In typical PETA fashion, the animal rights' organization has adopted something of a take-no-prisoners approach in its recent crusade against Hermès. Following June's highly publicized investigation of its allegedly inhumane production practices — which caused Jane Birkin, namesake of the famous Birkin Bag, to ask the Paris-based fashion house to remove her name from its crocodile model — PETA has taken matters even further into its own hands, purchasing a single share in Hermès to gain access to its shareholder meetings.
In an email statement, PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said that the group intends to put pressure on Hermès to end its sale of alligator and crocodile hides completely. Said Reiman: "PETA will be campaigning outside the company and, as a shareholder, also working from the inside to demand a ban on exotic animal-skin accessories, including crocodile-skin bags and alligator-skin watchbands."
The luxury label's annual shareholder meetings routinely take place in late May or early June. Hermès could not initially be reached for comment.
This development, as we mentioned, comes on the heels of last month's PETA investigation, which accused two of Hermès's crocodile skin suppliers in Texas and Zimbabwe of animal cruelty. Following Birkin's denouncement of the brand, Hermès stated that the hides supplied from its Texas facility "are not used for the fabrication of Birkin bags."
Even with PETA's now-official involvement in the brand's affairs, it seems unlikely that Hermès would discontinue its crocodile leathers, even if temporarily.