Over 60,000 sign petition to scrap leather from German trains

More than 60,000 people have signed a Change.org petition that I started with some private individuals, to get leather banned from Deutsche Bahn trains, the largest German train carrier.

Deutsche Bahn uses leather on seats in the first class sections of its Intercity Express (ICE) and in its “DB Lounges” at stations. The petition was set up after reports that the carrier would also extend its use of leather to the arm rests of its second class seats, in an attempt to increase customer “comfort”.

Leather kills because the use of animal hides for leather makes cattle farming more profitable. It is therefore not a mere by-product, as many opponents of this petition, and in fact many flexitarians would have it. 100% of Deutsche Bahn is owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. It is therefore a major public concern if this company extends its use of leather. We urge Deutsche Bahn to not only refrain from adding leather to the second class, but also to phase out leather entirely.

See our full justification why Deutsche Bahn should not use leather as a PDF here. (in German)

Deutsche Bahn has refrained from making any public statements about the issue. In a private email, they told us petitioners:

“Genuine leather is characterised by its high durability, resistance and breathability even under enormous strain. Due to its high resistance and fatigue strength, leather needs to be replaced much less frequently than other materials (…) Seats with leather upholstery are perceived by our passengers as high quality and find a correspondingly high acceptance among passengers”

On Thursday 19 December 2019, the signatures were officially handed to Deutsche Bahn at its headquarters in Berlin. This was accompanied by a peaceful protest by anti-leather activists dressed up like cows.

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