These days, leather, derived from cow, calf, or sheep skin, is still very much in use and widely acceptable, despite the heartbreaking evidence that the animal leather industry is both unsustainable and riddled with cruelty. Yet, what many leather consumers may not know is that some of their leather products might actually be produced from dog skin.

John Dalley, co-founder and vice president of the Thailand-based nonprofit, Soi Dog Foundation, recently told Bloomberg Buisnessweek that “factories use leather from dog skin for use in everything from drums to guitars.”

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Dalley continued stating that golf glove manufacturers “also prize dog leather” and will use “the skin of the testicles of male dogs” since it is rather soft.

Many of these dogs are often stolen pets from Thailand. Smugglers round them up for travel to countries like Vietnam and China where dog meat and products are still prized.

“Stray dogs are extremely difficult to catch,” Dalley said. “It’s far easier to catch pet dogs or unwanted service dogs.”

Nearly all dogs trafficked and used in the dog meat and leather trade suffer immense cruelty from start to finish.

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According to Soi Dog Foundation, each year, tens of thousands of dogs “are inhumanely transported from Thailand to [neighboring] countries where they are butchered by cruel and barbaric methods.”

These dogs are tightly packed in wire cages similar to how battery hens are housed on factory farms. Sometimes 20 dogs or more can be pushed into a single cage and are later pulled out just to meet their deaths at a filthy slaughterhouse, where they are often skinned alive before being chopped up for meat.

Efforts are currently underway to halt the devastating black market trade in dogs. Most recently, Vietnam implemented a directive to ban the cross border trade of dogs for consumption, which has been considered a great victory on this issue.

Still, more work will need to be done to eliminate the suffering of dogs for human products and consumption. And while news of this grisly trade and slaughter may shock many in the West, we have almost identical industry methods right here in the U.S. in regards to farm animals. These animals are just like our beloved dog companions and both groups deserve the same attention and respect.

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To learn how you can help stop the cruel dog trade in Asia, please visit Soi Dog Foundation or AnimalsAsia online.

Image source: Soi Dog Foundation / Facebook

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