PETA had people stopping in their tracks in a bustling section of Tokyo this week. Since Louis Vuitton has refused to stop putting snakes and other exotic animals into its bags, three activists in front of the store climbed into bags of their own for an attention-grabbing display. The trio squirmed and writhed inside cloth bags on the sidewalk—as passersby took pictures and video—to demonstrate how pythons used in Louis Vuitton’s pricey purses are confined in sacks for around three months without food or water so that they’ll have nothing in their systems when they’re killed.
After three months of starvation and dehydration, slaughterhouse workers beat the snakes with hammers, ram hoses down their throats, and pump them full of water in an attempt to stretch their skin and make it easier to remove. The workers then slice the animals open with razor blades, rip off their skin, and disembowel them, as a recent PETA investigation showed.
A reptile expert who reviewed the eyewitness footage said that the pythons were likely “conscious across all stages” of the process. Because of snakes’ physiology, it could take some individuals hours or even weeks to die from these barbaric slaughter methods.
In response to the ongoing campaign by PETA Asia and PETA entities around the world, Louis Vuitton issued statements claiming that 100% of the animals used for the company’s products are “humanely farmed.” But the brand isn’t likely to find anyone who agrees that bashing pythons with hammers, skinning crocodiles alive, and slitting ostriches’ throats qualifies as “humane.”
No bag, shoe, or wallet is worth such suffering—especially when truly humane vegan materials that mimic the look and feel of exotic animals’ skin are readily available and much more eco-friendly.
Join animal advocates around the globe in urging LVMH—Louis Vuitton’s parent company—to ban exotic skins, as Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Diane von Furstenberg, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, and many, many other designers and retailers have done.