Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Bad Ralph Lauren!  Very bad!

When you see the words "Authentic cowboy boot-inspired detailing" and it's not a cowboy boot, then it's time to put down the crayons.

It's not bad enough that they tortured and killed the lizards to make shoes, they made tacky hideous shoes too.

Smart-alec-y-ness aside, the exotics trade is truly horrendous. What follows is a very powerful and distressing video about the exotics trade and the way these animals are captured, tortured and used - often skinned alive.

I do admit I have some items, mostly vintage that have snakeskin and lizardskin (I think, they may be stamped), bought before I made the connection between the animals I loved and the ones killed for a mere accessory. 

All of these injustices are wrong. From using animals for food and entertainment to the seal and whale hunts to the animals used for their skins and wool.  But I find the fur and exotic trades some of the worst along the scale of abject cruelty... because they are so unnecessary. 

Fur, snakeskin, lizard, eel and stingray.  The use of their skins is for nothing more than show.  Some could argue that the leather made from cows' hides are needed because of their durability etc., but you can't argue that about these others.  The delicate nature of their skins mean they are abused even more so than the cows, pigs, goats, kids and calves that are more commonly used for our shoes, gloves and purses.  And the purchasing of products made with them can be easily avoided altogether.

So what does it say that they continue to be killed... when there is no good reason other than sheer vanity? 


Bronwyn said...

Goats, calves, pigs, kids etc are killed for their meat. It makes perfect sense to use the skins as well. Anything else would be immoral.

Likewise it is not wrong to eat or wear animals that have been killed because they are pests. Whether or not you agree with the killing - the alternative is great mounds of decomposing flesh.

You are a vegetarian, but how do you feel about mice and rats? Do you allow them to run around in your kitchen defecating in, and eating, your food? How would you feel about wearing rat-fur? Or, if you are kind enough that you catch and release rats and mice, what about flies and mosquitoes? How would you feel about using the dead bodies of those, should a use be found for them?

Lizards, yes, I can see your point. No need for that at all that I can see - but then I don't know what the situation is where the lizards are killed. Do they eat them? Are they a pest?

I agree about the shoes though, they're horrible.

Anonymous said...

I bought a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals once that just seemed to be leather. When I got them home, a card inside the box said they were made from "wild camel".

I nearly threw up. I returned them and wrote a nasty letter to Jimmy Choo.

Poochie said...


I know you are very much a meat-eater so you may not agree with what I have to say. I think killing the animals for us to eat is immoral. If we didn't do that then we would not have this additional "product" to find a use for.

In terms or killing, eating, using the bodies of animals killed as "pests", I ask - who says they are pests and why? Many people here justify killing alligators because they may have harmed a person or someone's dog. But they are only so close to us and unafraid because we have encroached on where they live and have killed off all of their natural prey. The same with deer - there was once a balance of predators, such as wolves, and prey but that has been lost and who suffers... the animals. Even when there are not issues in the deer populations, local hunting enthusiasts still push to extend the hunting dates and ranges because they like to kill for sport.

Let's see, how do I feel about mice and rats. Generally I feel pity for them. I have only had a mouse in my house one time, and yes, I captured him alive and put him back outside. It is easy to get humane live traps and relocate the animals.

I feel this way for ALL ANIMALS, yep, even the ugly ones. Where I can I will relocate them outside even flies, spiders, etc. If I can safely do it, I will.

For the lizards and snakes used for these accessories, most of them are only hunted to be killed for the skin trade.

Not sure if you watched the video but it has good information as does this link on leather - http://www.idausa.org/facts/leatherfacts.html and the overview of the exotic animal skin trade - http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/exotic-skins-animals.aspx

Anonymous said...

I do agree with this and think that exotic leather goods are nonsense and shouldn't be made. There are many other ways that this can be replicated on leather made from a cow (which the entire animal is already being used and not just for the skin). Now with that said I was a vegetarian also for a few years and can understand where you are coming from and the points you've made. But during my time as a vegetarian I purchased no products that were made from an animal or products that tested on animals to support the cause. Which was hard finding good things that were manmade and still stylish, but I do support the point being made. Oh, and I do agree with you on the trapping and trying to relocate an animal no matter what it be, every living thing deserves a chance (granted I eat meat occasionally, but this is just my opinion). And Browyn, these animals are not pests they are killed in the wild for one thing and that's their skins. Also, how can you be a pest if they are living in their environment and mankind is invading on their territory.

