Animal activists stick the boot in

Connolly slated over stingray shoes

Maybe he should stick to banana boots.... for Billy Connolly has been criticised by animal rights campaigners after acquiring a pair of shoes made of stingray.

The comic had the unusual footwear – which can cost more £1,000 – made up by the crew on The Hobbit movie, in which he plays Dáin Ironfoot.

But activists at PETA slammed the move, saying: ‘Stingrays are fascinating, gentle sea animals, and they don’t deserve to be slaughtered for a pair of jokes shoes that will likely never even be worn.’

Connolly revealed the unusual gift in a forthcoming BBC interview, saying: ‘I like hanging out with the crew on these films… they build great things and they make things and you can always get things from them.

‘They make belts and shoes and I’ve got a great pair of shoes from the Hobbit made of stingray. They’re brilliant, and they put frog inserts in my cowboy boots. If you hunt them down they can get things for you…I’m sure it’s terribly illegal.’

Only this weekend, did his wife Pamela Stephenson describing the beauty of the stingray, writing in a newspaper travel article about diving in Mauritius and witnessing ‘flocks of enormous spotted eagle stingrays flying majestically in formation over my head’.

In his Route 66 road trip, Coonnoly came across a Harley-Davidson with a seat covered in stingray leather. At the time he said: ‘It was beautiful but not really to my taste. I usually prefer bikes that are stripped down rather than tarted up.’

Stingray provide one of the world’s most expensive leathers, but the material is difficult to work with because of the shape of the animal’s scales.

Peta – People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals – have previously criticised The Hobbit, claiming that 27 animals, including sheep, goats and chickens, died during production.

Producers have strongly denied any mistreatment, but accepted that the death of two horses could have been avoided.

Published: 29 Jan 2013

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