Jane Birkin Wants Hermès to Rename Iconic Bag

Some big news has come to lovers of the iconic brand Hermès, as Jane Birkin asked to have her name removed from the brand’s staple croc skin bag after PETA released a video (Warning: it’s graphic) showing the cruel treatment the crocodiles go through to be skinned. The British actress/singer released a statement saying, "Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag."

The bags, whose price can reach up to $300,000, are a huge favorite among celebs and have some to be a symbol of status in the fashion world. Hermès released their own statement in response to Birkin saying, “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles… An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned. Hermès specifies that this farm does not belong to them and that the crocodile skins supplied are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags.” The practices reportedly used at a farm by Hermes in Texas, and one in Zimbabwe, as seen in the video, are alarming and imply a painful death for the crocs.

Sadly, this isn’t the only gruesome animal rights violation to come out of Zimbabwe as of late. Cecil the lion, a beloved big cat kept in the Hwange National Park (a ‘free roam’ site for endangered species) was killed by a hunter earlier this month, causing public outrage. The animal celeb, who was also being used in an Oxford study hoping to conserve the lion population, was lured out of the park’s protection and shot with an arrow that didn’t kill him. Cecil tried to escape from the hunter, Dr. Walter Palmer– a Minnesotan dentist known to love big game hunting- for 40 hours before the doctor ended his life. There is now a petition going on called ‘Justice for Cecil,’ looking to charge Palmer with his death.

Both of these stories bring to light some of the very skewed views people have on the life of an animal. While both incidents have caused the public to take a stand and change the practices behind some of these gruesome events, why does it take such extreme cases of animal cruelty for anyone to care? Over the last 50 years, the lion population has dropped from 200,000 to a mere 25,000. Meanwhile, several different species of crocodile have reached, or are very close to reaching endangerment. We’re glad that reforms and changes are being made, but perhaps there needs to be more preemptive moves to keep our fuzzy (and scaly!) friends safe, and create an awareness of how animal products are used and where they come from.

If you want to contribute to the ethical treatment and conservation of wild animals, click here to donate to World Wildlife.

Photo of Hermès campaign by Tyler Shields

Photo of Cecil by Vince O’Sullivan

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