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Undercover Investigators Expose Atrocities on Alligator Farms that Supply Retailer Hermès

June 24, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

UPDATE: On July 24th, one month after PETA released video showing crocodiles and alligators used to make Birkin bags being tortured, British singer Jane Birkin has asked Hermès to remove her name from the line of handbags: “Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermes 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.”


In 2001, a NY Times fashion writer reported that Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld, attempted to use her famous last name at an Hermès store to jump to the front of a waiting list for a Birkin Bag, a purse regarded by many as the ultimate status symbol. Ms. Seinfeld, exasperated by negative stories written about her in gossip columns, denied the allegations in subsequent media coverage. Lost in the celebrity scandal were the real victims: the alligators and crocodiles who are raised and slaughtered in concrete factories to make the purses.

Reality star Kris Jenner wears Hermès purse made from alligator skin (photo:

Reality star Kris Jenner wears Hermes purse made from alligator skin (photo:

In 2014, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent undercover investigators into factories in Zimbabwe and Texas that supply Hermes with their crocodiles and alligators. Video footage shows employees cutting into their bodies while they are fully conscious, sawing into the back of their necks with a box cutter to sever their blood vessels and stabbing them in an attempt to dislocate their vertebrae during the drawn-out slaughter process. Investigators documented crocodiles bleeding out and writhing in agony for several minutes.

The undercover investigation also revealed the conditions in which the alligators and crocodiles are housed. In the wild, these intelligent animals raise their young, use tools to capture their prey and live for decades, often longer than humans. On factory farms, the crocodiles are intensively confined in concrete pits, forced to live in pools of their own excrement and denied the chance to do anything that comes naturally to them. They are slaughtered after just one year.

Alligators at farm that supplies Hermès live in excrement-filled concrete pits

Crocodiles at Hermes crocodile skin supplier live in excrement-filled concrete pits

Hermès' alligator factory farm in Zimbabwe

Hermes’ crocodile factory farm in Zimbabwe

Hermès suppliers slaughter up to four alligators to make just one Birkin bag. The skins are also used to make watchbands, belts, shoes and other accessories.

Alligator: before & after

Alligator: before & after

In a statement included in the NY Times story about the PETA investigation, Hermès defends its products and expresses no remorse about the brutality exposed in the video.

In Texas, the Chambers County District Attorney is conducting an investigation at Lone Star Alligator Farms.

Crocodiles at Hermes supplier in Zimbabwe

Crocodiles intensively confined at Hermès supplier in Zimbabwe

Your Turn

The alligators sold by Hermès are subjected to unspeakable atrocities on their journey to becoming a purse. Please sign letter asking Hermes to stop selling items made from crocodile and alligator skins.

Up to 4 alligators must be slaughtered to make one Hermès Berkin Bag

Up to 4 alligators must be slaughtered to make one Hermès Birkin Bag

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. ratgirl says:

    Believe it or not, I’ve seen footage of far *worse* alligator farms casually shown on nature programming. Alligators in dark indoor pits just waiting to be slaughtered, taken from the wild ostensibly to keep their numbers down for “conservation”, or used in shows at tourist traps and relegated to one of these farms when they get too big to wrestle, to fit easily inside hotel atriums or other displays, to have their mouths taped shut so bored employees can hold them still for kids to manhandle them, etc. Clearly they don’t feel like there’s a problem with keeping these animals in nightmarish conditions where they can’t do any normal species behaviors, because the footage is always shown so matter-of-factly–after all, it’s for “conservation” and “meat production” (because it’s alright to treat an animal any way you want as long as you eat their bodies when you’re through, right?) I am very glad to see some sort of attention being brought to the way crocodilian species are treated by the meat, fashion, and entertainment industries. Just because they are reptiles and apex predators doesn’t mean they are unfeeling, stupid, or that their lives are without value. So much has been discovered recently that indicates that crocodilians are complex creatures with social lives and the ability to use simple tools to lure their prey. To take an alligator, who normally builds complex underwater tunnels to sleep in with others of their species, who requires hours of basking time each day to store energy in their complex scales for later use, who share elaborate mating rituals, and put them in a dark, overcrowded enclosure to await their slaughter is so far from humane, I can’t even wrap my mind around how anyone could watch these shows and not see the horror in front of them. A lot of people must, though, because more than once I’ve seen brief footage of these places presented as casually as the footage of their natural habitats. (Please forgive the rant. I’m just really fond of these animals…not that I ever want to be *near* one. 🙂 I appreciate them from a significant distance. I think it works best that way for me and for them. ;))

  2. Kathleen says:

    Who would know the difference between a fake alligator purse or snake boots? I believe all skins belong on the original owner to whom the creator gave it. I wear no creature on my back, arms or feet.

  3. Brónagh Cobain says:

    This is disgusting. Absolutely devasting to be human, sharing a species with this scum. This scum who make the bags, market the bags, sell the bags and buy the bags. Let’s be honest though if I was any other animal at all I’d probably have been captured, slaughtered, shot, skinned or beaten to death by now.
    These people will get what’s coming to them one day, if karma doesn’t get them soon I will and that’s a threat. I’d probably be fine to while out the whole human race right now as an apology to them, the beautiful creatures we destroy.

  4. Natasha Brenner says:

    What kind of a “God” would allow such horrors? Just when I think I’ve heard the worst, something like this comes along. We are a depraved society!

  5. Elinor Hawke-Szady says:

    Hermes isn’t the only fashion house slaughtering animal species for their goods. Burberry, Prada, Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Missoni, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Alexander McQueen, Dior, etc., etc., etc. – the list is DISGUSTING – ALL USE REPTILE SKINS AND/OR FUR IN THEIR COLLECTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did extensive research on just the above-noted companies within the past year, and I refuse to buy any of their products now.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Bravo! You did do your homework! I will not ever knowingly wear any skin other than my own!

  6. Regina Mcgrath says:

    My heart breaks everytime I read another horrific animal murderings from around the world!
    All for human greed at the expense of innocent animals! We’re the Voice for Our Animal Kingdom. These Evil Murders will pay in the Next Life! God So Loves the Animals. I’ve almost lost faith in Humanity! Animals are Gift from God! Stop this Evil Act!

    1. Kathleen says:

      Every once and a while, I feel like people are bad, vicious, uncaring then I see something loving, warm and caring and my faith in mankind is restored. I know there is wickedness out there; I am not naive but I prefer not to go looking for it; to center on the good. Be steady and of good heart!

  7. britt says:

    This behavior is an atrocitie. People have turned into status seeking money coveting barbarians. Why are these situations allowed to exist. I sign 50 petitions a day and it makes no diffrence. Until authorities begin to take these situations seriously things will never change.

  8. Elham says:

    Undercover Investigators Expose Atrocities on Alligator Farms that Supply Retailer Hermès


  9. Carmen Diaz says:

    Stop these atrocity

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