Four Australian Farms Spark Protests in France, the UK, and the US – Here’s Why
Sydney – Four farms in the Northern Territory are the subject of international protests held by PETA affiliates in Paris, London, and New York. The protests come after new footage provided to Kindness Project by Farm Transparency Project revealed the appalling conditions endured by Australian saltwater crocodiles held captive on the farms owned by luxury French fashion house Hermès and its suppliers.
More photos from the international demonstrations are available here.
The investigation reveals crocodiles confined to cramped cages or tiny concrete pits filled with filthy water before being electrocuted, dragged, and mutilated – while some are still fully conscious. One animal is seen still trying to get up after a worker has sliced the back of his neck open with a blade and inserted a screwdriver into his skull in an attempt to scramble his brain.
“These images look like they are straight out of a horror film and remind us of what we already know: the exotic-skins industry is a bloody and cruel business,” says PETA Campaigns Advisor Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA reiterates its call for Hermès to join the many designers who are turning away from animal skins in favour of innovative, ethical, and sustainable materials for which no one has endured horrific living conditions and a violent death.”
“Recent footage has proven that even the supposed highest standards in welfare cannot protect crocodiles from abhorrent living conditions and slaughter,” says Kindness Project Campaign Director Alix Livingstone. “It is imperative that we send a strong message that our precious wildlife are not objects to be commodified for the sake of luxury fashion demands.”
As Kindness Project notes, “Australia accounts for 60% of the global trade of crocodile skins, two thirds of which comes from the Northern Territory, where this footage was captured.” It adds that despite having a natural life expectancy of 70 years, crocodiles used for fashion are violently slaughtered when they’re only 2 to 3 years old and up to four crocodiles are killed to make just one Hermès Birkin bag.
PETA US became a Hermès shareholder in 2015 after exposing cruelty at reptile farms in Texas and Zimbabwe that supplied a Hermès-owned tannery. In 2016, a PETA exposé revealed the suffering of young ostriches at a Hermès supplier, and in 2017, an exposé in Vietnam showed crocodiles locked in grim concrete stalls with unsanitary pools and subjected to violent deaths.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – notes that conservationists have highlighted the risk of causing future pandemics posed by the exotic-skins trade and continues to call on Hermès to ditch crocodile and other exotic skins through, among other means, a consumer action alert.