Enforce Regulations on Python Skin Trade

Target: CITES Secretariat, John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General

Goal: Save pythons from extinction by regulating the snakeskin trade more thoroughly.

The International Trade Centre reports that trade in python skins is extremely lucrative, with half a million python skins reported to be exported from South East Asia at a price of $1 billion a year. The key word is, of course, “reported.” With business being this profitable, regulations on the python skin trade have not been enforced and with the growing demand for skins in fashion, the rate at which snakes are killed cannot be sustained and several species are in danger of extinction. Sign this petition and urge CITES to work with local officials to enforce current regulations and create a better system for regulating the trade.

The current laws concerning trade allow for those snakes that are bred in captivity to be sold so that regulators can ensure that snakes have reached their reproductive stage before they are killed. However, there is no way for fashion houses and those buying the skins to know for sure whether the skins they buy come from captivity or from the wild. Illegal snakeskins are smuggled along with legal cargo and bought and sold right along with the legal snakeskins.

In addition to the danger facing the species with the rate at which they are being killed, the methods used to kill the snakes are not humane. Some strike the snake over the back of the head and hope that it takes only one blow to finish them off, while others attempt to cut the heads off the snake, again hoping that they are able to cut all the way through on the first try. Another method commonly used in Vietnam is to inflate the snakes with an air compressor, effectively suffocating them to death. Olivier Caillabet, with the International Trade Centre who reported on the issue told the BBC that because of the way snakes look, they don’t evoke a lot of sympathy in people which makes it harder for organizations to enforce humane treatment of them.

Alexander Kasterine, from the International Trade Centre, who reported on the lax regulations involved with the snakeskin trade stated that an all out ban would not be effective in dealing with the problem. As snakeskins are already being illegally smuggled out of South East Asia, an across the board ban would only seek to increase the illegal trade, not hinder it. A better solution would be for CITES to work with local officials, aiding them with funding, manpower, and training so that they can more effectively monitor the trade. Additionally, the trade system needs to be better regulated so that fashion houses and other buyers can ensure that they are only buying legally traded snakeskins. Sign this petition and encourage CITES to make the snakeskin trade a top priority and to work with local officials to better regulate the trade.


Dear CITES Secretariat, John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General,

CITES allows for a regulated trade of python skins to fashion houses and other buyers. The trade agreements allow for those snakes bred in captivity to be sold once they have reached the reproductive stage. However, this system for regulations needs to be remedied so that fashion houses and other buys can ensure that the skins they are buying come directly from CITES regulated captivity houses.

The skin trade makes over $1 billion annually and the incentive for illegal trade is huge. Locals may catch and kill snakes with a number of inhumane methods and then sell the skin for over $30. Those skins are in turn each sold for a higher price until they end up sold in fashion houses for $15,000.

The rate at which snakes are being killed cannot be sustained and several species are in danger. It would be in your best interests to work with local officials to enforce current regulations on selling captive snakes and to create a better system for regulating those snakes being purchased.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Tim simpson 1 via Flickr

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  1. Like wearing fur, must be abolished.

  2. Dr. Christa Pardeller says:

    Do not be cruel, Do not kill. This is Law and Order of God. Do not kill animals. God sees everything. Not every person will be resurrected from the dead.
    Animals are living creatures!

  3. Suzan Acosta says:

    Any form of cruelty to animals is evil. Judge a society
    by how it treats its animals ! Blood demands blood I am
    sickened how this world abuses , tortures , kills animals without
    any regard for the innocent !

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