Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 19:09 UK

Vegetarian protest over bus seats

Preston Bus
Preston Bus said the buses are more luxurious for customers

Vegetarians are protesting against a bus company's decision to start using a new fleet of buses with leather seats.

Preston Bus has launched its new park and ride vehicles - in Port Way and Walton-le-Dale - with "luxury" extras, which also include wood-effect floors.

John Asquith, operations director at Preston Bus, said they wanted to offer their customers a better service.

But the Vegetarian Society said there were plenty of alternatives to leather that do not involve cruelty to animals.

Annette Pinner, chief executive of The Vegetarian Society, said people were more interested in quality services than on expensive accessories.

"We just don't think it is necessary, it hasn't been practised in the past to have leather seats, so why start it now?

Preston Bus leather seats
It hasn't been practised in the past, so why start it now
Annette Pinner, The Vegetarian Society

She added: "With this company using leather seats, they are actually supporting the livestock industry, which adds to global warming more than public transport put together.

"The gases from methane production add up to 18%, whereas gases produced by transport add up to 13.5%, so it doesn't seem particularly sensible for the transport industry to support the livestock industry."

But Mr Asquith defended their use of leather.

"If you ask most individuals, they are probably not aware of the issues that are involved," he said.

"Unfortunately once animals are killed in the food chain then something's got to be done with the carcasses, and if leather is made as a result of that then personally, I don't see that as an issue."

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