A crocodile was seen lying in front of Hermes on Madison Avenue Thursday afternoon, fake blood trickling from her throat.
The crocodile was PETA volunteer Cassandra Callaghan, who sported full reptilian body paint as part of a demonstration organized by PETA to protest the Hermes Company’s purchase and sale of crocodile and alligator skins. The protest follows an undercover investigation published by PETA that alleges the animals whose skins are purchased by Hermes are being raised and slaughtered in an abusive manner.
“We are asking Hermes to stop selling the skins of these exotic reptiles,” said PETA’s Ashley Byrne. “We want people to know that even if they may not be as familiar with crocodiles and alligators as they are with dogs and cats, these animals have the same abilities to feel pain and fear and they deserve protection.”
Hermes did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The manager of the store on Madison Avenue referred press to its corporate headquarters.
Police quickly arrived on the scene of the protest to keep the sidewalks clear as approximately ten PETA volunteers held signs around the painted Callaghan that read, “Hermes: Bag the Cruel Crocodile Skin” and “3 Animals killed for 1 Crocodile Bag.”
A TV played graphic footage of what activists said was alligator and crocodile abuse for pedestrians walking by and exiting the Hermes store.
In order to have more influence on the company, PETA recently purchased stock in Hermes, Byrne said.
“We’ve reached out to them, but at this time Hermes has not taken any steps to let us know that they intend to stop this cruelty to exotic reptiles,” continued Byrne. “So as long as that’s the case, we will keep bringing this information directly to their customers.”
Joel Bartlett, senior director of marketing innovations for PETA, said that with 16.5 million views online so far, the investigation into the alleged alligator and crocodile mistreatment has had the largest outreach in the organization’s history thanks to social media shares.
“People have never seen any footage like this before. And upon seeing it and learning about the cruelty that goes into crocodile and alligator skin, people want to do something,” said Bartlett, who has worked with PETA for 12 years. “I’m out here to help continue to get the word out about this investigation and to hold accountable the stores that are selling crocodile bags and other exotic skins.”
A petition for Hermes to stop its sales of crocodile and alligator skins currently has over 58 thousand supporters on peta.org.