Hermès was among some of the latest of luxury retailers to take up residence at CityCenterDC with an opening on April 30. But not everyone is excited about the arrival of the boutique. On Wednesday, PETA announced in an email that PETA protestors plan to lie a “reptile” in a pool of “blood” by the closest entrance to the Hermès boutique at CityCenterDC on Thursday. They also plan to bring a banner that reads “Hermès: Accessories to Murder.”
The protest is in conjunction with a CBS News story published on June 24 that describes the discoveries of undercover PETA investigators who worked at alligator and crocodile farms in Texas and Zimbabwe. Included in the news story is footage from a video taken by the PETA investigators, which appears to depict workers cutting at the neck and cervical vertebrae of still-living alligators when the bolt guns, typically used for killing the animals, failed. The farms are said to be tied to Hermès, whose high-end Birkin bags are made of crocodile skin.
“PETA’s exposé of Hermès suppliers in the U.S. and Africa reveals that every Hermès watchband or Birkin bag means a living, feeling being experienced a miserable life and a ghastly death,” said PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk in the protest press release. “People pay thousands of dollars for such accessories, but the reptiles on these cruel and disgusting factory farms are paying the real price.”
Hermès declined to comment in the CBS News story, but in response to the protest planned for CityCenterDC, a spokesperson for the Hermès brand said, “All our skins used by Hermès are sourced from farms where Hermès demands the best farming conditions which conform to the international regulations. These farms respect the rules established by the Washington Convention (1972), which defines the parameters of the protection of specific species,” and that “Hermès is continuously verifying all procedures. Any non conforming parties will be dealt with accordingly and will be sanctioned.”
CityCenterDC declined to comment on this article.