PETA seeks to redefine leather—literally

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In California, PETA has petitioned dictionary.com to change the definition of leather to include both plant-based and synthetic materials given the rise of “vegan leather” alternatives not made from animal hides. 

“Dictionaries are living documents that can and should be adapted to include the new language of an evolving culture,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says in a statement on the animal rights group’s website. “PETA is calling on Dictionary.com to update its current limited definition of ‘leather’ to reflect the skyrocketing popularity of animal-free leather in our modern world.”

According to PETA, millions of cows and other animals are killed for their skin annually. These animals “endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation, as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—all without any painkillers.” PETA adds that the global vegan leather market is expected to reach $85 billion by 2025, with mainstream brands such as Tesla already using began leather.

“All things considered, it’s clear that Dictionary.com must expand its definition of leather to reflect the fact that this material may also be made from plant-based or synthetic materials,” Reiman adds.