PETA Gives First-Ever Look Inside the 'Luxury' Ostrich-Leather Bag Business: Juvenile Birds Are Shocked, Smacked, Killed, Plucked and Skinned
PETA has released the first-ever exposé of the highly secretive industrial ostrich-slaughter industry, where young ostriches are killed for "luxury" handbags, shoes, and belts by Hermès, LVMH, Prada and other top European fashion houses.
PETA US investigators shot video footage (below) at South African abattoirs run by the two largest ostrich producers in the world, which supply up to 85 per cent of all ostrich products worldwide. The footage reveals that newly hatched birds, who would normally spend several years with their bonded parents, are kept in barren dirt feedlots until they are transported to abattoirs. There, the 1-year-old ostriches are turned upside down in a stunner, are ejected to have their throats slit and have their feathers plucked out, creating the bumpy-textured or "goose bump" skin used in Birkin and Prada bags and other "luxury" goods.
In the wake of PETA's exposé, the group – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to wear" – is calling on Hermès, Prada and all other retailers to drop ostrich and other exotic skins and asking shoppers not to buy these items.
"Smart, sensitive and curious young ostriches are treated like victims in a horror film simply because someone wants a bumpy Birkin bag or a pockmarked Prada purse", says PETA Managing Director Ingrid Newkirk. "PETA urges shoppers to bag the skin and choose from the many high-end, ultra-fashionable and animal-friendly vegan accessories on the market."
In nature, ostriches share parental duties, and babies will stay with their mothers and fathers for up to three years. But on, ostrich farms, chicks never meet their parents. Some birds are restrained and have their feathers ripped out while they are still alive for feather dusters and feather boas. The birds' flesh is sold for human consumption.
This is PETA's second exposé of exotic-skin suppliers to Hermès and the first glimpse into Prada's suppliers. The group previously revealed that live alligators are hacked apart for Hermès watchbands and that crocodiles are kept in crowded, concrete pits for Birkin bags.