‘Drive the Snakes Out of Your Closet!’ PETA Evokes St. Patrick in Plea to Ditch Reptile Skins

For Immediate Release:
March 13, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382


St. Patrick’s Day revelers might feel compelled to rush home for a bit o’ early spring cleaning this year after they spot PETA’s new visual appeal near the Grant Street route of the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade urging passersby to take a cue from the holiday’s namesake—who, according to legend, drove the snakes out of Ireland—and banish clothing and accessories made from the skin of tormented reptiles from their wardrobes.

Text reads: Drive the snakes out of your closet. Ditch exotic skins, wear vegan.
Credit: PETA

“St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect time to cast cruelty out of your closet and take a stand against an industry that inflates, electroshocks, and often skins sensitive reptiles alive for belts, bags, and shoes,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA encourages everyone to let this gruesome trade know that the jig is up and choose only vegan clothing and accessories that no one had to die for.”

PETA entities have released a number of exposés documenting rampant cruelty in the snakeskin trade, most recently of two python farms that supply skins to Caravel, a tannery operated by Kering, owner of Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. A prior PETA Asia investigation into a supplier in Vietnam shows that pythons’ mouths and anuses are closed off with rubber bands and that workers cut a hole in either the snakes’ heads or tails to insert a hose and inflate the animals to death with an air compressor. The investigation further revealed that snakes are pumped full of water to loosen their skin before it’s peeled off—often while they’re still conscious. PETA entities’ investigations into the reptile-skins industry have also documented that workers electroshock crocodiles, shove metal rods into alligators’ heads in an attempt to scramble their brains, and hack at the heads and necks of fully conscious lizards with machetes.

In light of the cruelty inherent in the industry, a growing number of fashion brands have ditched reptile skins—including Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Jil Sander, Nordstrom, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, and Vivienne Westwood—and many others are meeting the growing demand for sustainable, animal-friendly products by offering vegan options made from innovative materials like apples, cacti, mushrooms, and pineapples.

 PETA’s message can be found on a kiosk at the intersection of Grant Street and Liberty Avenue (directly along the route of the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade) and on bus shelters at the intersections of Grant Street and First Avenue (just off the parade route) and Penn Avenue and 30th Street (near Mullaney’s Harp & Fiddle).

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

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