So, what has happened? Has this system, that costs the price of 2 rubber bands, 2 used soda cans and a smart phone been rolled out? No, the SodaCam Tripod hasn’t been rolled out and neither have any of the other systems that have been considered over the last 20 years for tagging either individual skins or batches. Other than luxury companies and industries collaborating on countless studies and papers regarding traceability systems and processes, nothing has been implemented.
It remains comically easy to launder illegally harvested snakes into the legal supply chain of some of the richest companies in the world. This was highlighted by research published earlier this year which found between 2003 and 2013, luxury fashion brands had thousands of exotic leather goods seized by U.S. law enforcement; 5,607 individual items, nearly 70 percent of which were exotic leather products. Reptiles accounted for 84 percent of all items, many of which were belts, watch bands, wallets, shoes, and purses. According to the official seizure records Ralph Lauren accounted for 29% of the seized items, Gucci 16%, Michael Kors 10%, Jil Sander 6% and Coach 5%. Gucci had the highest number of individual seizure incidents—50—followed by Yves Saint Laurent at 41; other designers who has product seized included Diane von Furstenberg, Chanel, and Versace.
In response to the research Molly Morse, a spokesperson for LVMH, which owns a number of companies on the list—including Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Fendi—said in an email that the seizures connected to LVMH “were many years ago and generally related to paperwork and labelling processes.”. Well, it doesn’t matter that it was many years ago, given that the monitoring system hasn’t been improved since the 1970s when it was first launched.
For those who have been listening there has been a growing number of articles in the conservation press about forests being emptied. So maybe it is no surprise that I find myself writing this article in a second ‘Stage 3 Stay At Home Lockdown’. For two decades some of the world’s leading scientists have been expecting a pandemic of zoonotic origin like the coronavirus. They knew that humans are vulnerable because the line between us and exotic animals had long been breached as the natural world was exploited.