Upsetting New Video Reveals how Ostriches Meet Their End for Birkin Bags and Prada Purses

For Immediate Release:
26 February 2016

Nikunj Sharma; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

PETA US Gives First-Ever Look Inside the ‘Luxury’ Ostrich-Leather Bag Business: Juvenile Birds Are Shocked, Smacked, Killed, Plucked and Skinned

Western Cape, South Africa – PETA India’s US affiliate, PETA US, has just released the first-ever exposé of the highly secretive industrial ostrich-slaughter industry, in which young ostriches are killed for “luxury” handbags, shoes and belts for Hermès, LVMH, Prada and other top European fashion houses, most of which have stores in India.

Video footage was shot at South African slaughterhouses run by the two largest ostrich producers in the world, which supply up to 85 per cent of all ostrich products worldwide. The video reveals that newly hatched birds, who would normally spend up to three years with their bonded parents, are kept in barren dirt feedlots until they are trucked to slaughterhouses. 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 the exposé, PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – joins its US affiliate in calling on Hermès, Prada and all other retailers to drop ostrich and other exotic skins as well as on shoppers not to buy these items.

“Smart, sensitive, curious young ostriches are treated like victims of a horror film simply because someone wants a bumpy Birkin bag or a pockmarked Prada purse”, says PETA India founder Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges shoppers to ditch the skin and choose from the many high-end, ultra-fashionable, animal-friendly vegan accessories on the market.”

In nature, ostriches share parental duties, and babies 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 to make feather dusters and boas. The birds’ flesh is sold for human consumption.

This is PETA US’ 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 pits for Birkin bags.