The animal rights movement has been fighting for the rights of animals all around the world for a long time, and has been responsible for the implementation of laws that have seen the improvement of animal treatment globally. Even while this is going on, most animals are still being treated unfairly. Most cultures in the world still hold a high regard for some of the animal products on this list and they are quite valuable.
Most manufacturers have embraced and practice humane methods of acquiring these products, but that does not mean that the animals are still not held in captivity. These products happen to be the most valuable animal by-products in the world and they control multi-million dollar markets.
6. Crocodile Leather
Leather has always been a luxury item and the fashion industry heavily relies on skins acquired from animals. Even though most leather comes from animals such as cows and goats, crocodile leather is the most valuable, and especially Porosus crocodile leather (LINK 1) which sells for a premium.
The Porosus crocodile skin is valuable because of its beauty and scale pattern which surpasses that of normal alligator skin and its strength which is immensely strong and soft even when stretched out to 1mm thinness. Crocodile leather is mostly extracted from the belly and back of the crocodile.
The belly skin describes the crocodile’s underside which includes the belly, tail and chin, and makes for the smoothest and softest leather which is used for handbags, purses, wallets, belts and other accessories. Porosus crocodile farms have grown in number since it gained fame and popularity but it’s still a rare commodity and still commands a premium price.
Pearls have been used as jewelry since ancient times in 5th Century BC and women have worn them as a status symbol showing wealth and beauty. Back then, they used naturally formed pearls which occurred as a result of particles or organisms entering a pearl oyster (LINK 2) and embedding themselves in the shell.
The oyster would then release a substance called nacre and form a pearl-sac around it. In time this nacre would accumulate and form a pearl. They were very rare but lately humans have taken over the process and introduce shell beads into a pearl oyster.
The oyster accepts the beads as a foreign body and produces pearl secreting cells which are then surgically grafted together and this accelerates the formation of a pearl sac, and later on a pearl. They are quite expensive and some have sold for $11.8 million such as the La Peregrina Pearl (LINK 3), while the largest pearl in the world, the Beauty of Ocean Pearl (LINK 3) in China is valued at $139 million.
4. Vicuna Wool
Fashion is indeed one of the most expensive industries to be in and we spend millions of shillings as a people just to have the latest shoe, or jacket, or shirt, or watch. When it comes to wool, the vicuna (LINK 4) takes the top spot.
The vicuna is a small and elegant llama-looking camel found in Peru and the Argentine Andes. Its wool is reputed to be the softest and finest, even better than cashmere. It is reported that in the 1500s, King Philip II of Spain spent his nights under a vicuna blanket and this rare and expensive wool has been the comfort of the rich and famous ever since.
A custom-made vicuna suit costs roughly $40,000 with a scarf going for $4,000, and the rarest white coat made from an albino vicuna going for $50,000. The vicuna were almost driven to extinction by the 1960s, and Peru banned the killing and trade of these animals and managed to form an International Vicuna Consortium which deals with humane processing and export of vicuna fiber as fabrics and already finished products.
Related Post:Top 6 Beautiful Freshwater Fishes For Your Aquarium
3. Deer Musk
Most male perfumes and fragrances claim to add musk (LINK 5) for a ‘manly’ scent. Musk is collected from deer which have special glands in their abdomen that produce it. This substance is used by the males to attract females. Musk deer are found in the Himalayas, East Asia and Siberia whose musk deer is the most threatened with extinction.
These deer are hunted for their musk, and their meat and hide are not valuable. Musk has been used for a very long time in medicines and perfumes, and Asian communities believed that musk could heal heart diseases, nerve and respiratory illnesses.
One kilogram of musk could fetch as much as $45,000. In the 1950s, people realized that one could extract musk without killing the deer and this was immediately practiced in China, and later in India, Nepal and Russia.
2. Pule Cheese
For cheese, Pule cheese (LINK 6) is the cream of the crop. Cheese has been used in cooking for a very long time and is one of the milk products that has stood the test of time. Pule cheese is the very costly cheese especially the ones made in Serbia from the milk of a Balkan donkey.
These donkeys are endangered and this makes the cheese fetch a premium price of $576 per pound. Puel Cheese is produced from Zasavica donkey reserve, a donkey conservancy in Belgrade.They have about 100 Balkan donkeys and they says that to produce just one kilogram of Pule cheese, it will take 25 liters of donkey. This cheese is a common characteristic feature of Serbian cuisine.
1. Kopi Luwak Coffee
Kopi Luwak (LINK 7) is the world’s most unique coffee. For such a famous blend of coffee, the fact that it comes from civet poop makes it an animal by-product and not a purely naturally grown coffee. The Indonesian civet cat is fed on coffee beans and then its droppings harvested. It is from these droppings that the world’s most expensive coffee comes from.
At $90 a cup, coffee enthusiasts claim that the civet cat gives the coffee a rich aroma and smooth taste. The animal’s digestive system partly digests the coffee beans and they are then collected from its droppings, cleaned, roasted and brewed for coffee. Kopi Luwak remains the world’s most exclusive coffee and most expensive.