Veganuary: Animal Skin? I’d Rather Go Naked

Around the world, millions of animals each year are killed for their fur or skin. Many of these animals are either factory farmed in confined spaces with no life at all and others are already endangered, yet we’re continuing to kill them for their skin. In this post, I’ll tell you all about what’s really going on.

Factory farmed.

Crocodiles & Alligators
Many alligators and crocodiles are factory farmed for their skin. They’re raised in crowded tanks and the water they have within their enclosures stinks. They’re not fed their usual diet of raw meat, which they’d get from hunting. Instead they’re raised on man-made food pellets to keep the costs for farmers down.

The diet, treatment and confinement of these animals causes them both emotional and physical torture. They’re not able to get any mental stimulation and they tend not to develop their muscles properly, due to the small cramped spaces.

When slaughtered, workers use a mallet and chisel to sever their spinal cord which paralyses the animal. This is extremely inhumane and many of them will remain conscious for around an hour after the cruel slaughter.

After being paralysed, they’ll be moved straight across to someone who’s going to skin them. These workers can skin an animal within 15 – 20 minutes. This means many of the crocodiles and alligators will literally be skinned alive, as the attack before hasn’t yet killed them.

A typical farm holds around 10,000 animals with 1,500 slaughtered every 3 months.

Farmed in the UK.

Believe it or not, here in the UK we’re farming ostriches simply for their skin. They’re the oldest living birds on earth and designed to roam over vast plains of either grassland or desert. They can run up to 40mph and I’ve personally seen one whilst on safari in Kenya – they truly are beautiful creatures.

As they’re here in the UK, they’re not suited to the climate. When it rains (which let’s be honest, is all the time), they’re unable to shed the rain from their feathers. This leaves them at a risk of exposure to the weather and also pneumonia.

Before they’re sent to be slaughtered, they tend to be starved for hours or even days. This is to make them lethargic for when they’re hooded, soaked in water and then stunned. From here, they’ll have their throats slit.

Many designers are a big fan of ostrich skin due to the texture of the leather having quill marks, where the feathers would grow from. For many, the meat is also sold to UK supermarkets. You can read more on ostriches here: Ostrich farming.

Exotic wild animals.

As well as the above animals, many snakes and lizards are killed for their skin. For them, many of them are killed in ways that are extremely inhumane before being skinned and sent to the designer firms who’ll make a purse, bag or shoes out of them.

For snakes, they tend to be captured then nailed to a tree. Once nailed to the tree, they’ll be cut open from one end to the other before being skinned. Due to the low metabolism of a snake, it can actually take hours for them to die. This means they’re skinned alive and after the process will continue to suffer for hours.

Many lizards killed for their skin are decapitated and others simply have their skin ripped from their bodies.

Are you fur real?

In the UK, it is illegal to farm fur (woo!). BUT, we’re still able to import it from other countries. Fur farming tends to be a case of catching wild animals and then caging them in a space barely bigger than they are.

In China, many of the animals raised for fur (namely rabbits, mink and foxes) are skinned whilst still alive.

In a year 80 million animals are killed for their skin;

  • 70 million mink
  • 3.7 million foxes
  • 730,000 wild pelt (not farmed, tends to be animals such as otters, beavers and others)
  • 4.6 million trapped (this is literally as it sounds. Fur from animals that are trapped in their own habitats using traps)
  • 35,000 seals (this is mainly baby seals who are massacred for their ‘soft skin’)


Before buying shoes, a fur coat, handbag or anything that could be made from an animal, think about whether you’re happy to fund the industry. It’s important to note that the less demand there is for something, the less production will go on around the world.

There’s so many great alternatives out there now and lots of companies are also getting on board with bringing animal-free fashion to their rails.

Be sure to check out my socials for more information about veganism, along with illustrations and facts. I’d love to have you follow my journey or even be an inspiration for your own. If you have any questions, just ask!

Love, always – B
Etsy shop: beccabynature

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