HERMES has responded to Jane Birkin’s request for the French fashion house to remove her name from its famous Birkin bag, following a PETA investigative report into the farming methods of crocodiles and alligators used to make the accessory.
“Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years,” said a statement from the brand. “Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”
In a statement released to Agence France-Presse, Birkin said: “Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked the Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag.”
“PETA, on behalf of all kind souls in the world, thanks Ms Birkin for ending her association with Hermès, which makes grotesque handbags that were revealed in a PETA exposé to be constructed from the skins of factory-farmed and cruelly slaughtered crocodiles,” said PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, following Birkin’s announcement. “We call on Hermès to stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins. Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief.”
Hermès, however, has denied that the farm belongs to them, or that the skins from the farm are used to make their Birkin bags, asserting that “an investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned.”
“Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organised monthly visits to our suppliers,” continued its statement. “We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife Service (a federal American organisation for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the UNO, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species.”