Many have expressed dismay since Jane Birkin’s outburst regarding how crocodiles were farmed and harvested (many of you would have by now already seen that infamous video online) for Hermès bags, SLGs and other accessories. Since then, the furore has died down but that has not stopped the French luxury house from conducting its own investigations; they have released the following which I’ve decided to reproduce in full below. Released on 11 September, this is what happened and what will be done in the future according to Hermès.
Paris, 11 September 2015
Following the heartfelt emotion expressed by Jane Birkin and her request for explanation, Hermès in agreement with her reiterates its firm commitment in the ethical treatment of crocodiles in its partner farms.
Hermès reasserts its commitment to implement best practice in the farming of crocodiles, working with professional crocodile farmers and their attached local communities. This is in strictest compliance with international regulations.
In consultation with local regulatory organizations and associations, Hermès is resolved to evolve its current recommendations to support the development of best standards for the entire profession. In the United States, the document of reference is the Best Management Practices for Louisiana Alligator Farming. We demand that these Louisiana practices be the reference applied by all our suppliers in the U.S.A., Texas included.
However, in a crocodile farm in Texas, an isolated irregularity was identified in the slaughter process. This incident led to a warning on our part regarding the neglect of our prescribed recommended procedures. An audit carried out in July 2015 showed that all practices on the site are compliant. Any further irregularity will lead to Hermès immediately ceasing relations with this farm.
Hermès stresses that the video content circulating on the internet purporting to be from a Zimbabwe crocodile farm was recorded before any partnership between Hermès and the farm was established. Furthermore, the footage shown was not all captured at that establishment. Following the inspection of the farm in question, a report, published by the ZNSPCA, (Zimbabwe National Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), affiliated with the American SPCA, concluded that farming and slaughter best practices were respected at the site.
Above and beyond regular inspections over the last 10 years, Hermès has established a comprehensive and rigorous audit programme for all suppliers of its crocodile skins. The programme concerns notably the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), good practices for farming, procedures for slaughter, environmental management, social conditions of employees and the security of work conditions and infrastructures.
Hermès is making it mandatory for partner farms to adopt its farming charter, established in partnership with expert veterinarians. The signature and unconditional respect of this charter are imperative conditions to continued relations with suppliers based upon the highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles.
Jane Birkin has advised us that she is satisfied by the measures taken by Hermès.
Hermès underlines that these farming practices have contributed to saving the species by repopulating alligators in their natural habitat. Since its foundation, Hermès has conducted its activities driven by a profound respect for nature.