British singer Jane Birkin has asked luxury manufacturer Hermès to remove her name from its crocodile-skin handbag after learning of the “cruel” methods used to make the famous accessory.
Costing $10,000 per bag (though the crocodile version can go for up to $300,000), the Birkin bag is a symbol of wealth and is much-loved by celebrities, but the version made out of crocodile skin has attracted the ire of animal rights activists.
“Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name … I have asked Hermès to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” Birkin said in a statement.
Animal rights group Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently published an exposé on crocodile farms from Texas to Zimbabwe where the animals are allegedly crammed into barren concrete pits before being “crudely hacked” to death.
Peta said it takes two or three crocodiles to make one of the cherished handbags.
“At just one year old, alligators are shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain,” said Peta.
“The investigator saw alligators continuing to move their legs and tails in the bleed rack and in bloody ice bins several minutes after their attempted slaughter.”
Aside from being the muse for the Hermès handbag, Birkin is best known for her No 1 hit Je T’Aime (Moi Non Plus), written by and sung with her then husband Serge Gainsbourg.
Contacted by AFP, Hermès did not wish to comment.