‘Inside the Billionaire’s Wardrobe’: What the Programme Didn’t Show

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BBC Two’s Inside the Billionaire’s Wardrobe trended on Twitter last night, as viewers were rightly shocked while watching Reggie Yates investigate the reality behind so-called “luxury” animal skin items.

Yates visited fur trappers, crocodile ranchers and snake hunters as he investigated where exotic skins and furs come from, but the programme only scratched the surface of the violent and cruel animal fashion industry. As The Guardian pointed out in its review, as horrific as the featured cruelty was, those animals might actually be the lucky ones, considering the rampant cruelty and abuse not featured in the programme.

Here’s a little extra info for anyone who wants to know the whole truth about where these “luxury” fabrics come from:

Fur

More than 85 per cent of the fur sold today comes from fur farms, where animals suffer in row upon row of cages stacked on top of each other in foul-smelling sheds. Minks, foxes and other animals are locked up for their entire lives before being killed for their skins. Living in these conditions – far from their natural environment and with no opportunity to play, hunt, jump or run – often drives inquisitive, intelligent wild animals insane during their short lives. Fighting, self-mutilation and cannibalism are common on fur farms.

While many people know about the cruelty of Chinese fur farms, we recently exposed what life is like for animals on fur farms in countries that claim to have the highest welfare standards in the world.

Video footage provided a small window into life on fur farms in nine of the biggest fur-producing countries in the Western world: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the US. All fur items from these countries are eligible to carry the fur trade’s high welfare label, which is supposed to guarantee that the animals who were killed to make the item were treated humanely. But as this video shows, the label actually guarantees no such thing.

 

Crocodile Skins

Crocodiles suffer terribly for the skins trade. Inside the Billionaire’s Wardrobe featured just one ranch, but last year, PETA released an exposé showing a bigger picture. At facilities in Texas, USA, and Zimbabwe, investigators documented the appalling conditions in which animals are raised and/or killed for “luxury” bags, belts and watchbands. Alligators are packed into dank pools, and crocodiles are crowded in barren concrete pits for months or even years before finally being slaughtered for their skins.

A PETA investigator documented that workers crudely hacked into the necks of some alligators and tried to scramble their brains with metal rods – all in the name of “luxury”. Some animals were still conscious, flailing and kicking, even minutes after workers tried to kill them.

 

Snake Skins

The snake slaughter footage on Inside the Billionaire’s Wardrobe set Twitter alight. Even Yates had a hard time staying at the facility.

Snakes are commonly nailed to trees, and their bodies are cut open from one end to the other as they’re skinned alive because of the belief that live-flaying keeps their skins supple. Their mutilated bodies are then discarded, but because of their slow metabolism, it can take hours or days for the snakes to die. In some countries, pythons are killed by suffocation: their mouths and anuses are sealed with rubber bands, and they are pumped full of air or water. It can take up to 30 minutes for them to die.

As mentioned on the programme, the illegal trade in exotic skins is rampant, with fraud, poor regulation, mislabelling and a lack of transparency throughout the supply chain. For example, an estimated US$1 billion worth of python skins are imported into Europe illegally each year. In addition, many of the millions of reptiles whose skins are exported from Southeast Asia each year belong to endangered species, whose numbers are drastically dwindling in the wild. There are few laws to protect reptiles from abuse, and those that do exist are often not enforced.

 

One fur fashion designer on the programme advised, “Don’t think about animals”. But thankfully, many designers are thinking about animals and their welfare.

The fur industry won’t tell you this, but it has been on its knees since the 1980s, reduced to sponsoring fashion shows and giving away free pelts in an effort to keep fur visible, but even so, top designers are still rejecting fur. We found that a whopping 80 per cent of the designers that showed at London Fashion Week in February 2015 did not use fur in their autumn/winter collections.

Cutting-edge designers are increasingly staying away from animal skins, realising that trends are set by innovators who embrace eco- and animal-friendly materials as well as advances in fabric and fibre technology that make the most out of metal, cotton, cork and synthetics. Vivienne Westwood, Shrimps, Christopher Ræburn, Felder Felder and Simone Rocha are just a few of the designers and brands working with new technology to produce exquisite vegan fabrics whose production doesn’t require animals to bleed.

As TV star Deborah Meaden tweeted during the Inside the Billionaire’s Wardrobe broadcast, “Wearing fur is an outward sign of inner ugly”. Boycott cruelty: never wear fur or exotic skins, choose vegan fashion and learn more about other ways animals suffer for fashion:

Comments

  • Glo Macari. commented on April 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    And even after all this information and heartbreaking pictures of this needless suffering that just goes on and on, the people on this planet don’t care , they are one hundred percent selfish backward souls. We don’t need to use animals for anything, they should be running free and happy. But until people learn to care, we will be there voice and fight for everyone.Hear my song called The Animal Song on U Tube .Glo Macari .

  • kathleen shutt commented on April 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    to think the rich are paying all that money and causing those animals to suffer the shops should be made to put posters up showing these animals suffering then they might get the message.

  • Abhilasha commented on April 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    All they are cruel….. shame on them….

  • Amanda Williamson commented on April 27, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    I was appalled at the content of Inside the Billionaires Wardrobe. I was hugely upset and outraged as well. Those poor defenceless, beautiful animals, being subjected to such barbaric, inhumane treatment. There needs to be so much more coverage. Urgent action should be taken to stop all fur, crocodile and snake trade. It should become an offence to either keep these animals, trade in them or sell them. Licences need to be taken away. How could anyone, in society think that it is acceptable for animals to live in this way, so that certain humans can benefit. It’s deplorable, it’s cruelty on a mammoth scale. Fur, crocodile skins need to adorn the animals that they belong to. They aren’t there to adorn us, for we have our own skin. Shame, that those who inflict so much pain on these undeserving animals can’t feel this pain. I just can’t understand how any of these people can think that there is a purpose justification for what they do. It all needs to be abolished soon. We can’t leave these poor animals to suffer anymore.

  • Jayne Robinson commented on April 27, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    There is no need to wear fur. Plenty Of other man made fabrics around. Animals should be the only ones that wear their fur. Terrible tortured poor animals in the name of luxury.

  • Rodney Pace commented on April 28, 2016 at 12:01 am

    We need to stop this fucking insanity bullshit ofkilling our animals for there skins!!!!! How about this, kill all inmates in prison for there fucking skins.you want fur use there hair from there heads.PLEASE STOP KILLING OUR ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cynthia price commented on April 28, 2016 at 1:16 am

    We are living in the 21 st century there is no need to wear skins as cave men in the Neolithic period did . I never have nor ever will wear any form of animal skin .

  • P Turner commented on April 28, 2016 at 6:33 am

    I have seen many forms of cruelty,but this fur trade is horrific,people who can abuse animals in this way are definitely not human.
    If photographs can be taken then surely the authorities can get in & put a stop this kind of trading.
    The thing is its not just carried out in China it’s wide spread,from countries you would never imagine.
    I pray for this to stop.

  • Carol Pauline Rauss commented on April 29, 2016 at 8:46 am

    It is not only the “billionaires’ wardrobes”! Each and every little trim or accessory (a pompom on a hat, a collar or trim of a hood keep these businesses and suffering alive!

  • Dez Stewart commented on May 24, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Why?…… :'( animals don’t deserve that torture just for coats an other stuff!!!! D,X
    THIS ISN’T FAIR!?!?!?! DX

  • Tracey Loisz commented on July 31, 2016 at 11:37 am

    The rich people that wear the fur and skins are obviously moral less beings … Can’t call them human beings . Fur belongs only in one place and that is on the creature that it is born on .

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