Australian crocodiles are the real fashion victims
Ask the Federal Government to end the cruel crocodile skin trade
French luxury fashion brand Hermès is planning to open a massive new farm in the Northern Territory. If it opens, the farm will house up to 50,000 saltwater crocodiles to be slaughtered for non-essential luxury items like handbags, belts and shoes.
Each year, thousands of Australian crocodiles already suffer a short, crowded life before a brutal death. Three to four crocodiles are killed just to make one expensive luxury handbag for French fashion brand, Hermès. They are truly victims of fashion.
Crocodiles are wild animals who belong in the wild. All wild animals deserve to be protected from suffering and exploitation. Crocodiles deserve a life free from stress and suffering – a life that doesn’t hurt.
Australian saltwater crocodiles are wild animals, not luxury French handbags. Act now to end this cruel crocodile skin trade.
What is wrong with crocodile farming?
In the wild, saltwater crocodiles can live more than 70 years. And yet, on crocodile farms, they live for about three years in small, barren plastic-lined pens.
This proposed new farm comes at a time when many brands in the fashion industry are moving away from exotic skins and even Hermès is developing plant-based handbags. The Northern Territory Government should be planning for the end of this industry – not helping it expand.
Typically, crocodiles are electrocuted to immobilise them before travel or slaughter. The charge is given on the back of the neck for 4-6 seconds through a pole with a set of metal prongs on the end, before the back of the neck is cut and the brain is pierced.
It’s time to come together to end the commodification and cruel exploitation of crocodiles. The unnatural conditions and unspeakable slaughter methods are unacceptable in modern society.
Ask Minister for Environment and Water, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, to stand up for Aussie wildlife and to not rubber stamp Hermès’ export permit.
The scale of the problem
There are an estimated 135,000 farmed crocodiles in the Northern Territory. This number exceeds the Northern Territory’s estimated wild population of approximately 100,000.
Hermès already owns three other crocodile facilities in Australia. The new farm will increase the number of crocodiles cruelly farmed in the Northern Territory by about 37%. This is animal suffering on an industrial scale.
Killing crocodiles for handbags is cruelty not conservation. Saltwater crocodiles were once threatened with extinction in Australia due to commercial hunting. This led to their protection in 1971 in the Northern Territory and a recovery of their numbers in the wild. The conservation crisis is well and truly over.
Crocodile farming cruelly exploits wild animals for companies to profit from the sale of non-essential fashion products.
Call on the Minister to do the right thing for Australian crocodile welfare.
The outdated Code of Practice
Before Hermès can export crocodile skins from its new farm, the Minister is required to grant a permit under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The Act requires the Minister to “to promote the humane treatment of wildlife”, but this farm would do the exact opposite.
The new Hermès farm will rely on the outdated 2009 Code of Practice for crocodile welfare. The Code was meant to be reviewed and updated after five to 10 years. But it has been 12 years, and it hasn’t been updated and there are no public plans to do so.
The Code openly acknowledges deficiencies in the experimental study of crocodile behaviours, sensory perception and pain thresholds, and calls for more research into all aspects of captive crocodile welfare. It notes that this research is “progressing rapidly” and that this may alter current practices. This was written 12 years ago, making the need for a review and update of the Code even more urgent.
Ask the Minister to care for crocodiles by refusing to grant export permits for this new farm.
For more information, read our full report: Fashion victims: The trade in Australian saltwater crocodile skins