Caught On Video: The Horrors Behind Hermes – Zimbabwe Company Padenga Exposed

PETA US International Investigation Shows Miserable Lives and Deaths of Reptiles Before Becoming ‘Luxury’ Birkin Bags or Watchbands

For Immediate Release:

24 June 2015

Harare – A PETA US exposé of two factory farms in Zimbabwe and one in the United States that supply skins to Hermès-owned tanneries reveals that crocodiles are trapped in barren and severely crowded pits and alligators were sometimes sawed open while conscious, all for US$50,000 Birkin bags or US$2,000 watchbands. PETA has called on Hermès to stop manufacturing and selling exotic-skin products, which come at a huge cost to wildlife.

Video footage captured by PETA US investigators at two Kariba-area farms owned by Padenga Holdings Ltd. – a Harare-based company traded on the Zimbabwe stock exchange that supply skins for “luxury” Hermès products and operate one of the largest Nile crocodile–farming operations in the world, with over 43,000 animals killed there in 2014 alone – shows concrete pits each filled with as many as 220 crocodiles. In the video, Padenga’s director of operations describes the process of slaughter, which involves electrically stunning the animals, sawing into their necks, shoving a metal wire down their spines and jamming a metal rod up into their skulls in an attempt to scramble the animals’ brains.

Padenga also owns 50 per cent of Lone Star Alligator Farms in Texas, USA, where a PETA US investigator recorded workers as they shot alligators in the head, some multiple times, with a captive-bolt gun and sawed into the back of their necks with a box cutter to sever their blood vessels. Some animals survived and were seen moving in ice-water bins minutes afterwards. When the gun was believed to have malfunctioned on five different days, the manager instructed a worker to cut into more than 500 conscious alligators. The facility manager referred to the live alligators as “watchbands”, as if they were already inanimate products.

“PETA US’ exposé reveals that every Hermès watchband or Birkin bag means a living, feeling being experienced a miserable life and a ghastly death”, says PETA founder Ingrid E Newkirk. “People pay thousands of dollars for these ‘luxury’ accessories, but the reptiles on these cruel, filthy farms are paying the real price.”

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here.

For more information on the investigation, please visit