Is it ok to kill a croc for a ‘to-die-for’ designer handbag?

Like many, I wear leather. No qualms whatsoever. You know why? Because leather is a wearable by-product of animals that are slaughtered FOR FOOD.  The animal involved is not killed mainly for its skin -but for its meat.

Like many, I DO NOT and WOULD NOT wear fur. Fur is a different beast entirely. It is not the by-product of anything other than the fashion industry’s desire to sell clothes.

I actually think fur is gaudy and as much as I love her work… I wouldn’t even buy one of those rabbit fur-lined cardigans Alannah Hill was selling last Autumn either. (Boy did she cop it sweet for that.)

I do however, wear leather shoes, belts and bags, and I do so with not a hint of guilt.  I’m vaguely aware of what happens in slaughterhouses but it’s not enough to make me a vegetarian, so why would it stop me buying a nice leather wallet?

To be honest, I’ve always considered animal activists a bit radical. Probably because they have to be extreme in order to get noticed.  Just look at a couple of these ads for PETA…

 

What do you think? Anti-fur, or pro-nakidity?

 PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)  have a long list of celebrity support.  Like everything in society these days, if a celebrity is involved we tend to pay a bit more attention.

PETA is no different, and you have celebrities on both sides of the fence. Access Hollywood reported the following:

Catherine Zeta-Jones might be known for her beauty and style – but PETA has crowned the 40-year-old actress as its biggest fashion offender on its annual “Worst-Dressed” List.

“With her creepy cow-skin pants, ugly fox coat, and icky alligator bag, Catherine Zeta-Jones looks like she’s working her way through Noah’s ark with a knife,” the animal rights organization said of Catherine in a statement to Access Hollywood. “Maybe she’s trying to get into character for an upcoming role as a serial killer — or a taxidermist.”

PETA is planning to hold a protest outside the actress’ Broadway play, “A Little Night Music.” before Saturday’s matinee.

A slew of other Hollywood starlets also made PETA’s list for their love of fur, leather and exotic animal skins.

Jennifer Lopez, who PETA calls, “Jenny from the butcher block” is called out for wearing “old-school corpse coats.”

Jessica Simpson received some harsh criticism from the group – they said her wardrobe choices “all resemble her career – dead.”

And when it comes to Kate Hudson, the animal rights group questioned if her love of fur drove away ex-boyfriend Alex Rodriguez.

“Kate, there’s no easier way to lose a guy in 10 days than by wearing a hairball,” the group said the statement. “Maybe your furs are the reason why A-Rod ran for home.”

See my point on extreme? I mean those statements are not only criticisms for the act of wearing animal products, but harsh judgements on the person that I consider not necessary.

Fur comes from a range of animals: dog, rabbit, fox, raccoon, mink… the list goes on. I don’t care if rabbits or possums or even kangaroos are considered vermin by some. I still wouldn’t wear the fur of animals that are killed for no other reason than to make clothes – usually in the most gruesome, torturous and unregulated ways imaginable.  Incidentally, I also find people like Sarah Palin, who kill animals for sport disgraceful. 

I think mostly the fur years are over, and that the word is out – wearing fur is like serving lambs brains at a dinner party. We all know where it came from, and we just don’t want to see that. The anti-fur campaigns that started in the 90’s worked wonders. So when we do see a celebrity wearing fur, yeah we all go, “Oh that’s disgusting, that’s so cruel. How vile.”  The Olsen twins are a big target for PETA because they openly war fur, and look what happens to them:

 

Meanwhile Victoria Beckham jets about town with 3 crocodile skins slung over her arm, and nobody thinks anything of it, except, “Wow, love the bag!”

And I am one of those people.

In a world full of shoe-girls…of Carrie Bradshaw wannabes with the latest Manolo’s or Jimmy Choos, I’m just not.  I’m most definitely, a bag girl. Actually these days I’m more of a T-shirt and thongs girl, but in the silk markets of Beijing China, it was the handbag level that had my heart palpitating, my mouth salivating, and my wallet in a constant state of disabled parking – vacant & empty. So many gorgeous styles, so many wonderful colours, so many, so many… I want them all.

