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The Price of Fashion

Story ID:10569
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various various
Person:David Kirby
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Even though reptiles are not my favorite animals, I believe- as part of God’s
creation we owe them respect and compassion. Of course, I was not too happy
with them recalling a 60 Minutes episode some years ago. They showed the
yearly crossing of a herd of wildebeest in Africa attempting to cross a crocodile-
infested river. My heart sank when I saw one of them being caught in the jaws
of a croc. Certainly, there must have been many more who were caught, and
sadly this balance of nature thing leaves me much upset. But nobody can change
it. And though I don’t like crocodiles or alligators, I do not subscribe to any
cruelty to them either.

Before I go any further, I remember someone commenting in my last post re my
horror that there was such a thing as a Yulin Meat Festival in China where dogs are
brutalized in the capturing, caging, and finally being cruelly slaughtered for food. He
thought I should be more concerned about human suffering. I think as human beings
we should be concerned about suffering to any living being- whether human or not.
His remark also reminded me of something I had been told years ago. That the people
who care about animal suffering will most likely also care about human suffering. But
sadly, the reverse is seldom true.

And then yesterday I read David Kirby’s post on TAKE PART. It was entitled “Fashion
Don’ts: Alligators Allegedly Tortured Before Being Killed and Turned Into Luxury
Handbags.” Of course I was crestfallen. Here again I would read about another cruel
exploitation of our fellow living creatures who should not be treated so ill- and especially
for frivolous items like luxury handbags or shoes. Fashion “needs” should never be cruel,
but of course they often are. Consider too the wearing of fur coats by which innocent
animals are divested of their fur often in cruel ways. I loved someone saying – the fur
coat always looks better on its original owner.

Per Kirby- Peta sent investigators to go undercover to document what it says is abuse of
alligators and crocodiles in Africa and Texas. (I one time read that Texas was also involved
in cruel rattle snake round-ups).

These Peta undercover investigators were sent to a reptile farm owned by Padenga
Holdings in Zimbabwe. They also have a 50 percent stake in Lone Star Alligator Farms
in Winnie, Texas. When harvested, the alligator and crocodile skins are sent to a
tannery owned by the French fashion giant Hermes. Here they are turned into handbags,
watchbands, and other fashion goods The Hermes crocodile handbag requires two or
three skins to make and can cost as much as $79,500. Imagine making a fashion
statement which costs the cruel killing of 2 or 3 alligators or crocodiles. Also, consider
that the almost $80,000 cost of the handbag would be better spent helping the starving
children of the world.

The slaughtering techniques are cruel. One Peta investigator observed: “....alligators
were shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they’re still able to feel pain.”
Another investigator observed workers cutting into the necks of live alligators and
inserting rods into their skulls to scramble their brains and dislocate the animals' vertebrae.

Who are the real beasts? I think Roxi who commented on this Take Part site summed
it up pretty much -at least for me – and maybe for you too:

“We are beasts. Crocodiles survived the dinosaurs, and the 6 mile asteroid, but perhaps
they will not survive us. So my question is: whose the real monster? It is our responsibility
to educate our kids, sisters, brothers, Mothers and Fathers, friends and anybody we can get
to listen to us. The vanity and narcissism of our times cannot hold against the reality of
the state of our planet. We have to get a clue and soon. Tell everyone you know about
the crocs, whales, dolphins, orangs, turtles, wolves, bees...you know all of the life that truly
supports life. Once again we are not necessary to the health of our beautiful earth. We do
nothing positive here, and in the last 3-400 years we have been unraveling the fabric of life.
It’s like we are on a mad mission to kill everything.”

Well, Roxi is really disenchanted with our stewardship of mother earth, and I basically agree
with what she said. However, she failed to mention the terrible existence of factory farms
where our poor farm animal languish in squalor and suffering- never enjoying movement or
breathing in fresh air. We make them prisoners so that we can feast on their flesh and
products. Isn’t this so?

And on the subject of fashion, I believe this past winter saw many people buying down
jackets and coats. Did they know that the down is plucked from the breasts of LIVE geese
and that their chests become one bloody hurtful mess? It is like if someone pulled out the
hairs on our head. I am so glad that I still wear my coat of fiber fill from the 80’s. Obviously,
I am not into fashion, but I am in to compassionate warmth. Next time you shop for a
winter coat -I hope you too will be satisfied with a fiber-filled coat.