Tash Peterson has arrived in the UK, and she’s already making a scene. The notorious Australian animal rights activist has drenched herself in “blood” and “guts” from a “Birkin bag” in front of Hermès’ flagship London store in a push for the luxury retailer to take reptile skins off its shelves.
Australia is the world’s main producer of saltwater crocodile skin, exporting 90% of it internationally. Hermès already owns the majority of the crocodile farms in the Northern Territory, yet it is planning to expand its operations further by building Australia’s biggest crocodile farm to date and imprisoning up to 50,000 animals there at a time.
Footage of farms owned by Hermès and its suppliers revealed that crocodiles are confined to cramped cages and small concrete pits filled with filthy water before they are electrocuted, dragged into the open, and mutilated – often while still conscious.
Crocodiles are crudely bludgeoned, gutted, and sometimes skinned alive to make Hermès bags. The skin from crocodiles’ stomachs is used to make items such as the Hermès Birkin and Kelly handbags, which can cost $70,000 or more. It takes two or three crocodiles to make just one handbag. With the passing of Jane Birkin this month, who asked Hermès to remove her name from the line after learning about the suffering crocodiles endure, PETA is calling on Hermès to drop exotic skins in her memory.
Tash was PETA’s 2022 Activist of the Year and is currently in the UK to speak at this weekend’s Vegan Camp Out event. In the name of animal rights, she has confronted steakhouse diners while smeared with “blood”, stood topless in Melbourne’s winter cold, led multiple PETA demonstrations, and is facing multiple legal challenges. She famously lay in a meat tray full of blood, stripped off to protest wool, and has sparked countless discussions about animal exploitation on an international level with viral social media posts and mainstream press coverage.
With her eye-catching demonstration on New Bond Street, in London, Tash joins PETA in calling for an end to cruelty to crocodiles.