The Medan Connection - Indonesia

The grisly truth behind fashion's reptile skin trade

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This shocking report has already been forcing change at the highest levels of Swiss politics. Travelling to Indonesia, it reveals the brutal roots of the world's luxury reptile skin industry.

"Move over leopard, the star animal print this year is snake!" For the image-conscious elite, snake skin handbags come at a price, but not with a conscience. Tracing the supply chain back to its violent origins, it appears even protected reptiles are not safe. In the rudimentary slaughterhouses instant death is not guaranteed and often the snakes are skinned alive. Laws exist to prevent this, but they are easily circumvented. With illegal snake skin supplying the major fashion houses the industry has a lot of power, which the UN regulating body has failed to control. "Overall the policy makers involved in this trade must accept that there are a range of major problems".

November 2011