For the animals.
We love animals. We don't wan't to see them suffer.
In the words of Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary,
"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others, why wouldn't we?"
For the planet.
Animal agriculture is hugely detrimental to the planet.
The UN calculated in 2006 that animal agriculture is also responsible for 18% of global climate change emissions - more than all other forms of transportation put together. More recent studies, such as this from scientists at the World Bank, have estimated that this figure could be closer to 51%.
The leather industry also requires huge amounts of food, pastureland, water and fossil fuels. Toxic chemicals such as arsenic, cyanide and lead are used to prevent skins from biodegrading, and these then run into and pollute waterways. Despite claims that vegetable-dyed leather is eco-friendly, this is simply not the case. The only difference is that the dyes are plant-sourced, but all other production steps are the same.
For the humans.
Enough plant-based food is grown to feed the planet, but instead we feed it to livestock and eat them instead - whilst millions of people starve. This sure seems inefficient.
The leather industry also causes immense human suffering - both for those who work in and live near the tanneries. Exposure to the toxic chemicals used in the tanning process can cause cancer, jaundice and musculoskeletal disorders - significantly shortening their lifespans. Worse, leather is mainly produced in countries with low workplace laws, such as China and India, where employees are often children.
We can do better, so let's.
Now more than ever, there are so many beautiful fashion & lifestyle products and delicious foods available that aren't derived from animals.
In the wise words of the Dalai Lama: Let's choose compassion. It feels better.