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Animal rights group protests over leather use

Staff at DaimlerChrysler UK’s headquarters have been on the receiving end of a peaceful protest against the manufacturer’s use of leather in car interiors.

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) gathered outside the office in Milton Keynes to display a banner protesting against offering standard leather upholstery on many Mercedes-Benz models. The protest coincided with the arrival of employees, but DaimlerChrysler says work was not disrupted.

“It was a very small protest by around half a dozen people. It was business as usual as far as we were concerned,” says its spokesman.

DaimlerChrysler maintains that all leather used in its cars is produced as a by-product of the beef industry, and not from animals specifically bred for hides.

In the UK, DaimlerChrysler offers buyers at least one leather-free variant in every Chrysler, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz and Smart line-up.

But PETA campaign director Poorva Joshipura wants Daimler-Chrysler to offer non-leather options across the entire Mercedes range, and warns protests will continue. However, PETA has no plans to target any other carmakers.

“DaimlerChrysler is such a leader in the automotive industry that if it starts to make changes then other car manufacturers will follow suit,” explains Joshipura.

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