Hermes Alligator

The economy may be hurting world wide, but those that love Hermes are still buying. In fact, Hermes has resorted to breeding its own crocodiles on farms in Australia to meet the demand for its exotic bags. It is reported that Hermes makes around 3,000 crocodile bags every year and demand continues to grow while the crocodiles are not readily available to fill orders. It can take three to four crocodiles to make one Hermes bag, so the move to use their own farms makes sense.

While other brands are hurting, Hermes continues to churn sales increases. Along with their own crocodile farms in Australia, Hermes is also hiring an additional 50-100 leather workers to join the staff of 2,000 in Paris. What does this mean for us? An easier change to purchase a Hermes crocodile bag, if we have the funds to do so.

[Story via Reuters]

PARIS (Reuters) – French luxury goods group Hermes has resorted to breeding its own crocodiles on farms in Australia to try to meet demand for its leather bags, its chief executive said on Monday.

Customers sometimes have to wait several years for certain exotic-skin bags, which can fetch over 35,000 euros ($48,410).

“It can take three to four crocodiles to make one of our bags so we are now breeding our own crocodiles on our own farms, mainly in Australia,” Patrick Thomas told the Reuters Global Luxury Summit in Paris.

Hermes already faces a major challenge producing 3,000 crocodile bags a year, Thomas said, adding: “The world is not full of crocodiles, except the stock exchange!”

Crocodile farming can be expensive, with the reptiles having to be kept apart in separate rooms to protect their skins from bites, but even so allowances have to be made for natural losses that can amount to around a third of bred crocodiles.

Hermes’ leather goods, which account for 40 percent of its business, have been the most robust in the current downturn with the group taking on 50-100 leather workers this year to add to the 2,000 craftsmen it already employs at French sites.

Thomas admits the group has been pushing other areas of the business, such as fashion and textiles, so it is not so reliant on leather bags, but says this area continues to be its fastest-growing product line.

“We cannot face demand. We have massive over-demand. We are limited by our ability to train new craftsmen,” he added.

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  • Cindy

    Eeooww! That’s just creepy.

  • Elizabeth

    That’s called animal cruelty.

  • renee

    I am shedding crocodile tears over this.

  • Creepcake

    3 to 4 crocodiles per bag!!!!!????? This is disgusting. These are lives people! Just like your own, a living creature, just like you!!!!! Hermes should be shut down and someone should be arrested for this. This should be a crime! I don’t think I’m some kind of bleeding heart for thinking that 4 dead creatures to make 1 bag is totally disgusting.

  • kemilia

    3-4 dead crocs to make one bag? Even if I could afford one, that is just hideous.

  • gpc

    I have refused to purchase an exotic for this reason. While some might think it hypocritical to purchase bags made of leather, goat, lamb, etc… and then refuse to purchase an exotic, my ethical quandry is with the idea of breeding an animal and then killing it JUST FOR ITS SKIN. This is inherently wrong. We, as humans and the top species on the planet, have an awesome responsibility to protect and care for all the other species below us – because ultimately, we won’t survive if they don’t. We should think about this with every purchase we make.

  • jane

    If they are farmed, they are not the 12-foot crocs you see in the zoo or in the wild. Probably much, much smaller by the time they are skinned. Which is why it takes three or four. Think about it.

    This is not much different than farming cattle, goats, or lambs for their skins. And much, much better than hunting endangered reptiles in the wild.

    • Mieko

      I really like the comments made by tm, Stephanie, and Laura. Especially on tm’s comment. So piggy-backing on tm, we need to see the bigger picture here. The plastic bags and other plastics involved in other products we used are waaay more harmful than these croc bags or any other exotic products (i.e. fur)!

      For me, as long as Hermes (or any other clothing/accessories brands, for that matter) don’t use any skins or any body parts of endangered species I am not bothered at all.

      And by the by, those bags are soo pretty, and a proper result of high quality craftsmanship. And remember, Hermes’ bags are not throwaway bags like LV’s, Dior’s, Gucci’s, or Balenciaga’s. Hermes’ bags are like Chanel’s suits. Once bought, kept forever.

      Personally, never really the one for reptile skin accessories. I’m an ostrich gal!

      And here’s the thing. If you don’t like what Hermes is doing, then don’t buy any Hermes’ products or their croc bags, at least. And DON’T bother others who buy those bags. Just live and let live man! Live and let live. (well, not to those crocodiles in Hermes farm at least)

  • renee

    What did everyone think croc bags were made of? So, if only ONE croc per bag died it would be ok? And, if crocs were hunted in the wild it would be better? Use little golfers from West Palm as bait?

    I just wouldn’t pay 40,000 because I just wouldn’t pay 40,000.

  • AB

    Has anyone ever thought that maybe they don’t kill the crocs just for the skin and throw away the rest? Maybe, like they do with cows, they use the meat for bait or food?

  • Misa

    I HOPE they use the meat for something and not let anything go to waste!

  • 19yearslater

    Ugh, I’m with most of the other posters here- 3 to 4? No way. Not worth it.

