A local animal rights protester has taken part in a national demonstration against the use of exotic skins for fashion accessories.
Carrying an oversized sign resembling an ostrich handbag, 24-year-old Charly Keats from Selmeston took part in the PETA protest in London last week.
She stood in front of Hermès’ boutique on the capital’s New Bond Street to speak out against the use of exotic skins, including ostrich, for accessories.
The action comes on the heels of PETA’s release of what it calls the first-ever exposé of the highly secretive industrial ostrich-slaughter industry, where young ostriches are kept in barren dirt feedlots until they are trucked to abattoirs.
PETA says the one-year-old birds are then turned upside down in a stunner before having their throats slit and their feathers plucked out – creating the bumpy-textured or “goose bump” skin used in Birkin and Prada bags and other “luxury” goods.
Charly said: “Anyone who buys a bumpy Birkin bag or pockmarked Prada purse is responsible for the shocking, slaughtering, plucking and skinning of a smart, sensitive and curious young ostrich.
“With so many high-end and stylish cruelty-free accessories available, we are calling on all shoppers to ditch the animal skins and shop vegan.”
Charly and PETA – which has the motto that reads in part, “animals are not ours to wear” – are calling on Hermès, Prada and all other retailers to drop ostrich and exotic animal skins.
Prada is not commenting on the allegations but Hermes has released a statement.
A spokesperson said: “Hermès is fully committed to adherence to the highest international standards regarding the sustainable farming of non-endangered animals. Hermès is in the process of auditing supplier farms to ensure best practices are met in all instances. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned. The company demands conformity with slaughter standards established.”
Charly stood alongside Jackie Joyce, 29, who led the protest topless with a mock dead ostrich draped across her chest. Fellow activist Anna Buraya joined Charly in holding handbag-shaped placards reading “Hermès: Bin ostrich skin”.
Visit PETA.org.uk for more information.
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