Calves Dragged and Face-Branded for Leather Car Interiors

What is the true price of leather? A PETA video exposé featuring investigative footage from the nongovernmental organization Repórter Brasil of several cattle ranches in Brazil supplying JBS S.A.—the largest leather processor in the world—reveals that gentle cows and bulls were branded on the face, electroshocked, and beaten before finally being slaughtered to be made into the leather interiors offered by the world's largest car companies.


It takes an average of three cows' hides to cover the interior of a standard car. Here's a look at what you could be supporting if you buy a Honda, Kia, or Toyota car among others with seats, steering wheels, and gearshifts covered with leather. 

Calves Torn Away From Their Mothers

The life of a cow in Brazil is short and painful. The eyewitness found that workers dragged calves away from their mothers and forced them to the ground by twisting their necks. One calf was yanked up by her ears and tail to make her move. It is also standard procedure for workers to punch holes in their ears without the use of painkillers.

A calf is lassoed and pulled away from her mother, who chases after her. A calf is lassoed and pulled away from her mother, who chases after her.

A worker forces her to the ground. A worker forces her to the ground.

He keeps her restrained by twisting her neck and throwing his weight on her. He keeps her restrained by twisting her neck and throwing his weight on her.

Faces Branded With Hot Irons

To show ownership of the calves, workers on a cattle ranch that supplies to JBS used hot irons to brand them on the face—without any pain relief and counter to the minimum animal-welfare recommendations by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Older cattle were also forced into chutes, where they panicked and kicked as workers branded them on the back.

A calf is lassoed and pulled away from her mother, who chases after her.Workers prepare hot irons to brand the cows.

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A worker pins down a cow to brand her on the face with a hot iron.

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Workers brand calves on the face with hot irons and no pain relief.

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A worker steps on a calf's face to keep her still while branding her.

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This calf panics and becomes trapped inside a narrow chute after trying to turn around.

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Workers trap this cow in a chute and brand her on the back with a hot iron and no pain relief.

Panic, Beatings, and Bloody Wounds

On the ranches, cows were forced into tight chutes for handling. The intense crowding led cows to panic and trample each other. Workers then kicked them and yanked them by their ears and tails. In desperation, some cattle tried to jump fences to escape. The eyewitness also saw a calf with a severe maggot infestation, a cow with a swollen head, and cows with open, bloody wounds.
Workers prepare hot irons to brand the cows. 

 

10 A cow tries to jump over a fence.

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Several cattle get stuck in a chute. Workers kick and yank them by the ears and tail.


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Several cattle get stuck in a chute. Workers kick and pull them by the ears and tail.


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Electric shock prods are used in the chutes.

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This cow has a large open wound on his face.

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A calf suffers from a severe maggot infestation.

Electroshocked on Their Way to Slaughter

When cows are roughly 3 years old, the ranchers send them to JBS-owned slaughterhouses. Workers jab cows around the anus with metal-tipped sticks and electric shock prods to force them onto the cramped trucks used to take them to slaughter.

16 Workers hit and jab cows with metal-tipped sticks.

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Workers shock the cows around the anus to force them onto trucks headed to the slaughterhouse.

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Cows headed to JBS S.A. slaughterhouses endure long rides in filthy trucks.

Killed, Skinned, Exported

Every year, millions of cows are killed in several JBS slaughterhouses in Brazil. Workers slit their throats before hacking off their skin and sending it to JBS tanneries, which produce leather for the automotive, furniture, footwear, and accessories industries worldwide. Automotive leather suppliers require an average of three adult cows' hides to produce just one complete leather interior. In 2015, JBS' 26 factories on three continents produced 10 million hides.

19 © PETA / Repórter Brasil
It takes an average of three cows' hides to produce just one leather interior.

You Can Help Us End This Cruelty

Honda, Kia, and Toyota are among dozens of major car companies connected to JBS, including the following:

JBS-linked-car-company-infographic

The horrific treatment of cows on Brazilian cattle ranches is hardly an anomaly, as branding, ear-tagging, and electroshock are standard practices in the leather industry. Violent treatment of cows has been documented during transport in India, in slaughterhouses in Bangladesh, and beyond. Please, before purchasing a vehicle, remember the gentle calves, cows, and bulls who are suffering at the hands of the auto industry as well as for fashion items from retailers such as Clarks, Payless, and Rockport—all companies that have been linked to JBS. Choosing vegan leather reduces the demand for skins from cows who are branded and shocked—just like those you've seen here—and who suffer every step of the way.

Do more: Urge one of the world's largest car companies—Toyota—to replace its leather interiors with vegan leather in all its car models so that consumers like you can easily make the compassionate choice for animals.

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