- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In the name of animal rights, British singer Jane Birkin has asked luxury manufacturer Hermès to remove her name from its iconic crocodile-skin handbags.

“Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked the Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag,” Ms. Birkin, 68, said in a statement to AFP.

The handbags recently became the focus of an expose on crocodile farms by PETA, who claimed it takes two or three crocodiles to make one Birkin bag.

“PETA, on behalf of all kind souls in the world, thanks Ms. Birkin for ending her association with Hermès, which makes grotesque handbags that were revealed in a PETA exposé to be constructed from the skins of factory-farmed and cruelly slaughtered crocodiles,” said PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk, following Ms. Birkin’s announcement. “We call on Hermès to stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins. Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief.”

Hermès has denied that the farm in the expose belongs to them, or that the skins from the farm are used to make their Birkin bags, asserting that “an investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned.”

Concerning Ms. Birkin’s request, Hermès said, “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”

Hermès created the Birkin bag in 1984, and it is still one of the world’s most exclusive luxury items, with waiting lists that can last years. It comes in calf, ostrich, lizard and crocodile and can cost between $10,000 and $100,000, The Associated Press reported.

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