As people around the world prepare to ring in the Year of the Snake, here's a simple way to honour these mysterious, misunderstood animals: Keep them out of your wardrobe. Snakes and other reptiles should not have to suffer and die just for our cold-blooded vanity.
According to a recent International Trade Centre (ITC) report, the global trade in python skins is threatening these animals' survival. Half a million python skins are exported each year from Southeast Asia to be turned into designer handbags, boots and other accessories, and the extent of the illegal trade is thought to be on a par with the legal trade.
Many snakes are illegally caught in the wild _ and killed before they are able to reproduce _ because it takes so long for farmed snakes to grow large enough for their skin to be usable.
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