Croc cruelty in Birkin bags?

The crocodile skin version of the Birkin bag will soon be nameless. The British singer and actor Jane Birkin for whom the first bag was designed has asked for her name to be dissociated from it, following a PETA investigation that reports instances of animal cruelty at the American crocodile farms where Hermès sources its leather. Birkin said, “I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place.”

 The Birkin is also available in calfskin, ostrich and lizard skin, besides crocodile, which is one of the pricier variants. An investigation is under way, says Hermès in an official statement, which goes on to add that the French luxury brand doesn’t own the farms in question. “We are deeply shocked by the video of alligators being slaughtered in Texas which has been circulating recently. Some of the sequences from the film, currently being shared on the internet, were filmed before our partnership agreements with the farms. The farms shown do not belong to Hermès. The Texas farm furnishes tanneries with alligator skins, which are mainly used for watch bracelets and not for bags.”

While the bag is one of the most exclusive fashion accessories in the world, Birkin herself only owns one and has auctioned off three others. She said in an interview with Adelaide Now three years ago: “If they can go to a good cause then all the better. It makes them a rather jolly bag instead of being a snobbish bag. And hang as many things as you can (on it) so it doesn’t look like a bloody Birkin bag!”

Photograph: Hermès Birkin in ostrich leather, Creative Commons/Wikipedia

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