PETA US Gives First-Ever Look Inside the ‘Luxury’ Ostrich-Leather Bag Business: Juvenile Birds Are Shocked, Smacked, Killed, Plucked and Skinned

For Immediate Release:
February 26, 2016

Western Cape – PETA US has released the first-ever exposé of the highly secretive industrial ostrich-slaughter industry, where young ostriches are killed for “luxury” handbags, shoes and belts by Hermès, LVMH, Prada and other top European fashion houses.

Video footage was shot at South African slaughterhouses run by the two largest ostrich producers in the world, which supply up to 85 per cent of all ostrich products worldwide. The video reveals that newly hatched birds, who would normally spend several years bonding with their parents, are kept in barren dirt feedlots until they’re trucked to slaughterhouses. There, the 1-year-old ostriches are turned upside down in a stunner and then have their throats slit and their feathers plucked out, creating the bumpy-textured or “goose bump” skin used in Birkin and Prada bags and other “luxury” goods.

In the wake of the exposé, PETA US – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – is calling on Hermès, Prada and all other retailers to drop ostrich and other exotic skins and urges shoppers not to buy these items.

“Smart, sensitive and curious young ostriches are treated like victims of a horror film simply because someone wants a bumpy Birkin bag or a pockmarked Prada purse,” says PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges shoppers to bag the skin and instead choose from the many high-end, ultra-fashionable, animal-friendly vegan accessories on the market.”

In nature, ostriches share parental duties, and babies stay with their mothers and fathers for up to three years – but on ostrich farms, chicks never meet their parents. Some birds are restrained and have their feathers ripped out while they’re still alive for feather dusters and feather boas. The birds’ flesh is sold for human consumption.

This is PETA US’ second exposé of exotic-skin suppliers to Hermès and the first glimpse into Prada’s suppliers. The group previously revealed that live alligators are hacked apart for Hermès watchbands and that crocodiles are kept in crowded pits for Birkin bags.

For more information, please visit or our Facebook page.