Media Centre

'Skinned' People Descend on Hermès Leather Exhibition

For Immediate Release:
8 May 2012

Contact:
Ben Williamson +44 (0)7525 411 733; BenW@peta.org.uk

London - Painted to resemble bloodied and skinned people, three models representing PETA converged outside the opening of the "Hermès Leather Forever" exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts at 6 Burlington Gardens on Tuesday. They held signs reading, "Hermès, Bag Cruelty: Ditch Leather", while other PETA members handed out leaflets to passers-by and event attendees. In addition to causing a life of suffering and a terrifying death for cows and other animals killed for their skin, the leather industry is toxic to the environment and a threat to human health. Unlike more progressive companies, Hermès also uses fur.

"There's nothing remotely fashionable about dismembering cows alive and fouling the environment", says PETA UK Manager Mimi Bekhechi. "With all the luxurious faux-leather and other high-fashion fabrics available, there's no excuse to kill animals for their skin."

Millions of cows and other animals whose skin is turned into leather endure the horrors of factory farming, including extreme crowding and confinement, disease and deprivation of food and water. Branding, tail-docking, dehorning and castration are all often performed without any painkillers. At abattoirs, improper stunning means that many animals are skinned while they're still conscious.

Turning animal skin into leather requires highly toxic mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives and various oils, dyes and finishes - some of which are cyanide-based. Tannery runoff contains large amounts of pollutants, such as salt, lime sludge, sulphides and acids. Animals on factory farms produce 10 times as much excrement as the entire human population - without the benefit of waste-treatment plants.