese have invested more than $8 billion in joint exploration contracts in this country [Sudan], including the building of a 900-mile pipeline to the Red Sea, deployed thousands of military personnel disguised as oil workers and provided arms to the Sudanese government to support it in the country's 20-year civil war. In September 2004, the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1564, threatening Sudan with oil sanctions unless it curbed its support for belligerent militia groups in Darfur. To protect its oil interests in Sudan, which supplies seven percent of China’s oil imports, Beijing stated very clearly that it would veto any bid to impose such sanctions.

Don't trust the IAGS how about the Council on Foereign relations ( They point out China takes 64 percent of Sudan's oil exports. "China is very deeply engaged in exploiting Africa's oil resources," says Elizabeth Economy, C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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