Louis Vuitton RTW Spring 2017


INSIDE JOB: PETA hopes to challenge LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton from the inside. The non-profit animal rights group, formally known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said that it has purchased a single share in the French luxury goods giant in order to pressure the company to stop selling merchandise made from exotic skins.

A spokeswoman for LVMH, reached Friday, had no comment on the news.

It is expected that a PETA representative will make a statement at LVMH’s annual general meeting in April, mirroring its strategy taken for Hermès International and Prada Group.

As reported, in late July 2015 PETA bought a share of Hermès. Then last May, a representative of the organization confronted the company’s chief executive officer Axel Dumas at the AGM over its use of exotic skins.

Isabelle Goetz, a French spokeswoman for PETA, read out allegations of cruelty to animals and asked Dumas if Hermès planned to stop using exotic skins. The executive reiterated that the company ensures its suppliers respect international regulations in addition to its own rules of ethical conduct.

PETA had alleged cruelty at two crocodile and alligator skin suppliers in Texas and Zimbabwe in June 2015 after publishing what it said was undercover video footage of the farms. Actress Jane Berkin subsequently called for Hermès to remove her name from the crocodile version of its Birkin bag, but Hermès said the facility in question did not supply the crocodile skins used for those bags.

Last April, PETA revealed it had purchased shares in Prada. On its web site, the organization said it “hopes to help the company pull its head out of the sand” as it aims to “end the sale of cruelly produced ostrich-skin purses.”

More recently, at the end of December, PETA published a video – said to have been viewed more than 30 million times – of mistreated crocodiles farmed in Vietnam, which it alleged were raised to make luxury leather bags around the world.

“In the wake of a PETA exposé revealing that reptiles on crocodile farms in Vietnam – including two that have supplied skins to a tannery owned by Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH – are confined to tiny pits and sometimes hacked into while they’re still alive and thrashing, PETA has become a shareholder of LVMH on the Euronext Paris to put pressure on the company to stop selling exotic skins merchandise,” the organization wrote in the statement on Thursday.

“Every PETA exposé of the exotic-skins industry has found sensitive living beings crammed into filthy pits, hacked apart and left to die,” said PETA president Ingrid Newkirk. “From demonstrating on the street to speaking up in the boardroom, PETA will push LVMH to stop selling any bag, watchband or shoe made from a reptile’s skin.”

The LVMH spokeswoman disputed PETA’s information regarding LVMH’s relationship with the crocodile farms in Vietnam.

“Since 2014, the LVMH group and its suppliers definitively ceased working with the farms mentioned by PETA,” she explained. “The practices referred to by PETA are totally contrary to the principles and rules of the LVMH group. PETA was informed of all these elements prior to diffusing its video.”

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