Written by Guest Blogger
an essay published this week in the Orlando Sentinel, reptile specialist Clifford Warwick—who has assisted PETA
with several cases, including our investigation into the notorious exotic-animal
dealer U.S. Global Exotics—spoke out about the abuse and neglect that is inherent in the
exotic "pet" trade:
Last week, a Brazilian man was
caught trying to smuggle 27 snakes wrapped in nylon hose and stashed inside
stereo speakers, checked as luggage, at Orlando International Airport. He allegedly admitted that he planned to breed them for
the pet trade.
Days earlier, a 17.5-foot-long
Burmese python was captured in the Everglades, probably at one time a pet [who] had been dumped or
In July, a baby in Illinois was
found with a python — believed to be a neighbor's escaped pet — biting and
contracting around his foot as he slept in his crib. . . .
Unfortunately, in my experience with
human and animal health, as well as wider issues of ecology, species
conservation and even economics, harm is inherent and almost universal in
exotic pet keeping. What is abnormal, derided and a prosecutable abuse of a
dog, such as keeping him or her almost constantly locked up in a small kennel,
is normal "care" for an exotic pet, whose life will almost certainly
be spent in a wooden and glass box, wire cage or aquarium.
Ironically, if exotic-pet keepers
saw a small dog or a cat imprisoned in a fish tank with a light bulb for warmth
and some crickets as food, then they, too, would recognize the outrageous
dearth of even basic humane provisions and view the treatment and the animal's
life as nothing less than abusive and cruel. …
Most reptile keepers I know are
passionate about their hobby, but their level of biological knowledge is,
frankly, appalling. …
It is predictable, then, that what
follows is animal stress, disease and death; a recent scientific analysis
conducted in the U.K. shows that three-quarters of all pet reptiles die in
their first year in the home — and that excludes the heavy trade-related losses
that are known to be around 70 percent within just six weeks. . . .
Almost weekly now, independent
scientific and medical evidence is emerging that reveals the depth of the
problems associated with exotic pet trading and keeping. Based on the evidence,
communities around the world are realizing that the only meaningful action is
to ban the commercial trade and, in some cases, also keeping. …
[P]ublic health and safety, animal
welfare and species and environmental protection easily outweigh the habit of
keeping wild animals where they do not belong, do not thrive and, more often
than not, die prematurely and badly.
Via the Orlando Sentinel
Written by Michelle Kretzer
sultry snake charmer looked bootiful
enough to charm the snakeskin
shoes and accessories right off folks outside a Washington, D.C., metro station and convince them to
scale up their fashion sense with faux skins.
the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority rejected our offer to wrap rubber snakes around subway
car poles to convince people who don't like snakes to shed exotic skins, we charmed our
way into metro stations across the country for the sake of snakes.
least one patron got all rattled by the display.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Are you ready for (cue ominous music) … Snakes on a Train?
No, it's not the sequel to that (in)famous Samuel L. Jackson film—although it is the title of a straight-to-video
rip-off. In this case, it's a new PETA campaign that is sure to get some
attention for reptiles
killed for their skins.
PETA is asking the Massachusetts Bay Transportation
Authority (MBTA) for permission to launch its new "Snakes on a Train"
campaign on the T, featuring realistic-looking rubber snakes wrapped around subway poles and
handles, as well as a slogan on the windows that reads, "Snakes Make Your
Skin Crawl? Shed All Scaly Belts and Bags! Watch Video at
Snakes: (c) iStockphoto.com/Eric Isslee - Train:(c) DDholer
PETA hopes to scare commuters out of their snakeskin boots,
shoes, purses, and belts. In order to make snakeskin accessories, these
reptiles are nailed to trees or posts and skinned alive. Their mutilated bodies
are discarded, and it sometimes takes hours for them to die.
If you wouldn't want to hold on to a snake during your
commute, why would you want to have their dead flesh wrapped around your waist,
feet, or personal belongings? Let's shed exotic skins for good.
beauty Dia Mirza
put herself in a skinned snake's shoes to ask her fans to walk away from exotic-animal skins.
Photo: Jatin Kampani | Stylist: Theia Tekchananey | Make-up: Nahush Pise | Hair: Shobha Kewal
putting myself in the place of that snake or that crocodile made me feel sick,"
she said. "How can you wear anything that kills an animal so cruelly to
make yourself look good?"
style that looks good from Bollywood to Boston is kindness. Check out PETA's Polyvore page
for oodles of hip, cruelty-free fashions.
Written by PETA
Reese Witherspoon left many people
shell-shocked when she was spotted carrying a reptile handbag. The Legally Blonde star's python-skin purse
has been legally banned from
being sold in California since 1970.
immediately rushed Reese the video exposé that her Walk the Line co-star Joaquin Phoenix narrated, showing how reptiles used for clothing and
accessories have their heads nailed
to trees, are often skinned alive, and can languish for days before dying.
