Chandigarh: The Punjab government has urged government schools to ban the wearing of leather shoes, officials said on Friday.
Punjab`s Director of Public Instruction (DPI)-Schools, issued the directive after the state government received an appeal in this regard from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights group.
According to government officials, this step has been taken with a view to stop atrocities against animals and to save the environment.
"Leather shoes should be replaced by canvas shoes that are more comfortable, economical and eco-friendly," said a spokesperson of the Punjab government.
"Turning the skins of cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats into leather requires massive amounts of toxic chemicals. People working in these units are also suffering from various nervous disorders, skin problems, respiratory infections and cancer," Himani Shetty, PETA India`s spokesperson, said.
PETA had written a letter to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and DPI (schools) April 26, 2011. Following this, a memorandum was issued to the schools.
"Now we are confident that more states will follow this initiative of Punjab and the day is not far when all schools in India will be leather-free," Shetty said.
Neighbouring Himachal Pradesh has also banned leather shoes as part of uniform in government schools.