Is Snake Skin Legal?
My name is James Adams and I am a fashion designer, a snake enthusiast and a correspondent writer for the Snake Store® team. As a professional stylist, keeping updated with the most recent legal takes on fashion, particularly leather and fur derived from exotic animals, is a part of my job. Besides the legal aspects, genuine snakeskin and animal cruelty has been a personal dilemma for me. Today, I am going to share the most recent legal statue of genuine snake leather and its influences on the fashion society.
The cross border trade of snake skins is illegal and a threat to the welfare of some species, unless it is obtained from cruelty free snake farms. In most countries, you can still use your personal accessories made from genuine snakeskin without violating the rules if you’re not planning on trading them.
We are going to talk about the following topic in this article;
- The origins of snakeskin from geographical point of view
- Process and handling of snakeskin the cruelty aspects
- The legal status of the snakeskin goods
- A look at celebrities and designer’s opinion about snakeskin fashion
- Sustainable substitutes to genuine snake leather
Read on to learn about the entire take on snakeskin leather, as a popular fashion icon in the coming decade.
1- Where Does Snakeskin Come From?Genuine snakeskin leather is usually sourced from two places; either from snake farms, or from the wilderness. Wanting to know more about the history and journey of snakeskin? Let’s have a look at its preparation through all stages.
a) How Is the Snakeskin Leather Sourced?
Farmed snakes are definitely the most ethical source of obtaining genuine snake leather. These snakes are raised in captivity and often come from non endangered snake families for the purpose of using their by-products such as skin and meat. (Yes, the meat! snake flesh is a traditional ingredient in some countries!). In the best condition, they are raised and then killed under cruelty-free and humane conditions.
Although illegal, wild snake poachers are still responding to the high demand for exotic snakeskin varieties from endangered snake species. Most of these snakes are moving on a thin line between extinction and snake slaughter houses- only because of illegal poachers.
b) Geographical Locations of Snakeskin Manufacturers
Snake poaching and farming are traditionally done around the snake’s native habitats, including the home of the majestic Pythons in South East Asia, Anacondas of Tropical South America, and African cobras and rattlesnakes.
However, most of these exotic leather come from South Asia and countries like Thailand and Indonesia, where snake meat is also considered a native delicacy.
There are snake farms in the United States and within the European Union, but they are mostly dedicated to exotic animal husbandry and venom production, and barely use their snakes for skinning and leather production.
c) Processing of Snakeskin
Once a snake is caught, they are brought to the slaughterhouses. Then they are killed and hung vertically from the wall hooks, and inflated with pressurized water or air to start the skinning process.
Later the skin is peeled and goes through sun drying and tanning procedures. What remains of these snake leather is considered as raw leather material and is ready for manufacturing fashion items.
The snake leather is turned into accessories locally or sent to notable fashion producers to create branded goods.
The journey of snake skin from their original habitats to department stores is unimaginably long and in most cases, accompanied with animal cruelty. If you would like to learn more about how snake leather is processed, go through this complete Study on Snake Leather.
2- Is Snake Skin Legal?
Snake leather production has been a lingering issue for many organizations including wildlife conservation centers, foreign trade government bodies, and even nature-conscious citizens. Here is an outlook on the legal statues of snake skin in 2021 and the reasons behind it.
a) Snake skin and Cruelty
Cruelty on snakes starts from the farms; the captive reptiles are often distressed for the unnatural conditions, badly handled heating and cooling systems and feeding intervals. Most of the third-world snake farms are under-supervised which leaves much space to question the condition of these reptiles.
Snake poachers have been under scrutiny for many years; but as of today, some snake species are facing endangerment and extinction in particular areas for the sake of fashion. They are poached before reaching the age of production, which cuts down on their numbers in the next generation.
Another aspect of snake cruelty is about the very procedure of skinning; At first, some local leather manufacturers do not kill the snakes before starting the peeling process. They are merely hit on the head, which keeps them in an unconscious or paralyzed state.
