A vulnerable species is an organism that is on the brink of being extinct. When they go extinct, they stay that way. However, we humans ignore this fact. We focus on the temporary positive effects of killing animals for their desirables. Yet, we are blind to the long-term consequences of this practice. The time has come to dig deeper into this major issue.
This tradition began in the early days of human occupancy on Earth. Animals were required for food and clothing. Yet, the difference is that at that time we only took what we needed. We killed living creatures only when it was required. This was because we lacked the technology to simply pull a trigger to kill a specimen. Each slaughter at that time meant sharpening spears, gaining momentum, grouping together, and a higher risk of failing. This very fail could in fact be fatal. Thus, we avoided these risks as often as possible.
Today, humans take the necessary amount and more. Many would think that there isn’t really a problem because the main source is from an abundant species. One of the most widely used animal products is leather. It is believed by some that leather comes exclusively from cows: an animal that is thought of as being less by a large population. But, this is misleading. Some leather is also made from the threatened zebra, among others. It is clear that the zebra is what one would call a “favorite animal”. Yet, the companies that produce them don’t express this. Their one priority is to make more money.
As horrid as that may seem to the already threatened animal species, it get’s much worse. There are consequences to those that manufacture the goods. Although leather makers often claim that their products are “eco-friendly”, the process of tanning it stabilizes the protein fibers. This results in the biodegrading process actually stopping. Along with this, today animal skin is turned into leather with a combination of dangerous substances. This included formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, and different types of oils. To make the bad even worse, the resulting waste usually contains chromium. The Environmental Protection Agency claims that all wastes containing this substance are hazardous.
But, it doesn’t end here. There is more harm done to the environment. In order to make the pastures that contain the animals being bred for their skins, trees must be cut down. That means less oxygen for we humans. In fact, the dairy itself is harmful to the environment. A recent study found that a single cow released nineteen pounds of volatile organic compounds a year, surpassing the amount of smog made by cars and trucks.
At this point, one must realize that a change is required. We humans must sacrifice a temporary pleasure for a lasting one. One possible solution to this conflict is using an alternative. Instead of leather, one can use cotton, linen, or rubber. Although these efforts do indeed increase the chance of a species survival, only time will tell if even this option is too little, too late.