In a world rife with cruelty, the leather industry stands out as a particularly awful.

Admittedly, it’s hard to talk about leather without graphic detail. There’s not enough sugar in the world to coat what these animals go through in the name of a product that most people can live without. That being said, here are nine things you probably didn’t know about leather (but will wish you did).

9 Things You Didn’t Know About Leather But Wish You Did

What it Actually Is

Leather is animal flesh; it’s the literal skin of a dead animal.

It’s Not Just Cows

A partial list of animals slaughtered for leather includes cows, horses, pigs, ostriches, cats, dogs, snakes and other lizards, alligators, crocodiles, zebras, bison, deer, eels, seals, sharks, and more.

Products Can Be Mislabelled

Cats and dogs are commonly used to make leather in China. Leather can be advertised as coming from a cow or a pig, and actually be a cat or a dog because it’s hard for consumers to actually know what they’ve been sold.

Barbaric Practices

Some of the most barbaric practices exist within the leather industry. In India, for example, weak and old cows are shipped to places in the country that will allow their slaughter, where they will be dragged, beaten, and have hot chili peppers and tobacco rubbed into their eyes to prevent them from sleeping on the way to slaughter.

Inhumane Slaughter

When they get to slaughter, the animals are hung upside down before their throats are slit with dull blades. Their passing is slow and painful. The animals in waiting are left to watch the ones before them, often being led across floors completely covered in blood when it’s their turn.

Animals Are Poached Exclusively For Leather

Leather is not simply a by-product of the meat industry. The production of leather does not occur because people want to use up all parts of the animal, out of respect and decency. Millions of animals that people don’t eat are used to produce leather, and, in addition, animals are often poached all over the world exclusively for leather.

There Are Alternatives!

There are countless vegan leather brands out there that allow you to enjoy the look of leather without the harm to animals, people, and the environment.

It Impacts More Than the Animals

Leather slowly kills the people and places that make it. The pollutants it releases destroys the environment with unfinished carcasses being thrown in the trash and solid waste being dumped into the water. Of course, this environmental damage impacts the poor and marginalized, first and foremost. It also kills the people who make it, with complications, risks, and hazards that are too numerous to list.

The Undeniable Truth

Leather kills. You can’t get it unless animals die.

If you feel that you need leather, please opt for vegan brands. They’re better for you and everyone else. Compassion never goes out of style.