India's $13 billion leather industry is worried sick after cattle slaughter ban

India's decision to put a ban on cattle slaughter has become a cause of worry for several international fashion houses worried. Brands like Zara, Marks & Spencer, Prada, Hugo Boss and Armani, or their agents, have begun contacting their Indian suppliers asking them whether they would be able to deliver their commitments on supplying footwear, handbags, jackets, belts and other products.

These suppliers, however, are afraid because of the government’s decision to ban cattle slaughter, which will dent India's $13 billion-a-year leather industry.

A major chunk of this business can now shift to Bangladesh, unless Indian importers get ready to import raw material.

"An important agent from Spain, who sources finished leather for shoes for Zara, had called me last Friday enquiring whether I have enough stock for long-term commitment and how can I ensure supply in the backdrop of the recent government order," Mohammad Zia Nafis, MD, Zia Hide Skin Agency, told ET.

"I have also received calls from Marks & Spencer for whom we supply finished leather for shoes," he added.


It was on Friday that the Indian government had imposed a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter purposes, so that animal cruelty can be prevented, illegal trade can be curbed, and smuggling of animals can be stopped.

The decision has stirred up a political storm, and there have been uncertainties in the meat and leather export sectors, since India is one of the largest players in the global industry.

The leather that India produces is liked worldwide since it contains certain type of grains that leather from South America and Africa do not have. However, leather produced in Bangladesh is similar to that of India, which is why it may benefit from the ban.

(Image source Scroll)