A photo taken of Reese Witherspoon out and about in L.A. has sparked some discussion. The talented actress and mom of two, once called the "world's sexiest vegetarian" by PETA, was seen carrying a $4,000 Chloe "Paratay" bag. It's not the price tag that has people up in arms, it's the material from which the purse is made: Exotic python. PETA was quick to point out that the snakes are treated terribly during the skinning process, and carrying a bag like that is not only immoral, but illegal. Apparently, you can't import python into California.
While I don't think Reese is going to be arrested by the state troopers anytime soon, I do think she's going to have to answer to the PETA fashion police for her crime against the snakes.
The exotic skins industry is ugly. There have been gruesome exposes on the subject that show how the animals are skinned alive, their writhing bodies tossed aside carelessly as they're left to die slowly and painfully. It's not pretty.
Reese's bag brings to light a lot of the horrors associated with fine, fashionable leathers and skins, but I think only the strictly vegans (like I would assume those in PETA) are allowed to point fingers at her. Many of us, myself included, have leather goods in our closets from shoes to jackets to that terrible pair of pink suede pants we bought at Anthropologie because they were on sale and we were feeling frisky. But it's not like that leather came from a farm in upstate New York where the cows were grass-fed and then died of natural causes.
Most leather in the U.S. is imported from China and India where conditions for the cattle are abysmal. I won't get into the details, but they're gruesome. A lot of us, again, myself included, don't think too long and hard about where our leather comes from, so PETA making an example out of Ms. Witherspoon's bag might encourage a few of us to look in our own closets and take note. Even though I don't really agree with the way that PETA's run or organized, I think many, if not all, animal rights group would agree that an exotic skin bag is perhaps a bit egregious.
Do you wear leather? Would you carry a python bag?
Photo via Splash News