Reese's camp instantly responded to us, saying that Reese was dismayed to learn
that the bag was made of real snakeskin and promised never to carry it again.
said that she was grateful for the information we had sent her, and we were so appreciative that she bagged
the bag that we sent her flowers as a thank-you. It's good timing, too: Her
upcoming movie This Means War co-stars Laura Vandervoort, who just shot a naked
exotic-skins ad for PETA, so now those two can slink down the red carpet
together rocking mock croc
and fake snake. For a chance to win
your own stylin' faux-snakeskin bag from Urban Expressions, click here!
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Fashion Week is all about the clothes, but one star was there in the flesh—hers. With her naked
body painted to resemble a lizard's skin, Laura
Vandervoort, of Smallville and V
fame, stars in a new ad for PETA (shot by photographer Nick Saglimbeni) that
she unveiled at Toronto Fashion Week while asking her fellow Canadians to shed exotic skins from their wardrobes.
first appeared as a reptile in V, but
this time around, she reprised her role as a lithe lizard to help protect the
animals from being killed
for their skins. "Three or four alligators have to
die for one purse," she said in an
exclusive interview from the photo shoot. "They
nail the snake's head to a tree while it is still alive and peel its skin off. Because
they are cold-blooded creatures, they take that much longer to die, so they
suffer that much longer. … [Y]ou wouldn't skin your dog to wear to an event, to
go out on a date, just for a status symbol. So please, have some compassion for
see behind-the-scenes video footage from Laura's photo shoot and enter to win a
faux-snakeskin bag, check out her full PETA feature.
What do cows, snakes, and foxes all agree on? That they would prefer to keep their skin right where it is, thank you very much. All three species (represented by body-painted PETA members) joined forces in Knoxville, Tennessee, to ask people to wear their own skin, not animals'.
The "animals" grabbed a lot of attention from people coming and going from the surrounding offices, and many people took home leaflets about animals killed for their skins. Even the local police couldn't get enough of the models, assuring them that they would "keep an eye on things." They certainly did—with huge smiles on their faces!
Written by Michelle Sherrow
If you're going to abuse animals, you might want to wear some protective clothing:
A fed-up rooster who was forced to fight one cockfight too many picks on somebody who is not his own size.
A marlin uses his spiked snout to show an angler how it feels to get jabbed in the mouth.
A green mamba shows an Arkansas snake fancier that captivity really bites.
A notorious exotic-animal smuggler gets shell-shocked by a turtle he is attempting to capture.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Last week, Swiss TV network Schweizer Fernsehen (SF) aired a report (in German) showing the results of an investigation that exposed the cruelty of the exotic-skins export trade in Indonesia. Viewers learned that lizards are transported to slaughter by being tied up and stuffed inside plastic bags (where they may remain for days), that snakes suffer in agony as they are skinned alive, and that other reptiles are bludgeoned with hammers.
Anyone who's seen our exotic-skins video narrated by Joaquin Phoenix is already familiar with the misery inflicted on reptiles who are hunted and killed for their skins, but we're thrilled that SF broadcast this report. Although Switzerland is a relatively small nation, its watch industry has been a major buyer of exotic skins, so let's hope that this shocking footage—plus the notable concern of the Swiss for animal rights—will cause a new boom in sales of cruelty-free watchbands!
Of course, watchbands aren't the only products made from exotic skins. Click here to send a message urging designer Jimmy Choo to ditch exotic skins from future collections.
Update: Exotic animal smuggler, Anson Wong, sentenced! Six months in jail and a hefty fine for illegally exporting 95 boa constrictor snakes.
A broken suitcase at the Kuala Lumpur airport led to the discovery of a mata mata turtle and nearly 100 boa constrictors and other snakes who had been crammed into bags. Notorious international reptile smuggler Anson Wong was arrested by airport security and turned over to Malaysia's wildlife department. Does the name ring any bells?
Two companies owned by Wong were suppliers to U.S. Global Exotics (USGE), the wildlife trafficking company that went belly-up after a PETA investigation led authorities to seize more than 26,000 animals from the company's Texas warehouse and the federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue an arrest warrant for Jasen Shaw, who is still a fugitive hiding out overseas.
This isn't the first time that Wong has been suspected of slipping a little more into his luggage than duty-free liquor. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to trafficking in wildlife in the U.S. and was sentenced to nearly six years in prison. Yet here he is, nearly a decade later, still stuffing snakes into his Samsonite.
Next time, let's hope that Wong gets busted in China, where they are dead serious about wildlife smuggling (at least for now).
Written by Alisa Mullins
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.