Inside Thailand’s Exotic-Skins Industry

Every year in the exotic-skins industry, millions of snakes, lizards, crocodiles, and other animals are grotesquely abused and cruelly killed. Thailand is notorious for its crocodile, ostrich, and stingray farms, where animals are bred commercially. Thailand also has an extensive tanning industry that produces traditional and exotic leather, such as crocodile, snake, and stingray skins.

Read: Beauty Often Blinds People to Cruelty

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Snakes are commonly nailed to trees and their bodies are cut open from one end to the other as they are skinned alive, in the belief that live flaying keeps the skins supple. Their mutilated bodies are then discarded, but because of these animals’ slow metabolism, it can take hours for the snakes to die. Lizards are often decapitated, and some writhe in agony as the skin is ripped from their bodies. Most crocodile and alligator skins 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 crocodiles’ spinal cords—which paralyzes, but does not kill, the animals. Sources say that Thailand has the largest crocodile farming industry in the world for skins: Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo.

Goods made from crocodiles’ skins are expensive because it takes the slaughter of approximately four crocodiles to create just one handbag.

Every bag, shoe, or jacket that is made from exotic skins and sold in a trendy boutique comes with a high price—a price that’s paid by animals who are ripped from their jungle homes or farmed in barren tanks and then beaten to death, shot, or even skinned alive. Animal welfare is never a consideration for those who hunt, poach, farm, abuse, and kill these animals.

Snake's body being cut open with scissors before being skinned.

A snake’s body being cut open with scissors before being skinned.

Still writhing and twitching, the heads of decapitated snakes are simply tossed aside. Many stay alive for hours until they die.

Still writhing and twitching, the heads of decapitated snakes are simply tossed aside. Many stay alive for hours until they die.

Animals are killed to make handbags and accessories.

After being processed with chemicals to prevent decay, snakeskin is ready for sale.

Indonesia, like Thailand, also breeds animals for the cruel exotic-skins trade.

Wearing animals’ skins is cold-blooded, cruel, and dead wrong. This suffering won’t end until consumers like you make it stop. Please help put this cruel industry out of its misery by boycotting all designers and retailers who profit from exotic skins and spreading the word to your family and friends. Pledge today never to wear or purchase exotic skins again.

Please Pledge to Keep Exotic Skins out of Your Closet