PETA’s life-size “ostriches” stood outside the Hermès and Prada stores at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur shopping mall on Tuesday with signs proclaiming, “Accessories to Murder” and “Bag the Cruel Ostrich Leather”, as other PETA members handed out leaflets to passers-by.
Wild ostriches can live for around 40 years, but at slaughterhouses that supply ostrich skins to Prada and Hermès, ostriches are slaughtered when they’re just 1 year old to be turned into fashion accessories.
The origin of the leather used for Prada and Hermès handbags would shock even the most hardened fashionistas.
South Africa – where these intelligent, sensitive animals are intensively farmed for their skins – is the ostrich-killing capital of the world. The farm featured in this PETA US investigation is the exclusive supplier of the infamous Hermès Birkin bags. Investigators saw juvenile birds tightly packed into open-topped vehicles for the terrifying journey to slaughter.
Once the animals reach the slaughterhouse, workers forcibly restrain them, electrically stun them and then cut their throats. Moments later, the feathers are torn from the birds’ still-warm bodies – creating the bumpy-textured skin used in Birkin and Prada bags and other “luxury” goods – and they are then skinned and dismembered.
Your choices make a difference—the easiest thing you can do to help animals is never to purchase ostrich or any other animal skin or feathers.