After acquiring a small stake in Hermès last year to gain access to the Paris-based design house's shareholder meetings, a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals confronted Hermès' chief executive officer at the company’s annual general meeting. Per WWD, Isabelle Goetz, a French spokeswoman for the non-profit animal rights organization, attended the brand's annual general meeting and asked CEO Axel Dumas if Hermès planned to stop using exotic skins, including those of ostriches.
Dumas responded to PETA's concerns by reiterating that Hermès, which is best known for its pricey Birkin and Kelly bags, ensures its suppliers respect international regulations in addition to its own rules of ethical conduct. He said in the meeting: “You have a number of concerns regarding the treatment of animals. We respect them, but we don’t necessarily share your position regarding farming. Farming conditions strictly comply with international regulations because we want to apply the best practices in this field, and I think that Hermès has always been at the forefront of wanting to pay attention to ethics and the treatment of animals."
He elaborated saying: “Hermès has no exclusive ostrich supplier. There are no Hermès employees working on ostrich farms. We ask all our suppliers to comply not only with international legislation but also our internal rules, which are much stricter than international policies in this regard,” he said.
PETA, which is famous for its shocking media campaigns, acquired a very small stake in the French luxury goods brand, in July 2015. According to a statement from the animal rights group last year, it became a shareholder in Hermès by acquiring a single share in the company worth $360 on the Paris stock exchange.