PETA Buys Shares in Hermès To Protest Cruel Animal Skin Practices

by: Well Made Clothes Staff | 3 years ago | News

Image: Model with an Hermès Birkin bag. Image source.

While PETA might be known for its controversial activism tactics, it's stepped off the sidewalk and into the boardroom for its latest stunt.

Last year, PETA released a report which details cruel practices on farms in the US and Zimbabwe exercised on alligators and crocodiles, including cutting them open while they’re still alive, in order to harvest the animal’s valuable skins. These skins, PETA says, were destined for Hermès. Hermès declared the practice an “isolated irregularity”, but the reportage was enough for Jane Birkin to threaten to pull her name from the alligator and crocodile versions of the Hermès bag she designed, and which carries her name (the Birkin bag is one of Hermès’ most revered products, and, in 2015, a pink crocodile skin Hermès Birkin with gold and diamond hardware sold for $223,000, making it the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction at the time). Jane Birkin and Hermès eventually reconciled, but the negative press created by a cult celebrity criticising the label’s animal practices would surely have been damaging.

A month after PETA released this report, it bought shares of Hermès International – specifically one share, purchased for $370.33 – in order to voice its concerns as an Hermès shareholder. On May 31st, PETA did just this: PETA France spokeswomen Isabella Goetz attended the annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris, and, according to AFP, asked Hermes CEO, Axel Dumas, as part of a longer statement: “Will Hermes some day stop using exotic skins?"

Anne Brainard, PETA’s senior corporate liason, says PETA has used this tactic to protest other companies too, including Denny’s, McDonald’s, 3M, and GE. With specific regards to fashion, Brainard says PETA members went to a Gap Inc. shareholders’ meeting to ask the CEO to stop selling angora, and, showing no signs of slowing these corporate activism tactics down, recently purchased shares in Prada.


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