73628973.jpgIt's not just fur and the spaying of pets that's getting PETA campaigners in a tizz right now, they're also urging the fashion industry and its consumers to avoid using snakeskin products after a rise in the trend hit the catwalks again this season.

Animal skins have been recently used in shoes and accessories by fashion labels including Jimmy Choo, Donna Karan, Mulberry, Gucci, Prada, Roberto Cavalli and Yves Saint Laurent. The trend has also been spotted on the likes of Eva Longoria and Kylie Minogue who was seen with a Zagliani python handbag at the Prince concert last week.

Protesters argue that the use of snake skin is cruel, unregulated and could be speeding up the extinction of certain species. "The skins industry has been pushing itself as a fashion product for some time now. Then Vogue puts it in the magazine and it is fashionable," said Clifford Warwick, a reptile expert and consultant with the Animal Protection Agency.

The process in which the snakes are skinned for fashion has also come under fire for being cruel, dispelling claims that only 'farmed' skins are being used.

"With the bigger snakes the tanners don't want to cut the head off so they nail it to a tree. Then they force a hose pipe down its throat and blow it up like a balloon to make the skin easier to peel off. They throw the snake's body away, while it is still alive, where it can survive in agony for up to two days," Mr Warwick explains.

He adds that once the truth is revealed, most people are genuinely horrified and the "majority want no part to play in this violent industry which is pushing these beautiful creatures towards extinction."

Tell us what you think. Does this influence your opinion on whether or not to buy snakeskin products?

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[Sources: Daily Mail / Getty]