'Leather-Free' Mercedes Thrills Rights Group
BERLIN Mercedes-Benz has agreed to offer "leather-free" versions of all its luxury cars to pacify an animal rights group that says thousands of cows are slaughtered each year for leather car seats and interiors.
After complaints from the German chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, DaimlerChrysler said its Mercedes subsidiary will offer fabric or synthetic leather as options. Daimler spokeswoman Ursula Mertzig-Stein said that far from wanting leather-free cars, "our customers ... are more likely to want even more leather at the premium end. But we'll make cars without leather on demand."
PETA officials, who had threatened protests at the carmaker's Stuttgart headquarters, said they were delighted.
"When you consider that the skins of four to 15 cows are needed for each car this means thousands of cows will be spared," said PETA researcher Edmund Haferbeck. "This is a huge victory for animal rights."