PETA Senior VP Dan Mathews just penned an earnest appeal to Australian singer Kylie Minogue, who was photographed last week toting a python purse, asking the singer to “bag” her exotic skin accessories (see letter below).
Dan’s appeal is particularly timely because he is on his way to Australia for the Australian launch of his irreverent memoir, Committed, which will include book signings in Melbourne and Brisbane and a debate at The University of Sydney.
Let’s hope Kylie is as receptive to Dan as others have been in the past. Similar appeals have resulted in designers such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren dropping fur from their collections, and stars such as Martha Stewart and Mariah Carey clearing their closets of it.
Here’s Dan’s letter to Kylie.
Dear Kylie,Greetings from PETA, the world’s largest animal rights organization, with more than 1.8 million members and supporters. I am PETA’s senior vice president-and also one of your loyal gay American fans (going back to “Step Back in Time”).As an entertainer who has overcome major personal obstacles, you have shown that you are unafraid to address serious issues. I’m writing to you today about cruelty to animals. You were recently photographed clutching a bag made of python skin, and as a result there has been a flurry of interest in the bag from both followers of fashion and those who are painfully aware of the excruciating ways in which these exotic animals are skinned.Every year, millions of snakes—an integral part of jungle and forest ecosystems—are snatched by the greedy international skin trade. The animals are often impaled on hooks or nailed to trees by their heads and skinned alive. Large snakes like pythons may have a hose inserted into their mouths and be pumped full of water to loosen their skin, so it will cut away more easily. The animals’ peeled, writhing bodies are then discarded, and it can take days before the animals die from the effects of shock and dehydration.And it’s not just in places like Asia and Africa where reptiles are tormented—PETA has conducted undercover investigations at American farms where alligators are bludgeoned in the head before hammers and chisels are used to sever their spinal chords. These methods only paralyze the animals—they, too, are often conscious during skinning. But exotic animal farms are rare—90 percent of these fascinating beings are wild-caught. Those who are “farmed” are usually confined to areas of wilderness that have been fenced off, but because mortality rates are so high, many wild—caught animals are tossed in with them for breeding. The endangered species of tomorrow can be seen in the fashion magazines of today.Kylie, you are such a compassionate person—I can’t imagine you’d wish to contribute to this hidden suffering, especially for something as frivolous as a fashion accessory that can be replicated with no bloodshed. These days, it’s easy to have a look that kills without killing, with fake snake, mock croc, python pleather, and other designer items that pay tribute to the beauty of these animals without massacring them. Won’t you assure us—and those who follow your fashion lead—that you’ll no longer sport exotic skins?Kindest regards,Dan MathewsSenior Vice President