While the Optimist Daily is staunchly against killing animals for the sole purpose of harvesting fur or making leather, we do believe that if an animal is killed in the livestock industry, then all of its parts should be put to use instead of wasted.
In the UK, commercial goat-milking is growing fast, but what many people don’t know is that an estimated 3,000 billy goat kids are slaughtered every year because they are unwanted, with only milk-producing females deemed useful. That’s absolutely ridiculous, which is why a tannery called Millington has started taking the hides from these billy goats and using them to create leather.
Founder Jack Millington didn’t plan to get into this business. Previously working in advertising, he had been trying to help his dairy farmer Dad to find a market for his goat meat when he discovered the masses of goatskins being discarded. Unable to find a facility that could process smaller, less sought-after goatskins, Millington enlisted experts at the University of Northampton to develop a bespoke tanning recipe using natural bark extracts, then set about creating his own purpose-built micro-tannery.
While most leather companies won’t mention that their fabric comes from livestock, Millington is totally open about the connection between leather and the food industry.
“People don’t think about where leather comes from, but it’s a natural by-product,” said Millington. “The connection between the meat and dairy system and the leather industry has been forgotten, but they are inextricably linked.”
By turning old goat skins into leather, Millington’s is “repurposing a bi-product that comes from an inherently wasteful food system to make a material that’s biodegradable, natural and beautiful.” That’s something we can get behind.