WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Shoppers were left shocked when confronted with the reality of the exotic skin trade after an animal rights group set up a pop-up leather shop with accessories filled with fake intestines, blood and a beating heart.
The Leatherworks store, set up by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia in Thailand, featured a selection of luxury goods such as handbags, shoes and gloves for unsuspecting shoppers.
When visitors to the store opened up a garment, which included snakeskin shoes and crocodile-skin handbags, they encountered fake beating hearts, stretchy sinew and pools of blood that coated shoppers’ hands and feet.
The stunt is part of a new campaign created by Ogilvy and Mather Advertising Thailand aimed at highlighting the cruelty of the exotic-skins industry.
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of reptiles are crudely bludgeoned and skinned alive, all for the sake of so-called ‘luxury’ shoes, belts and bags”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi.
“PETA Asia’s gruesome pop-up shop reminds shoppers that the only way to keep blood and guts out of our closets is to choose vegan clothing, shoes and accessories.”
Thailand has the world’s largest crocodile farming industry and is the prime destination for international fashion brands looking for skins, PETA said.
About 700,000 crocodiles are raised in crowded tanks or pools of water on 22 large-scale, and 929 small farms, across the country.
A recent PETA exposé revealed workers sawing open reptiles’ necks while the animals are still alive.
Snakes killed for their skins are commonly nailed to trees, and their bodies are cut open from one end to the other as they are skinned alive.
Their mutilated bodies are then discarded, but because of these animals’ slow metabolism, it can take hours for them to die.
Lizards are often decapitated, and others writhe in agony as the skin is ripped from their bodies.
Puripong Limwanatipong, Associate Creative Director of Ogilvy and Mather Advertising Thailand, said: “Leatherworks allows people to experience and see with their own eyes that every leather product caused a sensitive animal to endure a miserable life and suffer a terrifying death.
“By surprising shoppers with the cruelty behind the exotic-skins industry, we can wake them up and spark change that will save animals’ lives.”