Showing a bloody watch face with knives for hands and the image of a distressed baby alligator, a new PETA billboard has just debuted in Miami, timed to coincide with the International Watch and Jewelry Guild show. According to business reports, most alligator watch bands are bought for and by businessmen, who have no clue about the filthy pits and inhumane conditions in which the animals are raised.
The majority of alligator and crocodile skins used to make “luxury” watchbands and other accessories come from factory farms, where animals are kept on concrete slabs in filthy, half-sunken sheds surrounded by dirty, stagnant water. In the wild, alligators are known to stay with their mothers for up to three years, but in the exotic-skins trade, they’re orphaned as hatchlings. Although a wild alligator’s lifespan is 40 to 60 years, those on farms are usually butchered before they’re 4 years old.
“Wearing an alligator-skin watchband would make your skin crawl if you saw the filthy, feces-filled pits in which these animals are raised and the gory end they come to,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “People pay a high price for these products, but the reptiles on these cruel and disgusting factory farms pay with their lives, and their breeders laugh all the way to the bank.”
A PETA investigator recently documented workers on a Texas alligator farm killing hundreds of young alligators by cutting into their necks to dislocate their vertebrae and then shoving a metal rod up their spinal columns. Some reptiles were writhing minutes after their necks were sawed open—all for $2,000 watchbands.