In a strategic move similar to one it's employed in the past with brands like Hermès and Prada, PETA just bought a stake in Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH in order to fight alleged animal rights abuses from the inside of the company. The announcement comes a month after the activist group released a disturbing video about the crocodile skin industry in Vietnam. The video, which graphically depicts the killing of crocodiles farmed for their skin, was accompanied by a statement from PETA declaring that the process used by one of the farms supplying Louis Vuitton is "inhumane."
"Reptiles lay motionless in thousands of tiny concrete cells, some shorter than their own bodies, for 15 months before finally being slaughtered," PETA claimed in a blog post on the subject. "At another farm, workers hacked into thrashing crocodiles' necks and rammed metal rods down their spines as blood poured from the wounds, and one crocodile is shown still moving after being skinned... Experts have found that crocodiles remain conscious for over an hour after their spinal cord has been severed and their blood vessels cut."
LVMH's director of environment, Sylvie Bernard, responded to PETA by claiming that Louis Vuitton has "no knowledge of a partner that would practice the method referred to... any cruel method involving the suffering of the animal is in clear contradiction with our principles and rules." The brand also alleged that its tannery Heng Long hasn't purchased any skins sourced in Vietnam since 2014.
Still, the animal rights group doesn't seem satisfied with LVMH's response, and by purchasing a stake in the luxury conglomerate, PETA is now able to be present at shareholder meetings. The idea is that PETA representatives will then be able to question the board in front of other shareholders in a way that they hope will influence brand policy from the inside. It's the same tactic the animal rights group has used to address ostrich skin usage at Prada and crocodile skin in Hermès' famous Birkin bags.
"From demonstrating on the street to speaking up in the boardroom, PETA will push LVMH to stop selling any bag, watchband or shoe made from a reptile's skin," the activist group stated.