Hermès is exploiting Australian crocodiles

30/08/2021

Exploiting, farming and slaughtering Australian saltwater crocodiles for their skin is not only cruel and unnecessary, it’s also an industry in decline.

Given crocodile skin is becoming a fashion faux pas, the Northern Territory Government should accept that the end of crocodile farming for skins is a matter of when, not if, and will likely happen in the near future.  

Exotic skins – including crocodile skin leather is falling out of fashion with leading brands such as Chanel, Victoria Beckham, Mulberry, Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Tommy Hilfiger  committing to, or shifting to more humane and sustainable alternatives. 

  • Chanel, one of the oldest and most iconic brands, decided to ban the use of exotic skins such as crocodile in 2018 and move towards environmentally-friendly products.  
  • Luxury department store chain, Nordstrom plans to ban exotic animal skins by the end of 2021.  
  • And, Yves Saint Laurent has moved to sell crocodile embossed calf skin which provides the look of genuine crocodile skins.  

Plant-based and synthetic alternatives to animal skins are gaining popularity in luxury fashion including grape, apple and mushroom leathers.  

French luxury fashion brand, Hermès has invested in technology to produce an alternative made from mushroom-based “leather”. This alternative reportedly has the strength and durability of cow skin, is sustainable and does not involve animal exploitation.  

Despite this, Hermès also plans to greatly expand their farming of Australian saltwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory. If plans proceed an additional 50,000 crocodiles will suffer a cramped, short life before a brutal death – all for a handbag.  

Given crocodile skin is becoming a fashion faux pas, the Northern Territory Government should accept that the end of crocodile farming for skins is a matter of when, not if, and will likely happen in the near future.  

They should be planning now for how they will replace the economic contribution and jobs provided by crocodile farming when public opinion and declining demand for its products reaches a critical point.  

The vulnerability of the Northern Territory crocodile farming industry to changing consumer attitudes is made more serious by the fact that it’s dominated by only two brands – Hermès and Louis Vuitton. If only one of them decided to phase out exotic skins, the industry in Australia would be significantly impacted.  

You can join us and call on the Australian Government to work on a time-bound phase-out of this cruel industry. Have your say here and stand up for Australia’s iconic saltwater crocodiles

Thanks for everything you do for the most vulnerable animals around the world.