Leather goods include furniture, purses, wallets, belts, shoe-straps, handbags, luggage, gloves, footwear, clothing, bags, and much more. The leather industry is a multi-billion dollar global manufacturing industry that produces not only the finished product but also the raw materials used to create it. Animal skins are used first to create the leather from which the products are made. Leather is also among the most sold products worldwide, with the global export value of leather skins and hides exceeding $5.5 billion annually. Today, most people wear leather goods due to their longevity and style.
The leather industry has enjoyed an exponential growth in the past few decades, driven by increased consumer demand and lower pricing. The animal skins that are used in leather goods come from India, where they have been used for hundreds of years for the production of everything from shoes and clothing to saddles and horses. The hides are taken from the underbelly of the animals before they are euthanized, usually by beheading. After the skins are removed from the bodies, they are cleaned and treated in facilities run by organized crime syndicates in Asia, who often sell the hides at low prices to the undercover leather traders in other countries, at below-market prices, while expecting to earn a tidy profit. These criminals arrange shipment to the undercover leather traders, who then sell the hides to the leather goods manufacturers vi dai da ca sau.
Tanneries in India are major destinations for illegal wildlife poaching, especially tiger bones, which are in high demand for use in manufacturing leather goods and other accessories such as bags, shoes, jewelry, and sports equipment. While India is one of the world’s largest exporters of leather products, it has been struggling to protect its leather trade from organized crime and illegal poaching. Many of these tanneries have been destroyed or forced to close in recent times as a result of increasing pressure from activists trying to protect the leather trade.
Despite all the challenges that the leather industry faces, the industry itself is far from closing its doors. Demand for leather products will continue to grow and tiger bone trading can continue as previously planned. In fact, tiger bone products are now seen more commonly on store shelves than horse or bird hooves. Demand for leather products will continue to grow as the health of the leather industry itself continues to improve. The leather industry itself is largely untapped and in some areas it remains the major source of income for many tribes and villagers.
With increasing global awareness and concern about animal rights, more people are supporting campaigns to eliminate illegal wildlife poaching and to end the illegal selling of tiger bones. Many people are turning to tanning to preserve the quality and life of their leathers and other animals. Demand for leather goods from China and Vietnam is also growing. Today, there are more than 200 tanneries scattered across the country.
Though leather goods come in a variety of colors, they all come from hides that come from cows, pigs or chickens. Tanning, though very old fashioned, has been one of the cornerstones of the leather goods industry. Animal hides can be tanned using heat in a kiln. The process of tannin removal from the hides, known as “breaking” is when a process called “cracking” occurs to release the tannins in the leather goods. Some leather goods may also be treated with a wax coating during the tanning process to prevent cracking and staining.