JANE BIRKIN “is satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès”, according to the brand, following an investigation by the fashion house into claims made by PETA that its famous Birkin bags were being “constructed from the skins of factory-farmed and cruelly slaughtered crocodiles”.
“Following the heartfelt emotion expressed by Jane Birkin and her request for explanation, Hermès, in agreement with her, reiterates its firm commitment in the ethical treatment of crocodiles in its partner farms,” read a statement from the brand, which went on to explain that it had demanded that all of its suppliers comply with the Best Management Practices for Louisiana Alligator Farming document. It also stated that it continues to ensure “good practices for farming, procedures for slaughter, environmental management, social conditions of employees and the security of work conditions and infrastructures.”
“An audit carried out in July 2015 showed that all practices on the site are compliant,” the statement said, referring to the Texan farm from which PETA claimed to have obtained footage showing cruel farming methods, calling the incident an “isolated irregularity”.
“Any further irregularity will lead to Hermès immediately ceasing relations with this farm. Hermès stresses that the video content circulating on the internet purporting to be from a Zimbabwe crocodile farm was recorded before any partnership between Hermès and the farm was established. Furthermore, the footage shown was not all captured at that establishment.”
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PETA, however, responded to the news that Birkin had reconsidered her affiliation with Hermés by casting doubt on the brand’s claims.
“Jane Birkin is a good person, and we think she has been given false assurances by Hermès that it gives a hoot about animals, or that what we witnessed was – so conveniently – an aberration in the way that it factory-farms and slaughters crocodiles and alligators,” read a statement. “The appalling conditions that PETA US exposed are not an ‘isolated irregularity’ at all. In the month that PETA US’s investigator was employed at the Lone Star Alligator Farm’s abattoir in Texas, no inspectors were on site nor was there any mention of inspections, casting grave doubt on Hermès’ assurances that it conducts monthly inspections. Had Hermès personnel looked, they would have seen alligators crowded into dark, filthy pits full of alligator waste and grossly inhumane methods used to kill the reptiles – yet nothing was done about it.”
“We believe Ms Birkin will come to realise that her good name does not belong on a bag made from the cruelly obtained skins of factory-farmed wildlife,” PETA’s statement concluded.