Additionally, studies show that snakes can still feel pain even after decapitation. This is because of the reptile’s low metabolism that leaves their body conscious of dangers and discomfort.
b) Legal Concerns of Snakeskin Trades
Most of the snakeskin in the market comes from unidentified origins; it means that there is no clear path to whom and where these snakes were raised or processed for their leather.
The illegal shipments of snakeskin often cross the border, entering bundles of leather worth a billion of dollars each year. These activities are considered a violation of the law and leave a negative impression on the economic front of the society.
c) What Is the Legal Status of Snakeskin Now?
Cruelty and lack of sustainability are the major factors that have convinced many organizations to ban the use, sale and distribution of snake leather products. However, each geographical region and government structure has taken a different stance towards the illegal trade of snakeskin.
Government of California has ruled out python skin for over half of a century. People can still use their personal accessories that are made from python skin, but there is no tolerance for selling or buying python products. Doing so, the person may face a $5000 fine and possible imprisonment.
In Europe, there are fines and penalties against illegal trade of snakeskin set into motion by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, Although the high profits involved in this fashion icon has been constantly fueling many illegal distributors.
In most countries, illegally sourced snake skin products are treated as a violation of animal rights as well as international agreements. With extensive efforts of the responsible organizations, the illegal trade of genuine snake skin has eventually decreased.
3- Snakeskin Discussions in Popular Culture
While real snakeskin is becoming more difficult to come by, the popularity of its beautiful patterns has been increasing. How are the designers addressing this matter? Continue reading to find out.
a) What Do Celebrities Think about Genuine Snakeskin?
The forward thinking society is constantly looking for new ways to introduce more nature-friendly and sustainable solutions to fashion. In harmony with the new movements, celebrities have ditched the genuine animalier parts such as arctic fox fur or the exotic python skin dresses.
Besides the new environment conscious vogue, real snakeskin products are banned across many states which puts a constraint on these looks. Other celebrities like Reese Witherspoon have even made their position clear through public announcements and letting go of their old snaking way!
b) Entering An Era of Sustainable Fashion
So, what is the designer solution to reptile fashion without the snakeskin? They have found valid alternatives. With the help of new craft technology, the faux snakeskin leather is barely discernible from the original variety.
The faux leathers also require less maintenance and come with a better durability. The scales on the genuine snake leather point outwards and lose their original shimmer after a few years of use. In effect, snakeskin is one of the least durable materials compared to all exotic leathers.
Faux snakeskin leatherette and structured cowhide and calf leather are noted as the most popular substitutes that are used to produce snakeskin looks by famous brands.
Other designers have taken a different approach to address snakeskin prohibitions, by building their cruelty free animal farms; Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton are among this category. Although if you are a vegan and your lifestyle does not permit using animal derivatives, then snack leatherette is definitely a go to catch up with 2021 animalier trends.
With the support of modern youth towards nature conservation and environment-conscious decisions of fashion designers in today’s world, snakeskin substitutes have become popular more than ever. The Snake Bag Collection offers both sustainability, and elegant craftsmanship to help you stand out in the 2021 snake trend.
4- Say Yes to the Gorgeous Morphs of Snakeskin
You are now familiar with the complete course of a genuine snakeskin accessory from its far-flung origins, to its processing and manufacturing steps, to being sold as a costly fashion item. You have also learned that government and animal rights activists are putting restraint on snake skin production and have even legally banned the trade of this leather in many locations.
In response to climate change and understanding the importance of sustainable living, fashion designers and celebrities are following through with using alternatives to genuine snake leather- setting an example of the new vogue both in fashion and lifestyle.
If you are looking for a pair of shoes to flatter a snakeskin trend look, you won’t have to worry about the legal aspects nor animal cruelty. Check out the Snake Shoes Collection for head turner styles that are made with 100% cruelty-free material and brought to you by fair trade.