Snake skin design always seems to be fashionable, no matter the season or the year. The snake skin design has always been a favourite of mine, at least it was until I came across an article in the news which talked about snakes are treated in the illegal snake trade. With 2013 being the year of the snake, I thought it would be a perfect time to campaign to stop the inhumane treatment of these graceful animals.
This month, Gucci have had discussions about a new system in which python skin can be traced across the globe from ‘marsh to market,’ so that both the designers and the customers can sleep with a clear conscience.
So what’s so bad about this illegal trade anyway?
The killing and trading of snake skin is supposed to be closely controlled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) but as of yet they have done little to stop the illegal killing and skinning of snakes.
In the illegal trade, the snakes are killed in some of the most inhumane ways possible: one way in which they are skinned is to pump them full of water whilst they are still alive.
This loosens the skin, and only half drowns them. They are then nailed to a tree by their head, and skinned alive. The skinned snake is thrown onto a pile with its predecessors and it takes around two agonising days for them to die from dehydration.
This is barbaric, and if it carries on at the rate it has been going it won’t be long before these endangered creatures are extinct. It is admirable of Gucci to try and make a difference in this industry, but how much of a difference can they actually make?
A spokesman for Gucci said that ‘traceability means transparency and transparency means credibility,’ and whilst this is true, how is it going to prevent the way in which the snakes are killed? How will it decrease the number of snakes that are being killed?
The answer is, it won’t. The only thing that can is the consumer base; if people stop buying snake skin products then the demand for them goes down, along with the demand for an unsustainable amount of snake skins.
So, next time you’re in your favourite department store, and you see that gorgeous python skin bag, just have a think about how that animal might have endured an unimaginable death just so people like us can have the latest fashion accessory. Exotic and endangered animals should be in the wild, not in our wardrobes.
Fashion needs a conscience, which must ultimately come from us.