Skinned Alive For The Exotic Fashion Industry

Are  snake farms the solution in tackling the black market for python skin and conserving the species  - while at the same time stocking fashion houses with the luxury diamond-patterned leather?   With increasing demand for python skins accessories by Europe’s fashion houses,  there is much fear that the increasing demand will put pressure on wild populations and thus fuelling underhand activities.  Besides there is no certainty in  knowing as to whether a skin is farmed or taken from the wild. 
On the other hand  captive  breeding can be questionable because farms could act as fronts for people to catch wild snakes, then trade their skins as captive bred.  So long as there is demand there will always be a supplier.
The illegal trade in exotic skins –like all wildlife - is a high profit, low risk endeavour.  There is easy money to be made without worrying too much about getting caught.  Even if the snakes are wild or captive bred there are other ways to avoid the legal system either through falsification of permits and forgery of other documents. 
The move for reform by the wildlife department – tackling sustainability and traceability and the illegal network may be  good but it means absolute nothing compared to the issue of animal welfare. 
SAM believes that no sentient being deserves to be killed for something as frivolous as fashion.  For behind the luxury fashion accessories lies a dark truth. The barbaric, cruel, stomach churning insights by witnesses  into the skinning of snakes alive could make for gruesome reading.      Snakes are commonly skinned alive in the belief that live flaying keeps the skins supple.   Furthermore  laws to protect reptiles from such abuses are almost non-existent.   
Equally pertinent are the growing concerns about the impact the reptile skin trade is having on fragile species and the eco-systems in which they live. Conservation of snakes is vital due to the role they play within their ecosystems.  If allowed to disappear from rice fields, their prey could cause devastating effects on agricultural production, food security and national economies.
People have come to fear these stunning animals, because of their unearned negative reputation.  It is high time to consider the plight of the reticulated python, the most popular when it comes to the manufacture of shoes and handbags and there is fear that it cannot cope in the long term with the high out-take by the commercial skin trade. 
Reptiles are cold-blooded but wearing their skins is cold-hearted.  Leave the skins where it belongs - on  its “original owner”.
  
S M Mohamed Idris
President

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