Meghalaya environment minister to get PETA award for 'vegan leather' initiative

By PTI

SHILLONG: PETA India has decided to confer on Meghalaya Environment Minister James P K Sangma the Progressive Business Concept Award for his plans to produce ‘vegan leather’ in the northeastern state, officials said on Wednesday.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) volunteers in Meghalaya will soon hand over the award to the minister, they said.

Sangma had recently announced in Hyderabad that the Meghalaya government plans to produce leather using pineapples found abundantly in the hilly state.

He had said the administration is also planning to open a climate change museum and introduce the subject in school curricula.

“In recognition of his plans to help local farmers by encouraging vegan pineapple-leather production — a move that will also protect animals and the environment, PETA India has decided to confer upon him the Progressive Business Concept Award,” PETA India Senior Campaigns Coordinator Radhika Suryavanshi said.

The minister has rightly identified the climate crisis as a “defining challenge of our times” and he’s already taking steps to address one of the biggest culprits — animal agriculture, she said.

“PETA India looks forward to seeing Meghalaya create new opportunities for farmers while helping save the planet and animals’ lives through a thriving pineapple-leather industry,” the PETA office-bearer said.

PETA believes that animal agriculture — which includes animals slaughter for clothing — is responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions and this was also corroborated by the United Nations, Suryavanshi said.

“To keep the skins of cows, buffaloes, and other animals used for leather from rotting, tanneries use a variety of caustic, toxic chemicals, which pollute waterways. One of the most widely used chemicals in the tanning process is chromium, which can cause cancer in workers exposed to it,” she added.

The export of footwear, leather and leather products from India in 2020-21 was to the tune of USD 3.68 billion.