Thai model, singer, presenter and animal protection ambassador Maria Poonlertlarp has received a lot of criticism over a comment she posted on the 2021 Miss Universe Anchilee Scott Kemmis’s recent Instagram post of her holding a leather bag.
Anchilee Scott Kemis uploaded a photo on Instagram of herself holding an animal leather bag to which Maria responses:
Maria’s comment has had over 7,000 likes and 1,300 replies from people who are both supporting her comments or scolding her for speaking out. Anchilee Scott Kemis has not yet responded.
A few hours later, Maria posted a video on her own Instagram addressing the controversy and said:
“Just because we’ve been doing something for a long time, it doesn’t make it right”
With over 732k followers, Maria is using her platform and voice to speak up for the planet and the animals.
Not only does this shed light on the cruel and damaging effects that exploiting animals has on our planet, but it has also successfully started a conversation that thousands of people are getting involved in.
Last month Maria featured in a World Animal Protection video campaign “change for chickens” to raise awareness about the cruelty in factory farming.
It’s rare to see this kind of important activism across social media in Thailand and we hope that many other public figures will follow in Maria’s footsteps and speak up for what is important.
What Is The Link Between Leather & Deforestation?
Image source: ISTO
Experts estimate that we are losing or degrading upwards of 160,000 acres (404,685 rai) every single day due to deforestation.
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.
Rainforests play a practical role in keeping our planet healthy by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing the oxygen that we depend on for our survival. The absorption of this CO2 also helps to stabilize the Earth’s climate.
In order for leather to become a bag, a lot of things need to happen first:
- The animal that has been born to become leather, needs a place (factory or field) to be reared = This requires cleared land which causes deforestation.
- The animal needs to be kept alive with huge amounts of food every single day = This requires land and water to grow the animal feed and carbon to transport the feed.
- The animal needs to be kept alive long enough to grow to full size. During the time this animal is alive, it will produce methane through passing gas. (Methane is 80x more potent than carbon) = This means a huge amount of greenhouse gasses are emitted every single day the animal is alive.
- After the animal is slaughtered and the skin removed, chemical processes like tanning need to happen for the skin to become usable as leather. The chemicals that are used to tan the leather is not biodegradable; it’s very harmful to the water and it contaminates the local communities that are in contact with that = Water contamination and pollution.
Now imagine all this on a huge scale (an estimated 1 billion animals are killed in the leather industry every single year across the World, a massive figure which often goes under-reported) and it’s easy to start understanding Maria’s point.