BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- The seizure of a live beetle, which a woman was using as jewelry, at a Texas port of entry has raised some eyebrows with animal rights activists.
''This woman's choice of a fashion accessory gives new meaning to the term fashion victim, said Jaime Zalac, media liaison for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized the beetle last week at Gateway International Bridge when a woman drove to an inspection booth and declared that she was wearing the jewel-encrusted insect as a brooch on her sweater, said a CBP press release.
From the inspection booth the woman was referred to a secondary inspection area so an agriculture specialist could inspect the jeweled beetle, which was decorated with blue plastic or glass crystal sequins on top of a gold facade and was attached to her sweater by a chain and safety pin.
The agriculture specialist determined that the woman lacked the required pest importation documentation and had CBP officers seize the beetle, which was sent to the plant inspection station at Los Indios International Bridge for further identification, CBP said.
''Beetles may not be as cute and cuddly as puppies and kittens, but they have the same capacity to feel pain and suffer Zalac said referring to the jeweling of the beetle. It's ironic. We spend hours each week helping kind people find humane ways to relocate lost insects such as ants, bees and roaches that wander into their homes. People feel so good about not hurting them, while this woman paid someone to mutilate them.
Because the woman declared the jewelry item, she was not fined or apprehended, CBP said. As of press time Thursday, the fate of the beetle couldn't be determined.