UPDATED (15 Sep 2015): Jane Birkin and Hermès have reached an understanding
Following the heartfelt emotion expressed by Jane Birkin and her request for explanation, Hermès in agreement with her reiterates its firm commitment in the ethical treatment of crocodiles in its partner farms.
Hermès reasserts its commitment to implement best practice in the farming of crocodiles, working with professional crocodile farmers and their attached local communities. This is in strictest compliance with international regulations. In consultation with local regulatory organizations and associations, Hermès is resolved to evolve its current recommendations to support the development of best standards for the entire profession. In the United States, the document of reference is the Best Management Practices for Louisiana Alligator Farming. We demand that these Louisiana practices be the reference applied by all our suppliers in the U.S.A., Texas included.
However, in a crocodile farm in Texas, an isolated irregularity was identified in the slaughter process. This incident led to a warning on our part regarding the neglect of our prescribed recommended procedures. An audit carried out in July 2015 showed that all practices on the site are compliant. Any further irregularity will lead to Hermès immediately ceasing relations with this farm.
Hermès stresses that the video content circulating on the internet purporting to be from a Zimbabwe crocodile farm was recorded before any partnership between Hermès and the farm was established. Furthermore, the footage shown was not all captured at that establishment.
Following the inspection of the farm in question, a report, published by the ZNSPCA, (Zimbabwe National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), affiliated with the American SPCA, concluded that farming and slaughter best practices were respected at the site.
Above and beyond regular inspections over the last 10 years, Hermès has established a comprehensive and rigorous audit programme for all suppliers of its crocodile skins. The programme concerns notably the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), good practices for farming, procedures for slaughter, environmental management, social conditions of employees and the security of work conditions and infrastructures.
Hermès is making it mandatory for partner farms to adopt its farming charter, established in partnership with expert veterinarians. The signature and unconditional respect of this charter are imperative conditions to continued relations with suppliers based upon the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles.
Jane Birkin has advised us that she is satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès.
Hermès underlines that these farming practices have contributed to saving the species by repopulating alligators in their natural habitat. Since its foundation, Hermès has conducted its activities driven by a profound respect for nature.
UPDATED: Hermès has released the following statement
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.
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.
Hermès imposes on its partners the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles. For more than 10 years, we have organized monthly visits to our suppliers. 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.
Original post: Seen on A-list celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé alike, the famed Hermès Birkin bag is worhipped as a status symbol to many. But the person whom the purse that comes with a five-(or even six) figure price tag and years-long waitlist is named after, Jane Birkin, wants nothing to do with it anymore.
The fashion icon was moved to action when she learned how crocodiles and alligators were harmed in the process of the bag’s production. Ms. Birkin said in a statement, “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 Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag.”