The stake that animal rights group PETA has bought in French luxury brand Hermès is one single share costing $360. In buying the share, however small an investment, PETA will now have access to shareholder meetings and a range of new pressure tactics on Hermès management.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched a new awareness campaign to stop Hermès from using crocodiles and alligators in its iconic products, including its Birkin bags.
“PETA will be campaigning outside the company, and, as a shareholder, also working from the inside to demand a ban on exotic animal–skin accessories, including crocodile-skin bags and alligator-skin watchbands,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said in a statement on Thursday. Hermès has not yet responded.
It’s easy to dismiss PETA’s strategy as ‘fringe’ but the group’s end of 2014 report documenting alleged inhumane and ‘cruel’ treatment of both crocodiles and alligators at Hermes suppliers, prompted Jane Birkin, namesake of the company’s coveted Birkin handbag, to request the removal of her name from the ‘Birkin Croco’ until Hermès employs “better practices in line with international norms.”
The company responded to Birkin’s request, saying that they will investigate practices at the Texas farm Padenga Holdings, a public company, supplying their skins via Kariba, Zimbabwe.
In the company’s vision statement, it makes no mention of animals or the conditions in which they live or die, before becoming a handbag. Bloomberg reports that Padenga harvested 40,000 crocodiles last year.
Birkin bags are notably hard to come by, Style.com reported last fall that the Himalayan crocodile Birkin bag is believed to be the most expensive one ever sold, priced at $432,000.
The 30-centimeter diamond Himalayan Birkin is possibly the rarest and most desirable handbag in the world. This bag is made of Nilo crocodile, rendered in a subtle coloration that is meant to evoke images of the majestic Himalayan mountains. This dyeing process is painstaking and takes many hours to complete—the lighter the hue, the more difficult the process. The color pairs perfectly with 18-karat white gold hardware, which is itself studded with white diamonds. The cadena lock alone is comprised of 68.4 grams of 18-karat white gold and encrusted with 40 white round brilliant diamonds, totaling 1.64 carats. On the bag, three different structural elements of the Birkin—the Touret, the Pontets, and the Plaques de Sanglons—feature more than 200 diamonds for a total of 8.2 carats. This is arguably the rarest, most spectacular, and most jaw-dropping Birkin to ever be made.
Joaquin Phoenix Discusses Treatment of Reptiles in Fashion Industry