A crow saw all beautiful peacock feathers lying on the floor. He did not think long and decided to pry her own bland plumage a little. He simply stuck the beautiful peacock feathers between his own plumage. Proud of his new feather splendor, he went into the middle of a group of peacocks to share in the newly gained elegance.
But oh, they didn’t think it was funny and threw themselves on the crow and plucked not only the strangers but also quite a few of his own feathers. When the vengeful peacocks let go of the crow, the crow stood plucked and much poorer than before. And the moral of the story: You don’t adorn yourself with strange feathers. This is the story of the Roman poet Phaedrus in his fable, from which the phrase „adorn yourself with strange feathers“ was derived.
Poor enough that you have to do it, there are still many people who have to distinguish themselves by decorating themselves with expensive products. This includes those made from the skin of exotic animals. Where seems to apply, the more exotic and expensive, the better. Neither species conservation is considered, nor the consequences for the animals, quite apart from the fact that one should think about how a person sees himself, who defines himself through such products. Why is it necessary for me to carry a bag, shoes or belt made of reptile leather, which is increasingly found in the collections of luxury labels such as Gucci, Prada, Bally and Victoria Beckham? How pitiful is a person who not only has to adorn himself with the lost feathers of peacocks, but also with the dead skin of animals? Can you really be so blind and deaf to the suffering of animals and nature? But the demand is still there, so that it is also served, because these luxury items bring an enormous amount of money.
With Asian pythons alone, retailers turn over an estimated $ 1 billion annually. 6.3 million skins and more than 4 million pieces of protected snakes, crocodiles, monitor lizards and tejus are processed and imported into the EU countries between 2008 and 2017. Almost all animals of monitor lizards, tejus, alligators and cobras come from the wild and only a tiny part is bred, which also makes sense for the producers, since it is cheaper to catch a full-grown animal in the wild than to breed it. Many of the animals used can be found in the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species (CITES) and should actually only be traded to a limited extent.
The numbers look better for the real crocodiles, which are almost always strictly protected, at least at first glance, because 99.3% of them come from farms on which the animal is raised by the egg. The trade proudly calls it a species protection measure, because the eggs taken from the wild would have fallen prey to predators anyway.
Most animals are also skinned alive. For example, monitor lizards are tied behind their backs, stuffed in plastic bags, thrown on trucks and taken to the slaughterhouse, where they are carelessly thrown into a corner. They and snakes are killed by a slap on the head, but what many animals survive, so that they experience the skinning procedure with full awareness, whereby the belly side is cut open and the skin is pulled off in monitor lizards. The snakes, on the other hand, are hung on the head and their bodies are filled with water using a hose so that the skin is plump and easier to peel off. Crocodiles are incised in the neck and then cut the spinal cord with an iron rod.
Despite great outrage, the EU gave in and, since 2016, has again allowed the import of python skins from Malaysia, against the warning of ecologists who warn of dwindling snake populations and the resulting rat pests. Paid reports from the major brand companies that certified the alleged sustainability led to rethinking. Ultimately, only short-term profit counts. The effects on the ecology and thus also on people are hidden.
Anyone who still relies on reptile leather as a prestige item despite everything declares openly as an environmental destroyer and animal torturer. Because people with brains and hearts let animals live.