Luxury goods manufacturer Hermes International SCA said Wednesday it will look into the concern raised by British actress Jane Birkin over crocodile farming and slaughtering techniques followed for the company's products. The French brand also said that it will correct and punish if it found any negligence in the protocol.
Birkin, for whom the classic crocodile skin handbag was designed in 1984, asked Hermes to remove her name from the accessory after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) published a video allegedly showing "cruel" methods used to kill crocodiles and alligators for making the Hermes bags.
“Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermes handbags carrying my name ... I have asked Hermes to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” Birkin reportedly said in a statement Tuesday.
Hermes, which uses alligator skin to make watch straps and bags, said that it is probing the Texas farm shown in the video. However, the Paris-based company does not own the farm and stated that the crocodile skins it receives from this supplier are not used for the Birkin bags, Bloomberg reported. Hermes also said that it has been visiting its suppliers monthly for over a decade to ensure they abide by the company’s standards.
Footage taken by a PETA investigator showed crocodiles in Zimbabwe and alligators in Texas being put into concrete pits and “cruelly" killed. "At just one year old, alligators are shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they're still conscious and able to feel pain," PETA stated on its website. "The investigator saw alligators continuing to move their legs and tails in the bleed rack and in bloody ice bins several minutes after their attempted slaughter."
The cost of Hermes' crocodile skin handbags ranges from $36,000 to $300,000. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian have been spotted with these bags. The bags are completely made by hand and use cow, calf and ostrich leather. An average Hermes bag takes about 48 hours to complete.