Today, PETA Asia kicked off a campaign to awaken the public to the cruel truth behind the exotic skins industry. An exhibition posing as a luxury leather pop-up store was set up in one of Bangkok’s hippest retail centers, with surprises lurking within.
When shoppers open bags, jackets and other products, they will see an apparent animal heart beating inside, illustrating how many reptiles are slaughtered alive and left to die of dehydration, which can take hours or days. Shop staff will be on standby to provide the information about the exhibition and campaign details.
Jason Baker, Vice-President of PETA Asia, said, “Every year, hundreds of thousands of reptiles are caught and slaughtered as part of the exotic skins industry. People, however, do not know how these reptiles suffer before turning into shoes, belts and bags. We know that the only way to help these animals is to make people realize that they are part of this criminal action, indirectly though. We hope this campaign will wake people up and inspire them to take the right action by only purchasing vegan clothing products.”
Thailand has the world’s largest crocodile farming industry and is the prime destination for international fashion brands looking for skins. About 700,000 crocodiles are raised on 22-large-scale and 929 small farms across the country. In the wild, crocodiles can live for up to 80 years. On crocodile farms, however, they are slaughtered for their skins starting at the age of three.
Most crocodile and alligator skins used for making shoes, belts and bags come from farmed animals who are raised in crowded tanks or pools of fetid, stinking water. The animals are shot or crudely bludgeoned with hammers. Workers sometimes use a mallet and chisel to sever the animals’ spinal cords, which paralyzes, but does not kill them.
Snakes, meanwhile, are commonly nailed to trees and their bodies cut open from one end to the other as they are skinned alive. Their mutilated innards are then discarded, but because of their slow metabolism, it can take hours for the snakes to die. Lizards are often decapitated, but some still writhe in agony as the skin is ripped from their bodies.
Puripong Limwanatipong, Associate Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Thailand, said, “Many of us have heard of how these reptiles are slaughtered but only a handful of them really understand the real situation. We believe that allowing people to experience and see with their own eyes the torture these animals suffer before their skins are turned into leather products would effectively wake them up. This is the original concept of this pop-up store, “The Leather Work”. The key element of this pop-up store is therefore to surprise shoppers with the cruel hidden truth that will hopefully create change.”
PETA Asia is an affiliate of PETA US, the world’s largest animal rights organization, which has more than 3 million members and supporters around the world. PETA Asia and its affiliates are dedicated to establishing and protecting the rights of all animals. PETA Asia operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment. PETA focuses its attention on the four areas in which the largest numbers of animals suffer the most intensely for the longest periods of time: in factory farms, laboratories, the clothing trade, and the entertainment industry.”