(ANIMAL CRUELTY/OSTRICHES) It may be time to rethink your next designer handbag purchase.

For years, activists have fought against using animal skin for clothing and accessories. Some individuals refuse to wear leather while others take a stand against fur coats; but many are unaware of the extent of the cruelty that occurs behind closed doorsExotic animal skins come at a much greater cost to humanity than the number on their price tags.

One lesser known industry that engages in horrific and cruel animal practices is the ostrich leather industry.

Photo credit: Florida News Zap
Ostriches are herded into barren feed lots before they are slaughtered. Photo credit: Florida News Zap

South Africa is home to some of the largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world. In September 2015, PETA investigators traveled to South Africa to document the tragedies occurring behind this lucrative industry.

According to PETA, ostriches in slaughterhouses were vigorously forced into restraining devices and electrically stunned. While entering these “stun boxes,” many ostriches slip and fall,  causing even more trauma.

Photo credit: Peta
Ostrich chicks may never meet their parents before they are slaughtered for their skin. Photo credit: PETA

After paralyzing the ostriches, slaughterhouses then cut the birds’ throats in order to use their fur for luxury retail products.

Photo credit: Peta
Unlike wild ostriches, farmed ostriches are kept from tending to their own eggs. Photo credit: PETA

Aside from the physical torture they endure, ostriches face severe emotional damage as well. Once in the slaughterhouse, the helpless birds must watch as their flock mates are slaughtered right before their eyes.

Although wild ostriches can live to be 40 years old, farmed ostriches are at times slaughtered when they are only one year old. After just a single year of life, young ostriches are butchered so that fashion corporations can prosper.

Hermès, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and other top European fashion houses all rely upon the ostrich slaughterhouse industry. Ultimately, activists seek to remove ostrich and other exotic skins from fashion collections and eventually bring an end to this inhumane industry.

TAKE ACTION: Click here to petition against the use of exotic skins in the fashion industry and help put an end to slaughterhouse cruelty!