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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

Filed under: Clothes, Investigations
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Atrocities Exposed in Secret Investigations Trigger Parliament Members To Condemn Live Exports

June 16, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

With an onslaught of videos exposing shocking abuses of Australian cattle, sheep and other animals shipped to foreign countries for slaughter, the campaign to ban live exports from Australia has reached a tipping point. And Members of Parliament (MPs) are finally speaking out:

“How many more exposés do we need before the government finally acts decisively to outlaw this vile trade?” – Andrew Wilkie, MP

“It seems there is no fate too cruel for Australian animals that would cause this government to pause.” – Melissa Parke, MP

“This abuse simply cannot continue to occur. My electorate has had enough. And so have I.” – Michelle Rowland, MP

The long-awaited criticism from elected officials comes on the heels of new undercover investigations in Vietnam and Israel, two of the 19 countries to which Australia ships over three million live animals for slaughter each year.

In May, Animals Australia documented workers in Vietnam using sledgehammers to kill Australian cattle. The footage is so “shocking” and “distressing” that the organization decided not to release it.

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

Vietnamese workers slaughter Australian cattle with sledgehammers

In spite of the live export industry’s own admission that they cannot track the animals once they arrive in Vietnam, the Australian government has continued to allow weekly shipments.

Just three weeks after exposing the atrocities in Vietnam, Animals Australia released footage of workers in Israel slitting the throats of Australian cattle while they were still conscious and then hanging them upside down. The footage, which also shows workers dragging cattle by their legs and tails, prompted Israeli authorities to shut down the slaughterhouse, the largest in Israel.

Advocates argue that ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System), a program introduced in 2011 to protect Australian animals shipped abroad for slaughter, does not – and cannot – work, as tracking millions of animals once they arrive in foreign countries is logistically impossible.

Live sheep exported from Australia

Live sheep exported from Australia

In fact, Australian authorities cannot even protect animals in the slaughterhouses that have their stamp of approval, as evidenced in the most recent undercover investigation in Israel.

Israel's largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured during the slaughter process.

Israel’s largest slaughterhouse, which had the stamp of approval by Australian authorities, was shut down after Animals Australia released footage of cattle being tortured

In spite of mounting evidence demonstrating the failure of ESCAS, Australia’s Agricultural Minister, Barnaby Joyce, continues to defend and even promote it, describing it as a “model” welfare program that other countries should emulate. But his remarks are beginning to wear thin with Members of Parliament, who have received an onslaught of calls from constituents in recent years.

“To the people who have taken the time to contact me about this, I want to say that your activism is really having an impact,” -Clare O’Neil, MP

“Constituents are contacting my office in astonishing numbers.” – Adam Bandt, MP

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Live export protest in Sydney (photo: James Morgan)

Had Animals Australia not sent undercover investigators into Vietnam and Israel, the abuses would have never been exposed. Footage from these and 33 other investigations demonstrates that ESCAS cannot protect animals, even in countries that have legal protections in place for them.

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

Australian cow in Gaza (photo: Animals Australia)

In Australia’s live export trade, abuse is not limited just to the countries where the animals are shipped. During the overseas journeys, which can last up to several weeks, animals get sick and die in their cramped spaces on the ships. According to Animals Australia, millions of animals have died during transport.

Photo: Animals Australia

Live export ships can transport tens of thousands of animals in cramped spaces (photo: Animals Australia)

Live export of sheep from Australia to the Middle East and Asia

Australian sheep are unloaded from a transport ship in the Middle East

In recent years, the fight to ban Australia’s live export trade has gone global. On April 15th, animal rights activists in the United States staged a protest at the Australian consulate in Los Angeles. The organizer, Loretta Smalls, said it was “a show of solidarity with thousands of our Australian brothers and sisters who are fighting to ban the horrific practice.” In Israel, the group Against Live Transports has employed street theater to educate the public as part of its growing campaign to outlaw the importation of live animals from Australia.

Israeli activists as animals

Israeli activists use street theater to protest the importation of live animals from Australia

Your Turn

To find out how you can help end the live export trade, please visit Animals Australia.

Filed under: Food, Investigations
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“Live Bait” Scandal Triggers Public Debate About Proposed Ag-Gag Law

February 26, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

Secretly recorded video of racing dogs ripping apart live animals, who were being used as bait, has triggered public debate in Australia about a proposed ag-gag law that would have compromised the investigation and possibly prevented the incriminating footage from being taken in the first place.

Greyhound trainers tie live animals to automatic lures that the dogs chase during training exercises.

Greyhound trainers attach live animals to fast-moving lures that the dogs chase while training

Barnaby Joyce, Australia’s notoriously anti-animal, anti-activist Minister of Agriculture, is using media coverage of the live bait scandal as a platform to push for a U.S.-style ag-gag law that would punish those who take the footage: “Why should people be allowed to trespass onto a farm? You cannot decide to take the law into your own hands. Everybody has in their own purview an ethical reason to break into some industry because of what they judge to be correct.” The proposed legislation would also require activists who do acquire footage to quickly turn it over to authorities, which would compromise their investigations.

Australia's Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce is  advocating for anti-trespass laws to criminalize undercover investigations

Australia’s Minister of Agriculture Barnaby Joyce is advocating for ag-gag laws to criminalize undercover investigations that expose animal cruelty and to protect those who commit the abuses

If comments posted online about the live bait exposé are any indication, Australians overwhelmingly disagree with Mr. Joyce:

“Only people like Barnaby could look at video of the most barbaric animal cruelty and seek to punish those who exposed it, not those who perpetrate it.”

