Britney Spears is facing accusations of animal cruelty after posting a photo of $6,000 snakeskin heels she says she’s never worn before

  • On Thursday, Britney Spears took to Instagram with a photo of a snakeskin heel designed by Christian Louboutin.
  • In the caption of her post, Spears said she’s “never worn” the shoes, which she says she purchased four years ago for $6,000.
  • Since sharing the photo, some people have accused the musician of flaunting her wealth and promoting animal cruelty. Others have defended Spears by saying she should be able to spend her money in any way she chooses.
  • In a statement sent to INSIDER, PETA’s Senior Vice President Lisa Lange urged Spears to donate her shoes to the organization for “educational purposes,” adding that snakes can endure hours of pain before being killed for their skin.
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Britney Spears frequently shares everything from selfies to closet tours with her more than 22 million followers on Instagram. However, a recent post from the pop star has resulted in major backlash.

On Thursday, Spears shared a photo of heels designed by Christian Louboutin. She wrote in the caption of her post that she purchased the $6,000 snakeskin shoes four years ago, but hasn’t worn them.

“Four years ago I bought my first pair of Christian Louboutin snakeskin heels that were $6,000,” Spears wrote on Instagram. “PS, I’ve never worn them!!!!”

Britney Spears quickly faced backlash in response to her photo

On Instagram, people were quick to accuse Spears of promoting animal cruelty by purchasing shoes made out of snakeskin.

“Congrats on contributing to animal cruelty, all for nothing,” one Instagram user wrote.

“That is shameful to wear animals killed for vanity and brag about letting them go to waste,” another person said. “So cavalier and dismissive.”

“Maybe leave the skin where it belongs: on a snake,” someone wrote.

“Please don’t buy clothes made from animals,” a person said. “With all that money, you could be helping animals instead of hurting them.”

Others said Spears seemed to be flaunting her wealth.

“Must be nice to flaunt your overindulgence,” an Instagrammer wrote. “Meanwhile, we have people who can’t afford their next meal. Here’s an idea, instead of spending that sort of money on nonsense, donate it.”

Read more: The 25 most charitable celebrities who have changed people’s lives

Still, some people defended the pop star

In response to the backlash, many people said Spears should be allowed to spend her money however she chooses.

“Zip it haters!” one person wrote. “Giving a wealthy person grief for spending THEIR own money the way they want. Shaking my head lol. What a joke.”

“You know what I’m sick of? People who aren’t Britney telling her how she should spend HER money,” another person said. “She worked for it, you didn’t. When you pay her bills, you talk. Until then, she can spend her money however she pleases. How dare anyone say she shouldn’t do it. It’s hers, she can do what she wants with it.”

The snakeskin trade is lucrative, but also harmful to wildlife

While it’s unclear what type of snakeskin was used to create Spears’ heels, the python-skin trade was estimated to be worth $1 billion in 2012, according to a research report from the International Trade Center.

Fashion items fueled the trade at the time, according to the report, and led many to illegally hunt wildlife using cruel and inhumane methods. At the time, wild populations of pythons were said to be in decline.

Today, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Burmese Python as a “vulnerable species” on its Red List, which documents the current state of wildlife populations. The title means that Burmese Pythons are one step away from becoming endangered, and three steps away from becoming extinct.

In a statement sent to INSIDER, PETA’s Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said snakes often endure hours of pain before being killed for their skin. She also urged Spears to donate the shoes to PETA for “educational purposes.”

“Using an animal’s stolen skin as footwear is toxic and horrifically cruel,” Lange said in a statement. “Snakes used for their skin are commonly nailed to trees, and their bodies are cut open from end to end – and because of their slow metabolisms, these complex animals are often in agony for hours before dying.”

“PETA hopes Ms. Spears has matured from the days of using snakes as showpieces or stilettos, and is contacting her in the hope that she’ll donate these shoes to us for educational purposes, as Anjelica Huston, Sharon Osbourne, and Mariah Carey have done with fur,” she continued.

Representatives for Britney Spears and Christian Louboutin did not immediately reply to INSIDER’s request for comment.