Hermes Whacks Alligators, Coils Brains For Luxury Bags; Jane Birkin Wails, Wants Nothing To Do With It

Hermes Whacks Alligators, Coils Brains For Luxury Bags; Jane Birkin Wails, Wants Nothing To Do With It
Listed Wen-Cheng Liu / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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In order to produce one $36,000 Hermes Birkin Croco luxury bag, one to two alligators are whacked in the necks. Their brains are then coiled with metal rods to kill them and remove their skin. Some of them could still be conscious up to this point that they would have to be cut into pieces to kill them. These gruesome practice were exposed by PETA in an investigative documentary.


Hermes’ process of killing the reptiles has reached British singer Jane Birkin, who is the inspiration behind the luxury bag’s name. She finds the practice appalling that she ordered the Hermes group to remove her name from the bag.

How alligators are killed for the $36000 Hermes Birkin Croco luxury bag

An underground documentary conducted by PETA found that alligators bred to make the Birkin Croco are hacked in the necks and their brains scrambled before getting skinned. However, reptiles can survive this ordeal, forcing farm workers to repeatedly shoot them in the head with a captive-bolt gun, then stab them again and again to dislocate their vertebrae. A farm manger said reptiles can still be conscious at this point. If that is the case, they will then be cut to death.

These unethical handling of alligators is the status quo in Hermes’ breeding farms from Texas to Zimbabwe, according to PETA. These alligators are crammed inside cages for months, even years, until their skins are ready for harvest. Their skins are then sent to France and made into different Hermes’ luxury products.

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Jane Birkin orders Hermes to remove her name

The Birkin Croco was named after the British singer Jane Birkin. Back in 1984, Hermes’ then president, Jean-Louis Dumas, met Birkin. According to a report from AFP, Birkin was just a young mother at the time. She was complaining about not finding a bag that is both practical and fashionable.

More than 30 years after, Birkin has finally learned about Hermes’ unethical handling of the reptiles in order to produce the bag. On Tuesday, she released a statement, wanting to cease all her connection with the luxury item.

“Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermes handbags carrying my name… I have asked Hermes to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place,” Birkin said in a statement.

Hermes is investigating

In a statement obtained by ELLE magazine, Hermes said that Birkin was as shocked with the documentary. Nevertheless, she remains “friends” with the Hermes group. An investigation is now underway regarding the issue.

“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 statement reads.

“Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. We control their practices and their conformity with slaughter standards established by veterinary experts and by the Fish and Wildlife (a federal American organization for the protection of nature) and with the rules established under the aegis of the U.N.O, by the Washington Convention of 1973 which defines the protection of endangered species.”

Warning: Graphic Video

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