Hazmat-Clad Protesters Hit London Fashion Week

Posted by on September 18, 2020 | Permalink

As conservation experts warn that the trade in exotic skins risks fuelling the spread of diseases like COVID-19, a trio of PETA supporters wearing bright yellow hazmat suits and gas masks descended on London Fashion Week today to call on designers to drop exotic skins from their collections.

The hazmat-clad protesters held signs made to look like exotic-skins handbags that read “Prevent Pandemics: Bin Exotic Skins” and “Exotic Skins Are Cruel. Wear Vegan.”

Exotic Skins Could Spark the Next Pandemic

Burberry and other brands that continue to use exotic skins are contributing to a serious threat to humans and other animals. Exotic-animal farms are a breeding ground for pathogens and increase the risk of future pandemics, as the intensive farming of exotic animals facilitates the animal-to-human transmission of newly evolved viruses.

Images of workers in blood-soaked abattoirs are reminiscent of the filthy, cramped wet market where scientists believe COVID-19 originated. At such markets, animals such as snakes and lizards, also used for their skin in fashion, can be bought for consumption.

Exotic skins farm
Wet market

Animals Suffer for Exotic Skins

Crocodiles, lizards, and snakes may be poached from their natural habitats or raised on squalid farms and killed in the most gruesome and painful ways before their skins are exported to Europe and used by “luxury” brands. Reptiles, just like mammals, can feel pain, yet they’re frequently mutilated without any prior stunning or painkillers.

A PETA exposé of a farm in Vietnam revealed crocodiles packed together in filthy conditions. Vietnam exports around 30,000 crocodile skins every year.

This is life – and death – for many victims of the fashion industry, whose skins are used to make “luxury” leather bags, belts, and watch straps sold around the world. Animals imprisoned in close quarters take out their aggression on one another, and injuries commonly lead to infection and disease.

When it comes to fear and the desire to be free from pain, we’re all the same, whether we have skin, fur, or scales.

Crocodiles like to have fun by blowing bubbles. Snakes are intelligent and quick learners, and some cobras even “play dead” until potential threats have passed. Just like us, animals want to enjoy life, and they feel fear when their lives are threatened.

What You Can Do

Please speak out for animals exploited and slaughtered for their skins.

British brands Mulberry, Paul Smith, Victoria Beckham, and Vivienne Westwood are all free from exotic skins – while brands such as Burberry continue to use the skins of tormented and violently killed exotic animals. Will you please ask the company to ditch exotic skins?

Please also urge Hermès and LVMH, which owns Louis Vuitton, to stop selling items made with exotic skins – to protect humans and other animals.