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The vile cruelty behind the snakeskin industry exposed

Little thought is given to the pythons, still writhing in pain for up to 48 hours. The only thing that matters are the reticulated python’s supple skin and diamond patterns, which are lovingly cleaned, carefully coiled and dried, before being sold.

JANE FRYER: ‘Deep in the Indonesian jungle, reticulated pythons are being slaughtered by the thousands. Not quickly, or humanely — but tantalisingly, agonisingly and monstrously slowly. First, they are smashed on the head with a mallet — not hard enough to kill them, just to stun them, which makes it possible to wrench their jaws open and shove a hosepipe down their throats. Their bodies are then filled with water and secured with elastic bands at both ends. This bloats them like balloons and makes it easier — once their heads are nailed to a meat hook and a couple of incisions have been made — to skin them with a few hard yanks, before their still-live bodies are thrown onto a pile. But this doesn’t kill them.

Because pythons have such low metabolic rates — their heartbeat can be as slow as 12 beats per minute — they live on and on, after being bludgeoned, inflated and skinned. Once in this state, it can take a couple of days of excruciating pain before they die of shock or dehydration… What possible reason could there be to make the world’s longest snakes suffer in such a gruesome manner? The fashion industry, of course! Namely, expensive, high-end, exotic-skins fashion — python bags, belts, shoes, boots, trainers, wallets, purses, credit card holders, baseball caps, you name it.

Little thought is given to the pythons, still writhing in pain for up to 48 hours. The only thing that matters are the reticulated python’s supple skin and diamond patterns, which are lovingly cleaned, carefully coiled and dried, before being sold… Snakes aren’t cute and cuddly in the same way foxes and rabbits are,’ says Yvonne Taylor, of the animal rights group PETA. ‘But just like mammals, they are sensitive to pain and suffering.’ Yet the traffic in exotic animals for flesh and skins is the third largest — after weapons and drugs — in the world. Every year, about 500,000 python skins are imported from South-East Asia to Europe legally, complete with the correct paperwork from CITES’. SOURCE…

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