Last June, the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released the gruesome details of an investigation into farms in the US and Zimbabwe that were cutting crocodiles and alligators open while still alive to harvest their highly valued skins. Those skins, it says, were destined for French luxury house Hermès. (The brand didn’t deny the charges, but called it an “isolated irregularity” missed by audits designed to prevent such practices.)
About a month later, to put pressure on the company to stop using such suppliers, PETA employed an unusual tactic: The group, known for its showy protests, bought shares of Hermès International on the Paris stock exchange to voice its views as an Hermès shareholder.
Yesterday (May 31), PETA showed exactly how it is putting those shares to use. PETA representatives attended the Hermès annual shareholders’ meeting in Paris, and the animal rights group used the opportunity to publicly confront Hermès CEO Axel Dumas.
In front of hundreds of shareholders and the press, a PETA France spokeswoman, Isabelle Goetz, read out allegations of cruelty to animals. “Will Hermès some day stop using exotic skins?” she asked Dumas and other board members, according to AFP.