Bronwyn said...

When I think of pests I'm thinking particularly of the possum in New Zealand. It was introduced by man, and that was bad. BUT there are something like 80 million of them here now because there ARE NO PREDATORS. They are ruining the environment for our native birds, which are endangered. In the possums' native Australia they are protected and endangered themselves. If we could catch them and send them back we would, but we can't. There are 80 million of them.

We need to reduce the possum population or we will have no native birds left.

How would you deal with this problem? Remember, not killing possums = killing many endangered native species.

The only way we have found to make a difference in the population lately is by poison, which most of us find completely abhorrent. We would much prefer to kill them quickly, by shooting them. This will only happen if people find it economically viable to spend their time killing possums instead of doing something else. Which means either the government needs to pay people to kill them (very expensive) or we find a market for the fur and/or meat. Possum fur is quite luxurious, and back before the 70s and the anti-fur lobby, many a young boy made an excellent income from killing possums for their fur. And the possum population was kept under control.

I know all this stuff because I live here, but people in the rest of the world only see a cute fluffy animal that'd make a lovely pet (they don't look like American possums, and actually are good pets). I suspect that there are similar cases to be made for other animals in other countries too. The nutria in America springs to mind. Not native and destructive of what IS native.

Bronwyn said...

And as for mice and rats - you've only had one one time. Just try to imagine how you'd feel about them if you had 20 or 30 of them at once. Or if all the flour you bought was full of little black mouse-poo pellets. Because that is what would happen if other people, the ones who run flour mills, didn't kill the rats and mice which would otherwise infest the places.

Sister Wolf said...

Looka like a copy of 60's Terry Havilland wedges. AND Sea of Shoes will go bonkers for them.

Poochie said...


I'm from Florida, we deal with all kinds of "pests", but I still don't think it gives us the right to automatically kill them as a first choice.

And yes, our ancestors were very short-sighted in bringing in non-native species, some by accident and some for their own ends. We see this situation all the time, whether it's feral cats or nutria as you mentioned. But still killing the animals should not be the first choice - as shown in this article there can be other solutions if we are willing to look for them - http://vegansaurus.com/post/1217535538/u-victoria-rabbits-update-goodbye-buns

The government often wants to just kill off animals. Right now we are seeing wild horse round-ups with terrible abuses - http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/the-blm-censoring-wild-horse-roundups/ - and in the past hey wanted to kill of burros from the Grand Canyon. But compassionate people stepped up and stepped in to show they could be relocated instead - http://www.fundforanimals.org/ranch/residents/friendly.html

I understand your thoughts on the Possum problem there. It is too bad that man's greed in bringing them in for their fur has backfired for the country. It also seems as if your government has been looking at this since the 1940s. Doesn't seem as if there has been much progress in 70 years. I also read that there is a program looking at different contraceptive methods which would not harm the animals but prevent them from breeding. Is that getting more funding or is it just easier (and more fun for some) to shoot them? It seems from reading your country's Department of Conservation rules for Possume fur revcover and bounties that profits are definitely a consideration as much as conservation. That makes me suspect of overall motives. - http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/threats-and-impacts/animal-pests/methods-of-control/possum-fur-recovery-and-bounties/

Bronwyn said...

The contraceptive possum thing gets loads of money thrown at it - I am familiar this because I work at a university where much of the research goes on. So far it is not proving to be useful.
You are correct about not much having improved over the last 70 years. I shudder to think how many possums there would be if we didn't do our best to eradicate them.
We also have a wild horse problem, and we have a programme for horse adoptions to deal with it. Every few years there is a round up when excess horses are captured and adopted out to kind horse-lovers. This works very well with horses, but there are only a few hundred of them. We have 80 million possums, 4 million people, and numerous species of seriously endangered birds. Doing nothing is not an option. Waiting for the contraceptive problem to be sorted is not an option. Personally I think 10-80 poison is horrible, but that is what is being done on a regular basis, and has been for decades. I would much prefer humane killing, but that is far too expensive for the tax-payer to afford. The possum fur (and wool) trade is the only way humane killing can be made economically viable. And, like it or not, killing them is necessary.
Our ancestors have made mistakes in introducing animal and plant species to fragile habitats, and we do need to do whatever we can to fix those mistakes.

So go out and buy a possum fur coat. It'll keep you toasty warm over winter, and you'll be saving a few kiwi.