The illegal trade of python skins is booming in Europe, thanks to weak regulations and high demand for designer handbags made out of the material. The industry -- worth about $1 billion -- thrives on illegally imported snake skin from Asia.
A new report from the Python Conservation Partnership, backed by Kering (the owner of Gucci) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, says that python farms could help solve some of the problems associated with the industry.
"This report offers [an] alternative solution to the sourcing of python skins for which demand is escalating," Jean-Christophe Vié, deputy director of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's global species program told the Guardian. "However, there is still some way to go towards more transparent, better-managed python farming."
While python farming is certainly not a solution, the report says that it would at least help conserve certain species more carefully. It also advocates for better monitoring, more humane slaughter techniques and using DNA or isotope testing to help identify the source of a product -- wild-caught or farmed.