ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Monday, March 20, 2006

Run, Alligator, Run!

This weekend's print Wall Street Journal (in its "Pursuits" section) had an interesting article on the use of alligator skin in handbags and designer purses. Apparently, no one knows exactly what the effects of Hurricane Katrina will be on the future supply:

"Big-name designers are jockeying to lock up supplies.  The swamps of Louisiana provide an estimated 85% of the world's gator skins.  Though the harvest was close to normal last fall, state wildlife officials say salt water floods damaged foliage that alligators use to build nests.

Fewer nests could translate to fewer gators laying eggs this summer.  That could reduce the harvest in future years - making it tougher for handbag makers to bag the skins they need...

Now Ralph Lauren is exploring longer-term contracts to ensure access to the skins it needs.  Speculators have bought up extra hides, which local farmers say has pushed prices up.  Other designers are monitoring the market and even switching to crocodile."

Perhaps someone could harvest the alligators that roam the sewers of New York City?  ;)

[Miriam Cherry]

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