“If the regulators don’t protect the animals then SOMEONE has too.”

“Baby pigs being ripped apart while tied to a lure doesn’t seem to upset Joyce, but the people who exposed it do?”

“For too long, the so called regulators have been in bed with cruel industries. So who is going to stop cruelty? The people who always have — the public.”

It was in mid-February that Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland shocked the world with the surveillance footage of greyhounds dogs, who are normally docile, being trained by the racing industry to tear apart live rabbits, possums and baby pigs at training facilities.

It isn’t just the dog racing business that Barnaby Joyce is working to protect. Horrific footage from dozens of undercover investigations of Australia’s multi-billion dollar live export industry has demonstrated that transporting millions of cows and sheep to the Middle East and Asia is inherently inhumane. It is this damning footage that Minister Joyce is most eager to suppress.

live-export-sheep copy

Each year, millions of live sheep and cattle are exported to the Middle East and Asia

Australia’s proposed ag-gag law would impose fines up to $10,000 and prison sentences up to 20 years, depending on the amount of economic damage. In the U.S., seven states have passed “ag-gag” bills into law since the 1990s.

Your Turn

Please visit Animals Australia to learn more about the organization’s extraordinary investigations that are blowing the lid off of some of the world’s cruelest animal industries.

Filed under: Entertainment, Investigations
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Pressure Mounts on NIH to Discontinue Barbaric Maternal Deprivation Studies

January 13, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

Video obtained by PETA of NIH researchers conducting maternal deprivation and other psychological studies on infant monkeys revealed such extreme abuse and terror that four members of Congress sent a strongly-worded letter to the NIH demanding an explanation.

Among the many heart-breaking video clips are a babies frantically attempting to awaken their sedated mothers, who appeared to be dead, and infant monkeys being subjected to loud noises while being held in the dark in what the researchers themselves describe as “pits of despair,” cages so small that the terrified monkeys cannot stand up.

NIH researchers terrorize infant monkeys in psychological experiments

NIH researchers terrorize infant monkeys in psychological experiments

In a fascinating interview with Justin Goodman, PETA’s Director of Laboratory Investigations, Jane Velez Mitchell shines a spotlight on the studies and the deception that has enabled NIH researchers to spend tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars on these experiments for over 30 years.

These infant monkey studies are funded through 2017, but circumstances have emerged which could bring them to an end before the money runs out. First, the NIH researchers will be unable to justify to Congress the continuation of this research, which after 30 years, haven’t yielded any information useful to human mental health. In fact, the researchers have already acknowledged that the tests are irrelevant to humans. As PETA’s Justin Goodman explains, the scientists have created a “cottage industry,” collecting millions of dollars from Congress year-after-year while remaining under the public radar. Secondly, video of the experiments, which are now in the public domain in spite of NIH’s efforts to keep them confidential, has triggered over 160,000 to take action.

Infant monkey attempts to awaken her mother during maternal deprivation study.

Infant monkey attempts to awaken her mother during maternal deprivation study.

Your Turn

The NIH researchers who have taken tens of millions of U.S. tax dollars over the past 30 years to perform these useless and cruel experiments are being exposed for what they are — thieves and terrorists. Please speak up for these infant monkeys by demanding that NIH permanently discontinue these barbaric experiments.

Filed under: Experimentation, Investigations
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Secret Investigation at Whole Foods’ Egg Supplier Reveals Horrors of “Certified Humane” Farming

January 9, 2015 by Leave a Comment

The News

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), a California-based animal rights group that stages dramatic in-store protests around the world, conducted a year-long investigation of a “certified humane” farm, and what they found was so compelling that the New York Times ran a lengthy (though slanted) story about it, exposing the mainstream public to the myth of “humane” animal agriculture.

Certified humane?

Certified humane?

During approximately 10 visits to Petaluma Farms, a Whole Foods egg supplier in California, DxE took video footage of the horrific conditions in which the “humanely raised” hens are living. In addition to documenting the typical aspects of “life” on factory farms, such as disease, stress and overcrowding, they encountered birds languishing in manure pits; struggling to breath and already dead. One of the worst conditions, the “overwhelming” smell, could not be captured on camera.

In this extraordinary video, DxE uses video footage from its investigation to demonstrate that, even in the “best” of circumstances – on a farm that is “certified humane” – animals are abused, neglected and deprived of the chance to do anything that comes naturally to them.

Because Whole Foods is spending tens of millions of dollars to duplicitously market animal abuse as “humane” and slaughter as an “act of compassion,” DxE is launching an international campaign against the grocery store chain – with protests planned in 50 cities – demonstrating that there is no humane way to slice off hens’ beaks, castrate baby pigs, suffocate animals in gas chambers and slit their throats. Whole Foods, they argue, has built a “house of lies” around a “dark and violent reality,” where their “farms are prisons, and every inmate is on death row.”

Whole Foods markets slaughter as "compassion."

Whole Foods markets slaughter as “compassion.”

Your Turn

Please visit Direct Action Everywhere to learn about, support and/or join their provocative campaigns to expose the truth about animal farming and promote a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Filed under: Food, Investigations
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