Letter to businesses: label their shoes
Write to businesses and ask them to label their non-leather shoes as vegan.
As a frequent customer at your store, I have a suggestion of how to improve your service. I am vegetarian and do not wear leather, although you provide a selection of non-leather shoes I often have to search for them amongst the leather shoes.
The UK leather industry is worth billions of pounds each year. An animal’s skin makes up 7-10 per cent of his or her total worth. I avoid leather goods to ensure that I am not supporting the meat industry and the slaughter of animals.
Leather production harms the environment due to the toxic chemicals used during the tanning process. These chemicals prevent the hide from rotting; however they continue to prevent biodegrading long after they have been discarded of! The UK throws away two million pairs of shoes every week and most of these remain in landfills unable to decompose.
Most leather tanning takes place in developing countries, where labour costs are low and environmental regulations lax. Some tanneries simply allow their effluent to flow into rivers untreated, polluting fresh water supplies with toxic chemicals. Local villagers, who depend upon the water for washing and drinking, can suffer serious medical problems.
It would be particularly helpful to myself and other vegetarians who shop at your store, if the leather-free shoes were easier to locate. This could be done simply by displaying a large leather-free symbol or sign with the shoes. This would save the estimated six million vegetarians living in the UK the trouble of having to scour through leather shoes searching the tiny labels to locate the industry symbols.
If you could guarantee that the glues and dyes used in your shoes were not from animal sources, you could even label the shoes as vegan which would encourage new business in your store and show that you are environmentally aware company.