Necks cut open and spines severed alive, just so they can be made into $40,000 Birkin handbags and watch straps.
PETA has exposed the horrifying treatment of the reptiles at a Texas farm . They are shot in the head with a blot gun before their spines are severed. On occasion a box cutter is used to cut open their neck and sever arteries. Farmers admit some animals have to suffer in agony for several minutes. They are then skinned and sent to tanneries in the U.S. and France. Here they are transformed into luxury fashion items for Hermes.
Crocodiles are cut open alive so their skin can be used for $40,000 Birkin handbags and luxury $2,000 watch straps, a horrifying undercover investigation has revealed.
In a video taken from a hidden camera, animal charity PETA has exposed how the reptiles are put through unimaginable suffering at a leather farm in Texas before they are brutally killed for fashion industry giant Hermes.
The animals at the Lone Star Alligator Farm in Winnie are forced to live in dirty, dark pits before they are dragged out by workers and placed on a table, struggling desperately to escape, and killed.
Their skin is then made into the handbags and watchstraps, which are known for having price tags in the thousands of dollars and are worn by a host of celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Victoria Beckham and Ashton Kutcher.
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At just three years old the crocodiles are ‘harvested’ before their skin is sent to a Hermes tanneries.
After they are shot in the head with a bolt gun their necks are sawed open, sometimes with a box cutter, to sever the blood vessels.
When the captive-bolt gun was broken, the facility manager told a worker to cut into hundreds of conscious alligators and try to dislocate their vertebrae and then shove a metal rod up their spinal columns in an attempt to scramble their brains.
Farmers openly admit some crocodiles survive the sickening ordeal – known as cervical dislocation – and are seen moving in ice bins alongside the carcass of the other dead animals.
The manager referred to the live alligators as ‘watchbands’, as some of their skins are used for the ‘luxury’ bands on Hermès wristwatches.
They are left suffering for minutes after before eventually succumbing to the pain.
Stacked up: Their skins are stored in a huge freezer before they are shipped off to tanneries across the United States or in France
On one day, the farm manager urged a worker to cut into 500 conscious animals with a knife, because the blot gun had been misplaced.
PETA US has filed a complaint with Texas authorities over the apparently illegal acts of cruelty to animals that were caught on video.
THE STORY BEHIND THE ICONIC BIRKIN BAG
English actress and singer Jane Birkin was sat next to Hermès chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight from Paris to London in 1981.
She was putting her straw bag in the overhead compartment when the contents fell on to the floor.
She told Mr Dumas that she could not find a leather bag that she liked, so he had one personally made for her.
The bag is now a symbol of wealth, with some types of Birkin selling for up to $100,000.
At one point, customers faced a six-year waiting list to get their hands on the exclusive handbag.
Video footage captured by PETA US investigators at Padenga Holdings crocodile farms in Kariba, Zimbabwe – which supply skins for Birkin bags – shows concrete pits that are each filled with as many as 220 crocodiles.
Padenga operates one of the largest Nile crocodile–farming operations in the world, accounting for nearly 85 per cent of the global supply of Nile crocodile–skins to luxury fashion brands, with 43,000 animals killed in 2014 alone.
Padenga’s director of operations describes the ‘luxury’ bags market as ‘bulletproof’. The company also own 50 per cent of the Texas business.
‘PETA’s exposé of Hermès’ suppliers in the US and Africa reveals that every Hermès watchband or Birkin bag means a living, feeling being experienced a miserable life and a ghastly death’, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi.
‘People pay thousands of pounds for such accessories, but the reptiles on these cruel and disgusting factory farms are paying the real price.’
The Daily Mail Online has contacted Hermes for comment.
Earlier this month a bright pink, crocodile skin Birkin bag was sold for $212,000 – making it the most expensive in the world.
Sickening treatment: The tale of one of the dead crocodiles is seen above the surfaced of a blood-filled ice bin at the Texas farm
Huge operation: The company Padenga operates one of the largest Nile crocodile–farming operations in the world in Kariba, Zimbabwe
Cramped: The crocodiles move over the top of each other in their enclosures as they await their death
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