  • lipvixen

    I hate crocodiles. alligators and caymans as they are vicious man eating creatures. Simply bec one ate my dog in florida and almost got my 12 year old nephew at their backyard. It got the neighbor childs aarm instead. I say kill them all and throw in komodo dragon bags as well.

    It is far more cruel to kill goats. lamb, donkeys and cows just for skin that it is to skin a croc.

  • TO lipvixen & jane

    Killing animals is cruel no matter what kind of animal it is. Jane, does it make it better that they are killing baby crocs? this is just so disgusting!

  • Brianne

    I think it’s disgusting. How horrible. I wonder if people would feel differently if the situation was reversed? I mean seriously… think about being created solely to aide in the creation of a fucking purse. Are you joking me? I am baffled by this. It’s just as bad as people who kill animals for their fur. I don’t consider myself some crazy PETA-esque person, just someone with common sense.

  • Merve

    3-4 crocs per bag? Oh no. This is the reason i wont buy a croc bag. I cant justify a handbag farm and I would be totally ashamed.

  • MizzJ

    I do agree that it’s kind of cruel to raise an animal just for its skin, but is that any different than all the meat you eat, or the eggs and milk and cheese, etc? If you’re going to be comfortable with one, then you have to be comfortable with it all. Personally, I’m not sure where I stand on this issue, so please don’t mistake me as an animal-hater!

  • KathyB

    I hope they’re not farming them just for this reason. I truly hope they are using the entire animal for something and not discarding the carcass after skinning. In some cultures, crocodile is a delicacy meat, so I’m hoping this the end to the means. Just as with cattle, pigs, etc., if you are using an animal for this reason, use as much as possible.

  • Kimberley

    Culling animals for sustenance and farming rarer reptiles for vanity are completely different. I do love Hermes but exotic pieces, like Fur are far from fashionable or a necessity.

  • purly

    It’s really difficult to think about where our bags and food comes from.

  • Britney

    Yes, it is disgusting- but do people realise that goats, cows, etc do not have every part of their body used. Most of the leather we have in handbags and shoes come from cows etc that were killed only for their skin, the rest is disgarded as waste. This idea that the meat industry uses all parts of the animal is a myth. Leather is prodominantly from India where sacred cows are taken, killed in the most inhumane way and treated with harsh chemicals so the leather doesn’t deteriate. Seriously people- synthetic, synthetic, synthetic! It’s just something to carry your keys in- no need for all this suffering!!!

  • Yvette

    I can’t believe that Hermès uses three to four crocodiles for a handbag! Some may call it hypocritical, but humans raise animals for nourishment. It is downright repulsive to slay so many crocodiles for a fashion item.

  • Sheena

    I like Hermès like any other luxury brand but this makes me sick to my stomach.

  • 19yearslater

    I’m really just not an exotic fan as it is. I don’t like the way they look. No hate to those who wear them, I’m just not among the fans.

  • Amouseanon

    So much righteous anger! Hermes, at least, trains and employs highly skilled artisans who make a decent wage. Far better than supporting Walmart and sweatshops. Or shouldn’t human beings have more rights than animals?

  • tm

    A lot of righteous anger, but keep in mind that our (human) impact on the global environment, is far, far bigger than all of the animals that we raise and slaughter for vanity. We’ve pushed entire species into extinction, destroyed habitats, changed the chemistry of the seas and the air. So while you can get all indignant about not buying an exotic skinned bag, think about the bigger picture of the impact your lifestyle already has, and you’ll find you’ve already probably killed more animals (both warm and fuzzy and slimy and scary) than Hermes has for one bag.
    Does it make croc skin bag right? Probably not. But this is illustrating that infamous statement that a handful of deaths is a tragedy, while millions are a statistic.

  • Dawn

    Disgraceful…what is wrong with our society?

  • Rebecca

    Its jus so sad to read this.. 3-4 crocodiles for 1 bag..?!
    I would never want to use this..
    I know its difficult to choose for products.. because no brand makes a non-leather line..
    If just one big brand started this…Im sure there would be change!

  • hect

    i think its fine, the crocs hermes will breed must be perfect and the concept of exotics is great i just think the textures and shades are so fantastic and , the fact that they still make the bags in croc and that they are breeding the perfect animals to make them them just makes hermes even more unique and perfect

  • Oh!darlyn

    Shut up!!!!
    All of you stuped American and brunette bitches ur crying over an animal but not over people who are dying everyday because of human cruelty as well, instead of writing this BS you should be wrapping yourselves onto a tree to save their habitat so one day the wont become extinct smart asses!!!

  • Kaytey

    Oh!darlyn,
    Caring about one issue doesn’t mean you can’t care about two, or three, or four.

  • marie

    Oh!darlyn. Next time you try to make a point, I suggest going back to school and learning some basic grammar and spelling before attempting to post bc you just made yourself look like a complete idiot. Oh and stop swearing. You sound like some preadolescent girl…Seriously, grow up.

    Anyway, personally it’s tragic but we can’t do anything to stop it. Just like we can’t stop rapists, murderers, paedophiles and the like. Sad world, but that’s how things are.

