In view of proposals in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab requiring schools to use only animal- and eco-friendly canvas or other non-leather footwear for students' uniform, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has urged Odisha and other states to follow suit.
PETA India has written to Odisha's school and mass education minister Rabi Narayan Nanda and officials of other states, urging them to follow the path shown by the two north Indian states.
"This measure would protect animals and the environment and also empower children with the opportunity to be animal- and eco-friendly consumers," said PETA India's corporate and government affairs liaison Sarfaraz Syed.
"Most children naturally care for animals and the environment and prefer wearing more comfortable canvas shoes over leather or other material, so the transition to canvas-only shoes for all school uniform would be a win-win-win situation for all children, animals and the environment," said a PETA India statement.
Cows and other animals are often found so crowded in trucks that they sustain injuries by horns of others; at slaughterhouses, many are skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious, the statement said.
Turning skins into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals, leading workers and local people to suffer nervous disorders, skin and respiratory infections and even cancer, it said.
Canvas, on the other hand, requires relatively little maintenance compared to other popular shoe material, including leather, PETA said.