The recently concluded cricket World Cup tournament saw animal rights organization PETA, highlight the issue of cricket balls made from animal skin. As part of this advocacy campaign, PETA made a plea to the International Cricket Council to ban ‘leather’ balls and replace them with synthetic ones. The nation had an opportunity to gain awareness about the reality of leather cricket balls that are made from the skins of cows and bulls by subjecting them to inconceivable torture. Is this the land of the “holy cow”, “sacred cow”, or “gau mata”, we may ask?
The campaign made people aware that cricket is not fun for these animals; for them, it means a slow, agonizing death. Not only are the animals made to undergo suffering, the human hands (tannery workers) in the murky leather goods industry, are, every minute, exposed to increased risks of respiratory infections and cancer. Besides, tanneries cause considerable environmental pollution.
This news report from The Times of India newspaper summarizes the appalling conditions under which leather balls are produced. You can also learn in-depth about the process of manufacturing leather cricket balls and other sports equipments containing animal products in this research report from the organization, Beauty Without Cruelty – India.
The alternative: Non leather cricket balls
The good news is that non leather cricket balls are not only possible, they are available at almost every sports store in the country. These balls are made of synthetic materials such as Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and Poly Urethane (PU). A search on the internet reveals considerable information about non leather cricket balls. You can click here at tradeindia.com for a representative list of synthetic cricket ball manufacturers and exporters.
Usually, people use synthetic balls for day-to-day play because they are affordable and serve the purpose of a casual game. For tournaments, the International Cricket Council needs to revisit the need for leather balls. Why can’t we play with synthetic cricket balls – whether it be international, domestic, or roadside cricket? It only requires the will to stop destroying lives for the sake of human entertainment.
“As the so-called ‘gentleman’s game’, cricket should be gentle on animals and the environment by making a switch to synthetic balls. You are in a unique position to create a change. Won’t you please step up to bat for animals and the environment, by using your influence to ban leather balls?” ~PETA in a letter to the International Cricket Council~
For non leather/cruelty-free leather/synthetic leather/alternative leather/faux leather/non-animal leather/vegetarian/vegan shoes and accessories in India reviewed in this blog, you can click the story, Who Pays For Your Leather Shoes?.