Looks like animals have Jon Bon Jovi on their side! The rock and roll front man, who launched his Hart N Dagger clothing line in November has removed all leather from his collection. Instead, Bon Jovi is opting for vegan leather, a move that came after he learned the horrific truth behind the leather industry – thanks to animal rights organization, PETA.

This is a big win for animals and the planet. People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental and animal welfare issues associated with factory farms.

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But when it comes to leather industry the connection usually isn’t made. The reality is the leather industry is very closely tied to industrialized animal agriculture and exists in a mutually beneficial way. As long as cows are being killed for their meat, farmers will capitalize on this and sell off every part of the animal.

Once the hide or skin has been harvested from the slaughtered animal, there is a three-stage process it must undergo to become leather. The remaining flesh is scraped away and the hairs removed, after which the skin is treated (tanned) to ensure it doesn’t decompose. The skin is then thinned, re-tanned, lubricated, and, if required, dyed. This process uses several chemicals and toxins including ammonia; cyanide-based dyes, formaldehyde; and lead. Some of these products are carcinogenic, and all are environmental pollutants, which end up released into the air, ground, and water supply. These processes are especially polluting in countries where environmental regulations aren’t enforced.

As people learn the truth about the brutal and unsustainable leather industry, many companies are creating innovative alternatives to animal products. For instance, Green Banana Paper, a startup from Kosrae in Micronesia, created a cruelty-free leather made of banana fiber and another startup, Mycoworks, is making a leather from mushroomsPineapple is also getting in on the cruelty-free leather fun!

While it’s unclear if Bon Jovi will stop wearing leather himself, we still applaud the compassionate decision of his clothing company. Share the news with all of your animal loving friends!

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Image source: Sarah K. Andrew/Flickr