peta enters hermès boardroom to protest ostrich birkins

The animal rights group used its role as an Hermès shareholder to confront the label at its annual meeting.

by Matthew Whitehouse
01 June 2016, 4:30pm

PETA used Hermès' annual meeting in Paris on Tuesday to call on the French house to end its sale of exotic skins. The animal rights group had previously purchased Hermès stock with the aim of pushing for change from within the company, following the PETA's first-ever exposé of the ostrich-slaughter industry.

"Behind every ostrich, crocodile, or alligator-skin Birkin bag is a short, miserable life of deprivation capped off by a violent death," a PETA representative told chief executive Axel Dumas at the meeting, according to a press release from the organization. "Knowing of the suffering that animals endure for these bags, when will Hermès stop using exotic animal skins?"

PETA — whose motto reads, in part, "animals are not ours to wear" — had uncovered the electrocution of young birds while investigating the manufacturing process behind the label's famous Birkin bag. The organization subsequently bought shares with the goal of pressing for change from inside the boardroom.

"You have a number of concerns regarding the treatment of animals. We respect them, but we don't necessarily share your position regarding farming," Dumas replied, as reported by WWD. "Farming conditions strictly comply with international regulations because we want to apply the best practices in this field, and I think that Hermès has always been at the forefront of wanting to pay attention to ethics and the treatment of animals."

Read our interview with PETA co-founder Ingrid E. Newkirk.


Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography courtesy of PETA

animal rights