The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has named Meghalaya Environment and Forest Minister James Sangma as the winner of the Progressive Business Concept Award for promoting vegan pineapple leather.
Apart from encouraging farmers in the State to go for pineapple leather production, Mr. Sangma also had plans to open a climate change museum and introduce climate change in the school curricula, PETA said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to the International Society for Horticultural Science, Meghalaya contributed to about 8% of the total pineapple produced in India.
Pineapple leather, a fairly new product that some fashion design companies across the globe were adopting to lessen animal suffering, was considered as sturdy and durable as animal skin.
“Minister Sangma has rightly identified the climate crisis as a defining challenge of our times and he’s already taking steps to address one of the biggest culprits – animal agriculture,” Radhika Suryavanshi, PETA-India’s senior campaigns coordinator, said.
“PETA India looks forward to seeing Meghalaya create new opportunities for farmers while helping to save the planet and animals’ lives through a thriving pineapple leather industry,” she added.
According to the United Nations, animal agriculture — this includes animals killed for clothing — was responsible for nearly a fifth of human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions. To keep the skins of cows, buffaloes and other animals used for leather from rotting, tanneries used a variety of caustic, toxic chemicals, which polluted waterways.
One of the most widely used chemicals in the tanning process was chromium, which could cause cancer in workers exposed to it, PETA said.