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What do we do with all the excess cowhides?

Published: 15 May, 2019

As is well known, meat consumption in the western world has fallen over recent years; and is predicted to continue to fall as people change their dietary habits. But while the western world reduces its meat consumption, other parts of the world are becoming more affluent and their diets requirements are changing. Thirty years ago, China did not even figure in world meat statistics, now it is one of the largest consumers. China, along with countries such as Russia have increased demand for meat so much, that, large beef producing nations such as Australia, Brazil and the U.S. have had to raise their production rates to meet this new demand.

But if leather continues to go out of fashion, what does the world do with the surplus of raw hides? With the current rate of beef consumption, hides that are not turned into leather would instead become an estimated 10 million tonne waste problem per year. The environmental impact on turning a raw hide into leather pales into insignificance, against the impact of either burning or land-filling unwanted raw hides. Those that are actively campaigning against the use of leather in their lives may actually be doing more harm to the environment than good, as these will have to be disposed of. The hides are already there, not using them to make leather is criminal. 

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