Snakes on the Wane
Luxury fashion labels urged to cease trading with rainforest reptile leather suppliers
A conservationist not-for-profit organisation has called on top fashion brands such as Gucci and Cartier to help end the slaughter of endangered snake species in Indonesia by ceasing to import reptile skins produced in the region.
Rainforest Rescue, based in Germany, say that barbaric methods are being used to skin animals for use in high-end market products such as handbags and watchstraps.
The issue has come to public attention since the circulation of a video clip on the internet which shows the torturous methods used to kill the rare Water Monitor species. The images reveal how the snakes are tied together and kept in plastic bags for days before being killed by a hammer blow to the head. Many however survive this treatment and are consequently skinned alive.
A hook is inserted into the jaw of the snake and their body filled with water by a hose before cuts are made to their skin; many of the animals are still alive at this stage, demonstrated by their wriggling and struggle during the procedure.
Besides this issue of animal welfare there is the matter of protection: Rainforest Rescue say that quotas in place to ostensibly preserve species' survival are not based on scientific statistics on population sizes, and furthermore they are frequently not respected, with many hides smuggled out of the country.
So far Rainforest Rescue has been met with indifference on the part of the fashion and watchmaking industry. Only one Swiss watch manufacturer has responded to the new report, while prestigious brands Hermes and Cartier replied merely that they respect current legislation.
Rainforest Rescue are asking on supporters to help the campaign to end this inhumane and cruel practice by contacting the relevant companies. This can be done by way of a standard email form available on their website: