If You Can Watch This And Not Feel Disgusted, Then You Have No Emotions.

If You Can Watch This And Not Feel Disgusted, Then You Have No Emotions.

In the fall of 2014, PETA investigated the crocodile and alligator skin trade in Zimbabwe and the United States. These animals are barbarically slaughtered to make the most expensive accessories for the luxury market including the Hermes Birkin bag. PETA's investigators traveled to Africa to expose how these luxury items produced. Padenga is a massive factory farm in Zimbabwe as well as a major supplier to a Hermes own tannery. Director of Operations "We do 43,000 skins a year. So we're the biggest Nile (crocodile) producers in the world, and it is really a factory, isn't it?"

It takes the belly skins of three crocodiles to make a single Hermes Kelly bag or just one Birkin bag. Director "We supply a company in France called Hermes. We have a single supply sort of arrangement with them, where they purchase every single skin of ours." Investigator "How much do the most expensive bags sell for?" Director "Average Kelly bag, Birkin 37,000 Euros (US$43,000). So they're hugely expensive bags."

In this video, a computer-generated alligator voice by Pink tells us the real cost of one of these forty thousand dollar bags. Woman "Hey, I paid a lot for this." Alligator "Well actually I paid a lot more."

Many people don't know that crocodiles and alligators are fascinating and intelligent animals. They are the first reptiles who have been recorded using tools to capture their prey. Mother alligators are devoted and caring parents who stand guard over their eggs for months. Carry their hatchlings in their mouths and stay with their babies for up to three years in the wild. Crocodiles have a range of more than two miles but in Padenga they are confined to crowded concrete pens and while crocodiles in nature can live even longer than human beings. The fashion industry kills them in cold blood when they are just three years old. Investigator "And when are they, harvested--at what age?" Director "About 36 months."

The slaughter is gruesome. Director "So you put him on a table and then you bend his nose down, and his spine comes close like that, and you plunge a scalpel into the spine. Then, the spinal shock. Then, you take a, you know, like a whoopie aerial on your car and you plunge it down his spine. It takes the spine out completely right to the base of the tail. Then, you take a rod with a pointed end, and you pith the brain. Then, you can work with him--you know, you can skin him and process him. Because otherwise, the nerves and everything are--you know, they're always twitching on the table."

Padenga's director of operations claims that the facility now electrically stuns the crocodiles before slaughter. "Previously, without the stunner, it was pandemonium."

A PETA investigator also traveled to Texas to the Lone Star Alligator Farms. Lone Star is part-owned by Padenga and is also a major supplier to a Hermes own tanner. Manager, Lone Star Alligator Farms, U.S. "It'll be tanned--it'll go to crust here in Louisiana (to an alligator-skin tannery) -- but it's owned by Hermes in France." The belly skins of these young alligators are sent to France to become watchbands here the manager of Lone Star refers to the animals as watchbands as if they were already inanimate objects.

Manager "They're called "watchbands. Uh, gators are classified as to what leather...their leather is used for, and this size is called a "watchband" alligator. They'll go to France, and it'll come back, and we'll have to buy it for $2,000 as a watchband. It's not even something that lasts. It's a watchband that lasts, like, one year and you gotta buy a new one. That's why it's just--it shows you have money to blow."

Here's how they killed alligators at Lone Star. Workers shot most alligators in the head with a captive bolt gun and sawed into the back of their necks with a box cutter to sever blood vessels. Some alligators survived in agony for several minutes. One day when the captive bolt gun was misplaced, the manager stabbed four conscious alligators with a knife in an apparent attempt to dislocate their cervical vertebrae. As they struggled, he admitted knowing that alligators continue to live after cervical dislocation. Manager "A bird--being a bird--cervical dislocation is satisfactory. But reptiles will continue to live."

Experts confirm that the alligators do remain alive. When the gun malfunction on five different days the manager instructed worker to cut into more than 500 conscious alligators. This crude attempt to dislocate their cervical vertebrae. The employee was then told to shove a rod into animal skulls to try to scramble their brains. Worker "...brain?" Manager "Cerebro."

The alligators at Lone Star confined to dank dark pits. Many of the animals had raw, damaged skin around their jaws and received no veterinary care. The PETA investigator working at this facility documented that "I was not able to see my hand a couple of inches below the surface of the water. The alligator pits smelled like putrid and rancid excrement." He wrote that there were times he struggled not to vomit."

Workers had to feel around the fetid water with their feet in hands to try to catch the struggling alligators. With little or no safety equipment given to them. They often got bitten and injured. The dark underbelly of the luxury fashion industry. Director "There is a big difference between fashion and luxury. Fashion is very fickle. Whereas a Birkin is a Birkin, a Kelly, is a Kelly is a Kelly. Only reason that we've been able to survive is that we pander to the luxury market. And it is bullet proof."

Help show Hermes that the crocodile and alligator skin market is not bulletproof and that luxury should not equal cruelty. Please only by cruelty-free clothes and accessories.

You can encourage others to shed exotic skins from their wardrobes. Have them shop at Grape Cat for attractive alternatives to leather.

Thank you.



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.