How Many Cows Are Killed Each Year for Footballs?

According to our previous report, one cowhide 20 footballs, which mean 35,000 hides, are used to manufacture NFL footballs every year. The perfect 1 in 1 device. One in every four adult cattle is slaughtered every year. A cow’s hide turns into an NFL football after it is slaughtered.

About 35,000 cowhides are required to manufacture 700,000 regulation footballs a year by the official supplier to the NFL.

Nowadays, footballs are typically made from cowhide or rubber, which makes their nickname pigskins somewhat ironic. It is common for football fans to believe that pigskin used to be used to make footballs, which is how they got their nickname, but this is not the case.

 While it’s easy for many vegans to avoid meat consumption in their diet, there are other more ubiquitous ways cows are used.  Have you ever tossed around a non-leather football, for example?   When you add up all the products produced from cowhides each year, the total magnitude of lives lost is staggering…so we visualized it.

The oxy compound is said to be responsible for the pain. The hides of 22 cows are needed to supply the footballs for one NFL Super Bowl, according to NFL.com. Assuming that every other regular-season game requires even half that amount of footballs, which is still close to 3,000 cows headed to the slaughterhouse this season, only.

Although the ball is not made from pigskin, players and fans have referred to it as a pigskin ball for decades. Why? The cowhide used in today’s footballs is the same as that used in the past. Original footballs were made with pig’s bladders, according to research.

Footballs made today are not made from pigskin, but many are made from cows or other types of animal leather, as well. Sports equipment that is not very animal-friendly is a common sight. You can find vegan options in several sporting goods companies.

As a result, the NFL banned these balls in 1976 because the paint on them made them too slick. 

How Many Footballs Does A Cow Make?

Most researchers has observed  that one hide can produce between 15 and 25 footballs per hiding. Approximately 35,000 cowhides are used to manufacture NFL footballs, which is about 20 percent of the total number of hides used. Imagine all the footballs other companies and leagues use as well.

Modern footballs are now made exclusively with cow skin a.k.a. leather. Professional and collegiate football teams are required to use the regulation of real leather balls, but recreational and kids’ teams mostly use synthetic balls. Data collected by David Gassko and Ian Stanczyk for the website Book of Odds sheds a bit of light. They estimate that one cowhide can produce approximately 20 footballs. NFL teams use about 11,520 footballs every regular season, just for games not practices. 450 balls are used during the playoffs, and 76 balls are provided for each Super Bowl. Sounds like a lot more than 3,000 cows.

Unfortunately, football is not the only sport with a skin problem. Other sports that vegans might find morally vexing, based on typical ball-composition, include baseball, basketball, soccer, cricket, and volleyball. This leaves us with bowling, golf, and ping pong. It is a sad day for vegans.

What’s worse, it isn’t just the balls. A great deal of sports equipment is made with leather. Think of all the football cleats, baseball cleats and mitts, soccer cleats, tennis shoes, ballet slippers, and boxing gloves. My own two favorite sports both ball-free still rely heavily on animal skins. Even some running shoes are made with at least some leather, as are mountain biking shoes although animal-free versions do exist.

Are There Vegan Sporting Goods Alternatives?

But don’t despair, there are available options for cruelty-free sports enthusiasts. Eco Sports is making a large scale change in the sporting goods industry. They are making vegan basketballs, soccer balls, & volleyballs, with footballs and baseball gloves coming soon. Still, we can cheer from the sidelines until they have every sport covered. Fun fact, football and baseball require that regulation balls be made from genuine cow skin. 

For the recreational player, things are even better. Your participation in sports can be cruelty-free if you are willing to do a little leg-work. If you shop around, you can buy vegan footballs, basketballs, baseballs, & soccer balls

 


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