AMTAN's Stance on Conservation, Sustainability, Traceability, and Animal Welfare

AMTAN's Stance on Conservation, Sustainability, Traceability, and Animal Welfare


Each and every skin or product bought, processed, and sold at our facilities is acquired in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws, and CITES regulations, protecting the sustainable use and ethical treatment of crocodilians.

Over the years, the collective trade, including farms, trappers, tanners, leather dealers and luxury brands, has poured millions of dollars into funding conservation efforts for reptiles worldwide. The industry invests heavily in wildlife biology research, veterinary medicine clinical trials and science-based animal welfare studies for reptiles. These efforts have been directly and positively impacted by the sale of leather and meat from these species.

Income generated through egg sales and harvested animals provides economic incentives to land owners and local people to protect the habitat for crocodilians and many other non-commercial game species. Each year, the alligator industry contributes in excess of $250 million dollars to the economy in Louisiana. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife’s alligator program oversees all aspects of alligator regulation and management in the state.  As a result, the wild population of alligators in Louisiana has grown to a remarkable and abundant two million animals, up from the brink of extinction in the 1970s. Given its proven success, the Louisiana model of sustainable utilization has been rolled out effectively worldwide for other wildlife species, providing benefits and full recovery status to many other endangered animals.

Today, responsible luxury brands globally sourcing exotic leathers require independent, third-party audits of tanneries and farms with which they work, requiring full traceability and verification of transparency in their supply chain. These brands also insist on the highest level of ethical behavior relating to every aspect of supply chain practices when sourcing precious leathers.  American Tanning & Leather LLC is a proud member of the International Crocodilian Farmers Association, the first globally recognized farming organization with animal welfare certification for alligator and crocodile farming.  

 More Detail on Sustainable, Regulated Use of American Alligator:


The CITES tag on each skin guarantees that your product is part of a sustainable use program which benefits both people and wildlife.  The use of alligator and crocodile products protects the traditions and cultures of a community dependent upon renewable natural resources for economic sustainability.    


Upon harvest, each alligator is tagged with a government issued CITES tag by the hunter or farmer.  This tag remains attached to the alligator skin, even throughout the tanning process, and can be removed when the skin is produced into a product like bag or a belt. The original tag number must be referenced when and if the skin or product is exported from the United States or moved from country to country.

We pledge to conserve crocodilians and their habitats by strictly following CITES Treaty regulations worldwide.




Alligators nest in the coastal wetlands of the United States.  Southern Louisiana contains 40 to 45 percent of the wetlands found in the lower states, and nearly all the land is privately owned.  

Alligators are a strong and viable species; however the nests and the alligator eggs and babies are naturally vulnerable and most succumb to predation in the wild marsh before reaching a breeding age to help maintain the population.

  (Photo: Louisiana Department of Wildlife)

Landowners can sell the rights to their alligator nest eggs on their property each year to Alligator farmers and ranchers. The farmers receive permits to collect the eggs from the wild nests, transport the eggs to their farms, and hatch the baby alligators.

 (Photo: University of Florida)

Once the baby alligators hatch, the farmers raise them to approximately 3 feet in length. Alligators are far less susceptible to predation at this size, so the farmers release 10% of the hatched alligators on to the original tract of land from which they came.

The land owner has a financial incentive to leave his real estate undeveloped and his wetlands habitats intact and in their most natural state since he has been paid for the alligator eggs and his alligator population benefits by the 10% release of juvenile alligators.

The farmer has a profit center selling meat and skins.  His incentive to maintain his inventory and replenish stock on his farm each year is motivation to protect the species.  Every part of the alligator is utilized - there is zero waste.  

A meat chart below, from the Florida Seafood Board, shows cuts of alligator meat sold to the restaurant wholesale industry.

The farmer or wild skin processor pays a $4.25 per tag severance tax to the State of Louisiana. This tag fee goes into a special fund which pays for Louisiana Department of Wildlife and fisheries staff, biologists, and other costs related to management of the alligator program.  It is the only government program in Louisiana which is completely funded by the trade and not funded by taxpayer dollars.


Habitat Protected.  Species Protected.  Jobs Provided.   This is the heart of the Sustainable Use Program, and the American alligator program is touted as a worldwide model for wildlife conservation.  Image from Louisiana Alligator Advisory Council.



The Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) is an international agreement between governments.  Its aim is to ensure that trade in specimens of animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Many commercially traded wildlife species are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.


American alligators are not threatened or endangered, but they are on the list of species controlled by CITES due to similarity in appearance to other threatened or endangered crocodiles and alligators.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) oversees all CITES permitting and compliance in the United States.


A requirement derived from CITES is the tagging of all harvested alligators.  This tag serves as a serialized identification to state, federal, and international bodies in order to show that skins were legally harvested.  It also makes alligator leather fully traceable.  


The tag on each alligator contains the country of origin:  US CITES

It contains a 3 letter species code:  MIS (Alligator Mississippiensis)

It also contains the state from which the skin came:  LA

The year of harvest is included:  11

Finally, the serial number of the skin:   035783


A CITES permit is a legal document which allows the sale of CITES specimen abroad.    A CITES permit is shipment specific, meaning it is only valid once.    An exporter must list the exact tag numbers for the alligators being exported and the importer must also be listed on the permit.    Alligator skins or products may not leave the USA or any other county without a CITES permit.

Example of a U.S. CITES Export Permit for American Alligator Leather


 Example of a CITES Inventory List (with tag numbers):

And here is an example of a final stamped, cleared declaration (3-177) to validate an export permit:

For Luxury Brands and Artisans:

Our company welcomes the opportunity to work with responsible brands, governments, scientists, and other experts in order to guarantee the very highest standards of ethical behavior in our supply chain. Our values are deeply important to us, and they are based on collaboration, science, respect, and compassion for nature and people. We are committed to building an industry that can deliver positive examples of sustainability, traceability and transparency around the world by pledging the following:

  • Complying with all laws and regulations from local, state, federal, and international CITES bodies
  • Promoting and investing in the conservation of alligators and crocodiles worldwide
  • Providing traceability of skins and products which can be verified by our governments
  • Creating economic opportunities for people and local communities in our supply chain
  • Striving to continuously improve industry standards of science-based animal welfare
  • Maintaining our own internal accountability standards for ethical business practices at all levels

When designers and brands utilize exotic leathers in their product lines, they too aid us in delivering these positive examples of ethical supply chain practices. The purchase of an alligator or crocodile bag goes much deeper than the price tag of luxury. The money derived from the sale of products ensures the long-term survival of the species and protection of their habitats.

We salute those responsible brands who recognize the positive impacts that they make by using reptile leather, thereby ensuring long term benefits to the planet, the environment, and the conservation and protection of the biodiversity living in those habitats.

We want to conclude by assuring everyone that ethical and environmental considerations are not an afterthought for our industry. They are the cornerstone of our industry. By choice and by necessity, the sustainable and ethical use of reptile species goes hand-in-hand with our business, and we will continue to work endlessly to preserve these magnificent animals and the critically important habitats they occupy.




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