The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Please go pleather: Alicia to Indians

New Delhi, July 4 (AFP): Hollywood star Alicia Silverstone appealed to Indians today to “pleather” themselves by wearing fake leather.

In an open letter released by the US-based People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), the Batgirl actress urged Indians to throw out their leather shoes and clothing and wear “pleather” or synthetic leather.

“Go fake for the animal’s sake. I hope Indian clubgoers will throw out their leather shoes and clothing and put the compassion into fashion by opting to wear trendier, hipper fabrics,” said Silverstone.

“Please pleather yourself,” she added.

Silverstone, one of Peta’s most celebrated campaigners, often wears a zippered black vest made of synthetic leather.

“Fashion should be fun, not grisly. Many top Indian designers are opting to pleather their creations,” added Peta’s Indian chief Anuradha Sawhney.

India has an annual apparel market of $ 14 billion, although high fashion accounts for a negligible part of it.

Peta has in the past blasted the Indian leather trade, which it says packs animals in inhumane conditions for transport and often resorts to breaking their tails and rubbing chillis into their eyes to make them more compliant in slaughter.

The Indian leather industry handles 230 million metres of hides and skins annually, for which millions of buffalo, cows and other animals are slaughtered each year, according to Peta.

The animal rights group has in the past secured pledges from leading international retail chains such as Marks and Spencer, Gap, Banana Republic and J. Crew not to buy Indian leather.

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