Photo by Jaguar PS/Shutterstock

Joaquin Phoenix has a bone to pick with the Chinese dog-leather industry. The actor-activist, who appears in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ latest public service announcement, calls the group’s undercover footage “one of the worst things [he’s] ever seen.” As images of dogs being brutalized play across the screen, Phoenix’s voiceover provides some sobering context. “Terrified dogs watch as those ahead of them are kicked, beaten over the head, and then have their throats slit and the skin peeled right off their bodies,” he says. “Their skins are turned into leather gloves, belts, and other accessories.”

FOR THE LOVE OF DOG

Although dog skin yields a leather that’s inferior in quality to sheep or cow hide, it’s cheaper to make. As a result, these products are frequently mislabeled, exported to foreign markets, and sold to customers who are none the wiser, according to PETA.

RELATED | Dogs Are Being Skinned Alive in China to Make Leather Gloves

“If you buy leather gloves, belts, or shoes, remember there’s no easy way to tell whose skin you’re really in,” says the vegan star, who eschews clothes made from animal skin, wool, and fur. “If you love dogs like I do, then please never buy or wear leather, whether it comes from a dog, a cow, or any other animal.”

+ Chinese Dog Leather

+ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals