Spare a thought for hapless cows while you enjoy the final battle between India and Sri Lanka at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Cricket balls are made of leather, which is procured after slaughtering defenceless animals.
In India, where much of the world’s leather comes from, cattle are marched for days to slaughter without food or water, says People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, which is requesting a ban on leather balls.
PETA suggests using synthetic balls instead.
“Synthetic balls are not only kinder to animals but also safer for the environment”, says PETA campaigner and cricket fan Sachin Bangera.
“They are superior to leather balls because they can be made more durable and water resistant, and with the technology available, they can be customised to meet players’ needs.
“We are calling on the International Cricket Council (ICC) to show that cricket is truly a gentleman’s sport by choosing synthetic balls over leather ones.”
PETA India wants ICC to know that animals killed for their skins are routinely abused and cruelly slaughtered.
Animals slaughtered for their skin endure extreme crowding and deprivation; castration, branding, tail-docking and dehorning without any pain relief and cruel transport and slaughter.
It will be a tough call for Indians who worship both – cricketers and cows.
PETA highlights the inhuman treatment afforded to cows. “Those who collapse from exhaustion have their eyes smeared with chilli peppers and tobacco and their tails broken in an effort to keep them moving. At India’s abattoirs, animals are often skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious,” says a PETA statement.
Also, the process of procuring leather has wide-reaching impact on environment and human health.
“Turning animal skins into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, and runoff from leather tanneries poisons rivers and streams,” says the statement.
Vellore in Tamil Nadu – which has about 6,000 tanneries – is alarmingly polluted, according to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board.
“The chemicals that tannery workers are exposed to have also been linked to cancer, respiratory infections and other illnesses.
The risks are internationally well-documented. “Studies of leather-tannery workers in Sweden and Italy found cancer risks “between 20% and 50% above [those] expected”.