Louis Vuitton leather yoga mat draws Hindu complaint

BOSTON (AP) — A Hindu activist is calling on luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton to pull a yoga mat made partly from cowhide leather, calling it “hugely insensitive”.

President of the Universal Society of Hinduism Rajan Zed said in a statement on Tuesday that the mat is “highly inappropriate” to practicing Hindus, who regard cows as sacred symbols of life.

“The scenario of yoga — a profound, sacred and ancient discipline introduced and nourished by Hinduism — being performed on a mat made from a killed cow is painful,” Zed said.

Paris-based Louis Vuitton did not immediately respond on Tuesday to messages from The Associated Press (AP) seeking comment. The company’s yoga mat, made mostly of canvas with leather details and a cowhide carrying strap, retails for USD2,390 online.

In an email to AP, Zed called on Louis Vuitton executives to apologise and adhere to its corporate code of conduct, which includes commitments to ethical and social responsibility. The company “should not be in the business of religious appropriation, sacrilege, mocking serious spiritual practices and ridiculing entire communities”, he said.