Exposed: Young Ostriches Butchered for 'Luxury' Bags
Never-before-seen footage shows how birds are shoved into boxes and have their throats slit at slaughterhouses that supply Hermès, Prada and other "luxury" fashion houses.
In September 2015, PETA US investigators travelled to
South Africa to document what happens inside the largest ostrich slaughter
companies in the world, including the exclusive supplier of ostrich skins for
Hermès Birkin bags. Investigators saw workers force terrified ostriches into
stun boxes – causing many to slip and fall – and then slit their throats. The
ostriches next in line watched helplessly as their flockmates were killed right
in front of them.
Workers were caught on camera striking ostriches in
the face during transport, and when ostriches stumbled over a collapsed
flockmate outside a slaughterhouse, a plant director joked, "I'll call the
animal welfare officer just now".
These slaughterhouses supply ostrich skins to Hermès,
Prada, Louis Vuitton and other top European fashion houses. Feathers, some of
which are ripped out of the ostriches' skin while they are fully
conscious, are used in costumes for the Moulin Rouge and festivals like Brazil's
Rio Carnival as well as in feather dusters, boas and accessories. Ostrich meat
is also sold throughout South Africa and exported primarily to Europe.
South Africa: The
Ostrich Killing Capital of the World
The Western Cape of South Africa is home to the
largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world, which supply
"luxury" ostrich skins to Hermès and other major fashion houses.
PETA US investigators saw the juvenile birds tightly
packed into open-topped vehicles for the terrifying journey to slaughter. Once
they reach the slaughterhouse, workers forcibly restrain each bird,
electrically stun them and then cut their throats. Moments later, the feathers
are torn off the birds' still-warm bodies, they are skinned and dismembered.
ostriches can live for more than 40 years, farmed ostriches are slaughtered
when they are just 1 year old. And while young ostriches typically stay with
their parents for up to three years, ostriches raised on factory farms will
never even get to meet their parents.
In the wild,
these intelligent birds share parental duties, with the camouflaged mother
taking care of the eggs during the daytime and the father, who has black
feathers, taking night-time duty. One farm manager told our investigators that
he has seen ostriches take turns fanning each other on hot days, remarking,
"I have a lot of respect for ostrich".
Take Action: Tell
Hermès and Prada to Ditch Exotic Skins
Join us in putting pressure on luxury fashion houses to
remove ostrich and other exotic skins from its collections.