Demand for snakeskin is pushing some species to extinction
Last updated at 10:14am on 1st October 2007
Snake charmer: Kylie Minogue with the sought-after python-skin Zagliani handbag
Animal rights campaigners are furious about this season's fashion trend for python skin.
Designer labels including Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Prada, Fendi, Roberto Cavalli and YSL have all used snakeskin for bags and shoes this year.
Since Kylie Minogue was photographed at a Prince concert last week sporting a python Zagliani bag, demand has risen for the bags costing from £500 for a small clutch to £5,000 totes.
The trend was today condemned by campaigners. Poorva Joshipura, a spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: "A python has a hose shoved down its throat, is blown up with water then skinned alive. Then it's tossed onto a pile and is left, sometimes for days, before it dies. The trade is pushing many species towards extinction and the endangered species of tomorrow can be seen in the luxury shops of today."
The European Union is the world's biggest importer of reptile skins. Between 2000 and 2005, 3.4 million lizards, 2.9 million crocodiles and 3.4 million snakeskins were brought in. Designers claim to use skins from "farmed" pythons, but experts warn there is a thriving illegal trade, especially in India and Indonesia.
Zagliani designer Mauro Orietti-Carella said: "Zagliani was founded 70 years ago as a company that specialised in exotic skins bags. We are not following a fashion moment. We do not make as much as the market demands because we are concerned about the use of too many skins, and will only work in an ethical and environmentally responsible way." Scroll down for more...
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Frenzy for python skin splits fashion world | the Daily Mail