Shoes dumped at Indian Consulate to protest cattle cruelty  

San Francisco, May 2, 2000 -- To protest the abuse of India's cattle in the international and often illegal leather trade, activists and a "cow," holding a poster reading "Keep My Family Off Your Feet," dumped hundreds of leather shoes at the Indian consulate in San Francisco.

Although India has strict laws prohibiting the inhumane treatment of cows, making it illegal to kill the animals in most states, corrupt skin-traders use bribes to smuggle the animals across borders at night. The cows and calves, who are bought under the false pretense that they'll live out their lives on rural farms, are marched to slaughter for days and crammed into lorries, causing many to suffocate, all in direct violation of the Constitution of India. Those who collapse from exhaustion or injury have their eyes smeared with chili peppers and tobacco and their tails broken in an effort to keep them moving.

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, has written to the Indian government asking for enforcement of existing laws that protect Indian cows from abuse. Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney has also publicly urged the government to stop the cruel transport of these animals.

"The cows actually weep from pain, and if the prime minister saw what is done to them, he would too," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who has personally followed the Indian "cattle trail."

Broadcast-quality footage of Pamela Anderson Lee's narrated expose of the Indian leather industry is available at: