I wanted to start off my blog by posting about sustainability and the exotic skin trade. This is such a hot topic and has been for years. Sadly, due to all the propaganda and misinformation from animal activists and groups like PETA, the average person has the general impression that maybe it's not good or ethical to use exotic leathers.
When brands like Chanel "take a stand" and declare they won't use exotic skins anymore for their production, they are just virtue signaling and trying to profit from positive media exposure. The truth is it has nothing to do with their "ethics" and all to do with profitability and not having a good supply chain to source their exotic skins. It's shameful that these big brands use their massive power to promote disinformation among consumers on such an import issue (that they claim to care about), all for the bottom line.
Well, I want to help spread the truth about this issue. Not only because in my business I use a lot of exotic skins, but also because I believe that people, like me, who truly care about the environment and animals should know the truth. They should know the science behind it all and the long term conservation programs that have been in place for decades that prove the science. They should know that stopping the exotic leather industry is actually damaging to the environment.
The public needs to understand that the highly regulated exotic leather industry achieves exactly what we all want: a cleaner, more sustainable world that not only supplies us with amazing natural products, but at the same time secures and grows the population of these amazing animals and supports their environment.
So let's start off by taking a look at the science.
The following FAQs have been compiled by 15 of the world's leading scientific experts on reptile biology, conservation management, and trade. They provides answers to common questions and myths about exotic leathers based on the best available science.
I have added here the short answers. For the full, more in-depth answers to these FAQs I highly recommend visiting https://www.epicbiodiversity.com/faqs . EPIC Biodiversity is a global consulting company specializing in research and cross-sector collaboration to achieve sustainable impact for the environment, people and conservation.
I would love to hear your all comments and thoughts on this topic! Especially if you have worked within the fashion industry and have some behind the scenes insight.
1) Is the use of reptiles by people a recent phenomenon?
No. People have been using reptiles as a source of food, material, and medicine for thousands of years.
2) Why are reptile skins considered exotic leathers?
Reptile skins typically include ornate and intricate textures and patterns that are not often seen in leathers derived from conventional livestock. By western standards they are sourced from non-native species native to tropical and ‘exotic’ locations.
3) Why does the luxury industry still use exotic leathers?
Exotic leathers are durable and versatile renewable materials. They are far superior to imitations and alternatives in terms of CO2 emissions, ecological sustainability, and the benefits they deliver to rural communities.
4) Is using exotic leathers responsible?
Yes. Using exotic leathers confers substantial benefits to wildlife conservation, environmental sustainability, and rural livelihoods.
5) Are all harvested and farmed reptiles destined for the luxury industry?
No. The greatest proportion of the reptile trade comprises food and pharmaceutical sectors. Leather is often a co-product of these industries.
6) Is farming or harvesting reptiles hazardous for workers?