Posh’s collection of bags is worth around 3 million Australian dollars. My favourite bag that she is constantly seen with, sashaying through airport lounges and leaving boutique restaurants is the Hermès Birkin… named after actress Jane Birkin. It’s up there with the Hermès Kelly, a bag inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco – a woman whose style I adore.  I’m talking about bags that have waiting lists. Bags that women lust over. Bags that are considered commodities. A bag that requires approximately 3-4 crocodile skins to make and costs around US $74,000 (Current  ebay – price).

And it’s not just Posh – plenty of celebs have them.

 

We hear a lot about fur and leather… but not so much about reptiles. And I know why. Here’s my theory:

Snakes, Crocodiles, Alligators.. They’re predators that will destroy you. Nobody makes movies about killer rabbits, or even killer foxes. Hello? Cows On A Plane doesn’t have the same ring to it as Snakes does it? And Rogue? The movie that was shot in the Territory about an overprotective croc… Can’t imagine them naming a film ROGUE about a killer possum.  Surely these beasts deserve to die?

Where I live, crocs are everywhere. I see them all the time – mainly on the front page of the local paper. But as a Territory Bushranger once told me, if there’s a body of water, you can pretty much bet there’s a croc to go with it. Of course the Dept of Housing and Parks maintain croc free swimming holes for tourists, but generally speaking, the crocodiles are everywhere. And crocodiles are practically sacred up here. It’s illegal to kill them, and if a crocodile does end up dead at the hands of a senseless idiot, there is public outrage.

Geckos and small lizards aside, most reptiles are dangerous. Nasty, killers… creatures of death. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a trip down cartoon memory lane and look at who the bad-asses were. Even in Harry Potter, he whose name shall not be spoken, Voldemort – is a snake.

 

Do I personally love crocodiles? No way. They terrify me. It all started when I was about 10 years old and there was a mini-series on TV called Return To Eden starring James Reyne.  I have personal phobias with not only crocodiles, but any type of reptile. I think they are revolting and slimy and the thought of a lizard or gecko crawling up my leg, makes me feel like bringing up breakfast.

Actually, it’s quite pathetic. When I notice a gecko has snuck its way inside our house, It’s like I have a bad case of epilepsy.

So do you think we care that a beast, a dangerous reptile, a predatory monster of an animal is killed for a bag – a soft, beautiful to touch, gorgeous stylish bag? Or belt? Or jacket?

Joaquin Phoenix does. I saw this video for the first time 2 weeks ago and it horrified me.

Animals that freak me the hell out, that make me shiver with disgust, that I have wished harm upon many times…. I cried for them watching this. I dunno – call me Bindi Irwin, but I covered my mouth, tightened my throat and made myself watch.

WARNING: This video contains graphic scenes of animal cruelty and torture.

Can I just say quickly – I’m glad that Joaquin decided to lose his bush beard before filming this. He had absolutely no cred whatsoever with that thing growing on his face.

That Birkin bag? I still think I would be thrilled if I got one as a gift one day. And I KNOW that if a lizard or gecko came inside, I would still coax it into a corner and trap it until my husband came home to take it outside… (Yes, I have a special plastic container and in black texter on the lid I have written ‘Gecko Catcher.’ I think I need a bigger container though because I keep going to trap the little critters and miss their tail and it comes off and wriggles around for about an hour or so…. Eeeuw, I’m making myself gag just thinking about it….)

See? I still consider reptiles to be horrible, slimy beasts.  I would still LOVE to wear 3 of their necks on my arm though. And I still think cow leather is ok, because I still eat meat.  In fact over the weekend alone I ate at least 4 different varieties….

But I don’t like the way they’re killed in that video. I don’t like that it hurts them. I don’t want them to suffer… well not that much anyway.

 Is it ok to kill a croc for a ‘to-die-for’ designer handbag?

I can’t decide.

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3 comments

  1. mystafied · April 8, 2010

    Fascinating read!

  2. Dara · April 8, 2010

    Wow, what a powerful video.
    I am a self confessed clothes whore (some call it fashionista) and covet a Birkin Bag knowing that I will probably never get one. Cindy – you should read ‘Bringing home the Birkin, by Michael Tonello.
    I have recently become good friends with a vegan and I sometimes wonder at the lengths he goes to such as not eating honey because it exploits the bees, but now I understand a little bit more – I will defintiely think twice buying leather etc in the future considering there are so many alternatives now.

  3. Pingback: What’s in HER handbag? « Cyclone Cindy

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