In response to Louis Vuitton’s statements that 100% of the animals used for the company’s products are “humanely farmed,” PETA has one major question: How in the world could the exotic-skins industry—in which workers sometimes skin crocodiles alive and stun ostriches with electricity before slitting their throats—be considered humane?
The answer: It isn’t. In a letter to Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, PETA U.S. pushed back against his recent claims that the company uses humanely sourced materials: “Despite this assurance to consumers, there is no such thing as ‘humanely farmed’ animals who are violently killed and skinned for Louis Vuitton products.”
No matter how animals are killed, there is no humane way to exploit them for their skins. A PETA video exposé of a Vietnam crocodile farm that has supplied skins to LVMH, showed crocodiles packed into concrete enclosures, some narrower than the length of their bodies. At another farm, crocodiles were packed into small, filthy concrete pits with other reptiles, exposing them to injury, disease, and aggression—one crocodile was even missing a tail.
Another PETA exposé into the largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world—including Klein Karoo International, which supplied ostrich leather to Louis Vuitton—revealed workers striking ostriches in the face during transport, forcibly restraining them, pushing them into stun boxes, and slitting their throats in front of others slated for a similar fate.
LVMH is also yet to join the long list of designers that have gone fur-free, even when investigation after investigation of the fur industry has shown cruelty across the board.
No animal should be used for clothing or accessories under any circumstances, but these horrifying conditions are standard. Jared Goodman, the PETA Foundation’s vice president and deputy general counsel for animal law, made it clear in the letter that no matter how far the company goes to “humane-wash” its products, the skins industry is still harming and exploiting animals:
As described in the attached report that was provided to LVMH in 2016, this cruelty is standard wherever animals are killed for human use. And PETA’s investigations into the wool, down, and leather industries have revealed time and again that it is nothing but wishful thinking that certifications—which neither Louis Vuitton nor LVMH even require for all suppliers in their chain—somehow prevent egregious harm.
Crocodiles are magnificent animals who can live to be 80 years old in their natural habitat, where they enjoy playing and digging tunnels. They don’t belong in concrete pits, on cutting tables, or in accessories—no animal does.
Dozens of major designers and retailers, including Calvin Klein, Chanel, and HUGO BOSS have removed exotic skins from their products. PETA will continue to put the pressure on LVMH executives until they get the memo that animals are not ours to exploit for handbags, clothing, or anything else.