Rhett's Fashion Blog

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Rhett on Exotic Skin & Fur (GRAPHIC!)

Those that know me know that I am a crazy huge animal lover. After all, I live in a zoo. I am a cat/snake/gerbil/praying mantis owner.

Major designers use what they call “exotic” skin for their handbags, shoes, accessories, and more recently, clothes. Although the skin is beautiful, the cruelty and pain these animals go through to forcibly give up their skin is not worth carrying a bag, wearing shoes or a belt, or sporting a dress, skirt or shirt made from the skin or fur.


You’ve been warned. One thing I promise is that if my blog, in any way, will contain offensive material, I will always warn you first.

PETA released a video after an extremely long undercover investigation into the skins and furs of the fashion world. Insiders traveled to Indonesia, the leading country for animal parts exported for fashion, and took hidden video. What they saw was unbelievably cruel, terrifying and heart wrenching. I am going to post the link to the video for those interested. Please note, the images are real, as are the sounds. What you will see is gory and chances are, will make you cry. I was bawling while watching this video, and my husband had tears in his eyes. PLEASE READ: Since this video was taken, Indonesia has taken several steps in the right direction to stop these crimes from happening.


The animals seen in this video, along with MILLIONS of others, were being killed for the exotic skin trade. Animals feel pain just as we do. Some of these animals, due to the way their bodies work, can be alive for days after being skinned alive. Yes, they live without their skin. Monitor lizards have the backs of their necks chopped, and rarely will they be decapitated. Instead, they will lay in a pile of Monitors in the same state, slowly dying. Alligators and Crocodiles have chisels jammed into their brains and/or are clubbed until they stop moving. However, that does not mean they are dead, and their vital signs are never checked. Most times they are still alive as their skin is pulled from their bodies. Snakes are nailed to trees by their heads, cut from head to tail, and their skin is ripped off while they squirm.

Animals killed for fur are not leaving this world in any of a less painful or cruel manner. Foxes are electrocuted anally. Most furry creatures are clubbed until they are stunned, and then cut in the same manner as snakes, and have their fur ripped off their bodies. Several witnesses to this horrific scene have reported these animals are still alive and breathing for up to ten minutes. Sit and stare at the wall for ten minutes. Set an alarm, and stare blankly at the wall for ten minutes. When the alarm goes off, imagine doing that in horrible pain. Pain so great that you can’t even begin to fathom it. Now, add in slowly dying. Thousands of creatures go thru this every day, all over the world. Cats and dogs are killed in China. Seals are clubbed in the frozen tundra climates.

This is the reality of the exotic skin and fur trade.

This is a Reticulated Python. This photo is exactly as it seams – it’s head was cut off as the photo was taken. This snake is still alive, and very well could have lived for days after this. At this size, the Retic is a few years old.

This fox is in the process of being electrocuted. Electrocution is the preferred method of killing for foxes, because it fluffs out their fur. However, they are still skinned alive in some places.

Fox bodies after being skinned. No one knows if they are alive or not in this photo.

This is a mink, kept in a tiny,dirty cage. They are mated for 4 or 5 years, then put to death. Not all minks are mated. Once they reach the proper age, they too are skinned alive.

Rabbits are stuffed into tiny makeshift cages until they are chosen to die.

Pelts of big cats. This is highly illegal as these cats are Endangered.

Raccoon tails.

Approximately 280 chinchilla’s are killed to make one fur coat. All that is used for a chinchilla fur coat is a small four inch square of fur on their backs. The rest of this gorgeous animal is thrown away.

Chinchilla pelts


Furs to be made into coats, mufflers, stoles, gloves and more.

This beaver was forced to give his fur, and in doing so, his life, so this bag could be made. She is also wearing matching wrist cuffs.

I do know the designer of this clutch. I won’t post it because I don’t want to be sued. I first saw it in Marie Claire’s August 2011 magazine. This is a real cobra, and the head is still attached.


Now, for some happier images:

This is Hades, a Colombian Red Tail Boa. He belongs to my husband and I. He’s about 8.5 feet and 5 years old.

This is my husband. Around his neck is Lucy. She is his girl, and he loves her to pieces. He is holding Superman.

Lucy enjoying a warm summer day.

Arcadia, our other Red Tail Boa. This was when she was a baby.

Nabisco, my husband’s Siamese/Snowshoe mix. He is almost 13 years old! He is a rescue from our local Humane Society

This is Diesel. He makes the funniest faces. He is a long haired Siamese. He shares his name with his Daddy.

This is Rhett. He shares his name with his Mama. He and Diesel are twins, and 2.5 years old.


They are just a few of our babies. We have always been animal lovers. We donate to animal-related charities, take in unwanted pets, and give advice on how to care for pets. The senseless killing of animals hits home for us, and I’m sure it does for most of my readers. If this blog helps stop one farm or mill, or saves animals lives, I’d gladly walk naked through NYC’s Time Square to help raise more awareness for these horrible deaths.

If you have an exotic skin fashion item, remember, it was once alive. It died so you could carry that bag or wear those shoes. That fur coat is gorgeous, but the fur was much better on the animal that it came from. Fur only looks good on the animal that was born with it.

FACT: Abercrombie & Fitch, Gilly Hicks, Ruehl No. 925 and HollisterCO have clothing items that have rabbit fur in them. Sweaters and cardigans, mainly. However, after much research, I have discovered that this is Angora rabbit fur, which is either brushed out or shaved. The rabbits do not die for these companies. I nearly fainted when I first saw this on the tags of my A&F sweaters and my HollisterCo cardigans. I made my husband do research to calm me down. For this blog, I dug deeper.  Animals are not murdered.

FACT: I’m not sure why some people believe this, but sheep do not die for wool. It is sheared off of them. It originally started because sheep get so hot under all that fluff. Fleece comes from wool.

FACT: There is an exception to the wool rule. 8 sheep die for every pair of UGG boots to be made. There are sheepskin clothing items and accessories, but they state they are sheepskin. To get just wool, sheep do not die.

No animal should die for fashion, ever. If you like the look of snake skin, go faux. Wear faux fur. I have plenty of shoes, bags and accessories that have snake skin print on them. Please, everyone, don’t wear exotic skin or fur. I just told you the terrible truth. Everyone can make a difference.


Stay Sweet,



July 21, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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