HARDLINE animal rights group PETA set out to shock customers in a trendy retail center in Bangkok, in their latest campaign opposing the exotic-skins industry.
The group set up a fake pop-up shop called The Leather Work, which appeared to specialize in luxury leather bags, shoes, and clothing.
The shop and its products look completely harmless from the outside, but a video filmed by PETA showed customers’ disturbed reactions when they try out the goods.
Inside the purses and handbags on display is a gory sight – it appears to be filled with flesh and sinew, with a “beating” heart nestled in the middle.
Some unsuspecting customers also found fake blood on their hands and feet after trying on gloves and shoes in the shop.
Many shoppers appeared disturbed by the sight of “naked flesh”, jumping back when they inspect the products or gasping in horror.
According to PETA, Thailand has the world’s largest crocodile farming industry, where international brands flock to when seeking to use skins in their designs.
The group claims to have found workers in crocodile farms “sawing open reptile’s necks while the animals are still alive”.
They also claim that snakes and lizards are cruelly “nailed to trees” or “decapitated” before being “skinned alive”.
PETA Australia’s associate director, Ashley Fruno, said in a statement: “Every year, hundreds of thousands of reptiles are crudely bludgeoned and skinned alive, all for the sake of so-called ‘luxury’ shoes, belts and bags.
“PETA Asia’s gruesome pop-up shop reminds shoppers that the only way to keep blood and guts out of our closets is to choose vegan clothing, shoes and accessories.”
The outspoken and controversial organization is well-known for their guerilla tactics in raising awareness on animal rights issues.
Some of their campaigns, which have caused outrage, include placing a topless, pregnant model into a small “cage” in Covent Garden, London on Mother’s Day in 2008. Their accompanying banner read: “Unhappy Mother’s Day for Pigs.”
In 2010, they also came under fire for staging a “supermarket meat aisle” installation in New York’s Time Square, using naked male and female models lying in “blood” under clingwrap.