From Texas to Zimbabwe, PETA investigators documented the appalling conditions in which animals are raised and/or killed for “luxury” Birkin bags, belts, and watchbands. Alligators are packed in dank pools and crocodiles are crowded in barren concrete pits for months or even years before finally being slaughtered for their skins.
A PETA investigator documented that workers crudely hacked into the necks of some alligators and tried to scramble their brains with metal rods—all in the name of “luxury.” Some animals were still conscious, flailing and kicking, even minutes after workers tried to kill them.
Alligators Suffer Gruesome Deaths in TexasIn Winnie, Texas, there’s an alligator factory that sends skins to an Hermès-owned tannery, and there, PETA’s investigator found alligators kept in fetid water and dank, dark sheds without sunshine, fresh air, clean water, or even basic medical care. At just 1 year old, alligators are shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they’re still conscious and able to feel pain. Our investigator documented the following actions by workers there:
- Repeatedly shooting alligators in the head with a captive-bolt gun
- Cutting into more than 500 conscious alligators as some struggled to escape
- Stabbing conscious alligators to try to dislocate their vertebrae—even though a manager had admitted that “reptiles will continue to live” after that
The investigator saw alligators continuing to move their legs and tails in the bleed rack and in bloody ice bins several minutes after their attempted slaughter.
After the alligators’ miserable lives and sometimes slow, gruesome deaths, their skins are sent to France and made into “luxury” items such as watchbands.
Zimbabwe's Concrete Crocodile Prisons
At the facility of one of the world’s largest exporters of Nile crocodile skins in Zimbabwe, tens of thousands of crocodiles are confined to concrete pits from birth to slaughter. They are deprived of the opportunity to engage in natural behaviors including digging tunnels, playing, protecting their young, or using tools to hunt as they would do in nature.
In the wild, Nile crocodiles can live to be up to 80 years old, but at this facility they are slaughtered at the age of around 3.
Many belly skins are sent to an Hermès-owned tannery where they end up becoming “luxury” items such as “Birkin” and “Kelly” handbags that can cost $50,000 or more. It takes two or three crocodiles to make just one handbag.