Newsletter 08/2022 from Contance, The European Leather Association


Leather for Christmas? Of course!



The hides and skins of cattle, sheep and goats are processed only because they are a by-product of the dairy and meat industries and because they can be used to make a wonderful material: Leather. This upcycling is not new, people have been doing it for almost as long as they have been around.
But aren't "vast amounts of food" necessary to raise these animals? Cattle, sheep and goats are ruminants that can digest cellulose, which humans cannot. That is why these animals can be kept on grassland, i.e. land on which plants cannot be grown for human food because it is too steep, too wet, too dry or the soil quality is too poor. The animals "improve" these areas by their "tramp", their dung and keeping the areas free by grazing. This highly effective symbiosis between grazing land and animals has developed over millions of years. reihalten. Diese hoch effektive Symbiose zwischen Weideland und Tieren hat sich über Jahrmillionen entwickelt.


Hold on, not all cattle are fed only grass or graze on grassland! The cultivation of every kilogram of plant food produces three to five kilograms of biomass not suitable for human consumption. One example: cereals. We use the grains as food, the rest of the plant is not digestible for us humans.
Prof. Windisch of the Technical University of Munich speaks of "circular economy" when ruminants turn the inedible biomass into edible food in the form of milk and meat and, quite incidentally, fertiliser for plants is produced in the form of slurry and manure.

Well, there is still the matter of methane. Ruminants produce methane through their digestion, which is released into the atmosphere and is considered harmful to the climate. However, methane has a fairly short life span and constant numbers of livestock do not increase the methane concentration.
What would be the alternatives? Let the biomass rot in the fields or process it in biogas plants? That also causes emissions, but we produce less food.

Nature has developed perfect cycles, nothing remains unused. Let us reflect on this!
Shall we use leather? Of course!


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