Viewers of The Crown will be aware of how important red dispatch boxes are to the democracy of our country. They’re the visual symbol of our government in action. The sensitive documents they carry are often of vital importance to the UK and its global relations.
Since Barrow, Hepburn & Gale started making them, over 100 years ago, they’ve been made of leather. Over 100 years ago, the intensive farming of cattle for leather was unheard of in the UK.
The ethical argument against such practices is one that’s difficult to refute. But what about the environmental impact?
Raising animals (1 billion of them a year) on intensive farms is devastating our environment.
Vast swathes of land are required to grow feed crops. So far, 70% of the Amazon rainforest has been raised to satisfy demand. Causing loss of habitat for humans and animals, as well as driving climate change by destroying foliage. The methane from farmed animals is also a leading contributor to climate change. According to PETA “animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined”.
Water pollution is a close second when it comes to the ecological problems farming causes. Waste from farms is allowed to run into local water systems, leading eutrophication – an overgrowth of plant life in water caused by excess nutrients being present. Oxygen levels in the water are severely reduced, suffocating any life and causing “dead zones.”
This, when coupled with the pollution caused by treating the leather itself, is a bleak picture. And one we cannot ignore.
Vegan leather – including the PU leather (polyurethane) which we use – has a third of the environmental impact of true leather.
If Barrow Hepburn & Gale’s dispatch boxes symbolise the UK’s power and democracy, isn’t it about time we updated them to better reflect the issues of today?
Sign our petition at change.org and join us in our mission for vegan leather to be used for all our government’s dispatch boxes. Starting with the next Monarch’s.