Animal welfare is serious business. And if there's one animal activist group that has always done things their own way, it's People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (aka PETA). The animal cruelty warriors, who once threw red paint at a fur-coat-wearing Anna Wintour, have recently set their sights on one of the giants in the fashion industry: LVMH, the family-run behemoth that owns Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, Fendi, Loewe and Céline. Many of these brands are famed for their leatherware and it's their use of exotic animal skins that PETA are trying to halt.
How so? Well, they're hoping that being an insider makes all the difference. Yep, PETA has just bought themselves a stake in LVMH, a move which they're hoping will "put pressure on the company to stop selling exotic skins merchandise." As shareholders, they'll be able to attend meetings and presumably put pressure on the company from the inside to stop using animal skins in their products.
The move follows a recent PETA expose on the heartbreakingly inhumane conditions at two crocodile farms in Vietnam. The skins were said to be supplied to Heng Long, a supplier of exotic skins that is part-owned by LVMH. However, LVMH's director of environment Sylvie Bernard told the Financial Times that LVMH had not used any skins from Vietnamese farms since 2014. "We have no knowledge of a partner that would practice the method you referred to... any cruel method involving the suffering of the animal is in clear contradiction with our principles and rules," she added.
However, PETA aren't going to let it slide. "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." Their move follows a previous strategy of buying shares at Hermès and Prada to stop them using animal skins in their products.