Animal activist group, People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has released footage taken inside several crocodile farms in Vietnam depicting the horrific way in which the animals’ skins are harvested. The video, filmed in March and April 2016, is part of a PETA investigation into the exotic skin trade and shows the crocodiles essentially being skinned alive.
According to Forbes, two of the farms where PETA’s footage was captured include the Ton Phat Crocodile Co. Ltd and the My Hiep Private Company. For several years, these two firms provided crocodile skins to Heng Long, a Singapore-based supplier of exotic skins that is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE parent company to fashion brands including Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Loewe, and others. LVMH has confirmed that Heng Long sourced skins from Ton Phat in 2006 and 2007, and from My Hiep between 2010 and 2014.
Sylvie Bénard, LVMH’s Corporate Environment Director, said that Heng Long has not bought crocodile skins from any Vietnamese farms since 2014. She declined to state why the company ceased buying skins from these suppliers, citing the confidential relationship the company has with its partners in its supply chain.
She added, “We have no knowledge of a partner that would practice the method you referred to … any cruel method involving the suffering of the animal is in clear contradiction with our principles and rules.”
PETA has filed a legal complaint with Vietnamese Department of Agriculture alleging the treatment of the crocodiles on the farms is in direct violation of the country’s Law on Animal Health.
The allegations come over a year after PETA released a video showing abuses on crocodile farms that provide skins for Hermès. PETA alleged that animals at Hermès-owned tanneries were being sawed open while they were still alive. In response to the video, English actress, Jane Birkin, demanded that Hermès remove her name from its Birkin crocodile bag "until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place."
The parties have since resolved the name dispute with the French leather-goods firm asserting that it had identified an “isolated irregularity” in the slaughter process at a crocodile farm in Texas and had warned the farm it would cease any relations should it continue to neglect its recommended procedures.