  • Stephanie

    To the person who said that no brand makes a non-leather line, you should look into Stella McCartney. Her bags are great, and everything she makes uses absolutely no animal products–she is a vegan and all of her items are vegan-friendly. Her bags are gorgeous and stand the test of time, and her faux leather is very convincing.

    Marie–I don’t agree with you: we can change things. Vote with your pocketbook, and refuse to buy items that are made from leather, exotics, or whatever else you find tragic/objectionable. And spread the word. It can change things. And even if it doesn’t change the retail or food industries and their treatment of animals, at least you won’t be supporting something you don’t agree with–and that’s important!

  • Samantha

    Really i don’t get what the BIG deal is!!!…there’s more to talk about and more to life than saying slaying slayers is cruel!!!…..or don’t u guys know that only a small part of the crocodile skin is used for leather…dont u guys know the reason why it is so expensive??!…..jackets could even use up to 8 crocs……but these things don’t have souls…humans die every day and we are not yet extinct and these crocs are in farms and are not haunted down in the wild.even if dey are just 1 or 2..which would be used for breeding purposes…besides…d crocodile population is still substantial…..If a CROC….should c any of u at this moment…it will KILL you and waste your human parts…it doesn’t eat everything!!!! and the truth is that most of you guys can’t afford it, if not all………so instead of getting angry about it…just let the users including myself enjoy them…and feel good about them. i didn’t pay 46000 for nothing! so people just chill out

  • Crocodylus

    Hypocrite hypocrite..
    There is no difference if you are black or white, and so..there is no difference if you are cows, chicken, monkeys or if you are a or 3 crocodiles, right? if you can afford to enjoy Ruth Chris or Mastros steak then be it, mostly others will say “lucky you”, right?. Why it is different with others who can afford crocodile purses? Why don’t we all be vegetarians!! so the animals will be over populated and out of control and they are to come to eat us instead of we are in control over the animals. Breading crocs and kill them for their leather and meet is the right things to do.

  • Laura

    These bags are more harmful than just the fact that they require crocodiles to be killed solely for their skins. The leather for these bags was chrome tanned (as is 90% of the world’s leather). Tanning is the process that turns raw animal skins into durable, lasting leather via tannins. Chrome tanning utilizes chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium, i.e. heavy metals, to tan leather and is terrible for the environment. So these bags are not only killing crocodiles solely for decoration but they’re poisoning the environment in their creation as well. This is very sad, because these bags are undeniably beautiful.

    If you care about these issues, but love leather bags, I recommend looking for bags that specifically use “vegetable tanned” cow leather. As far as I know, cows are never killed solely for their skins (that would make leather MUCH more expensive, as cows can’t be cheap to raise) and vegetable tanning uses the tannins from vegetable matter, like tree bark, wood chips, berries, etc. to tan the leather. This process takes much longer and is more expensive than chrome tanning, but is definitely better for the environment.

    Unfortunately, there aren’t many beautiful vegetable tanned bags on the market today, as far as I’ve seen, but I think that’s just because people aren’t well enough informed.

    • Lamar

      Finally, someone who makes some sense. You can’t compare what Hermes is doing to raising cattle AT ALL, cows are NOT killed for their skins, cows are killed for their meat and leather is a bi-product of this. . .

      I do agree that it’s sad/wrong to be raising and eventually killing these animals strictly for their hides, if this is indeed the case.

  • mathilde

    It’s revolting.

  • fact

    in australia crocodiles are hunted and killed most of the time anyway cause they tend to eat people like every month so who cares?
    theyre disgusting anyway…creepy…
    its no different to farming cows anyway…cows get skinned meat gets sold just like with crocodiles.
    just because purseblog decides to write an article feel free to comment on what is written but dont go off at the industry unless you have all the facts. if you dont like crocodile leather then you probably wont like calfskin leather as well.

  • hermes1

    apart from having the necessary money to buy such a bag, do you think breeding animals only to kill them for making bags is correct? Nobody eats crocodiles, at least not at industrial level!
    Easy to forget behind the bag was a LIVING CREATURE

    • tee soo ching

      I AGAINST KILLING ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 1MarrondeOsuna

    Hermes … What a Crock!

    Btw: Who is Hermes’ croc killer(s)? How does Hermes kill its crocs?

    Yes, Hermes makes the best items by far, but resorting to a Hermes croc farm is taking it too far.

    If anyone spends 20-40K on a croc bag, they deserve to be sent to Hades … stuffed in their croc bag. That’s just ridiculous! THINK ABOUT IT!

    It’s almost laughable … the world economy is in a slump, but not Hermes, they require owning a crock farm to keep up with the demand.

    May the fools that purchase such items, lose their wealth and be left w/their croc bag to remind them of their ignorance.

  • ronald garwe

    a product from Hermes is a luxury investment albeit for the rich. The poor are in on the act by rearing these crocs. The only part of the croc thrown away is the head. All the meat is eaten and the tail is a delicacy in Europe, Asia, Australasia and Southern Africa. Whilst my friends are farming cattle, i have decided to farm crocs – and yes I enjoy croc tail. If you are not a vegeterian, don’t dice croc farming.

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