Animal rights group targets Hermes over skins trade

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The Independent Online

An animal rights group on Tuesday demanded French luxury goods company Hermes stop selling exotic animal skin products, and released gruesome videos of reptiles being skinned alive in Indonesia.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) senior campaigner Ashley Fruno said lax laws made Indonesia a poachers' paradise and animals were being cruelly slaughtered and skinned.

"There are a lot of rural areas which make it easier to hunt and poach animals. There are weak animal protection laws here and wildlife laws are difficult to enforce," she told a press conference in the Indonesian capital.

"Hermes produces exotic skin items in Indonesia and is a leader in the fashion industry, so PETA is calling Hermes to act like a real leader to raise the bar in animal welfare.

"PETA encourages international retailers like Hermes to fully drop exotic skins from their lines."

The group's researchers spent 2009 visiting more than a dozen companies around Indonesia to film reptiles being killed and skinned, she said.

"Lizards had their necks slowly sawed open and were left to die on other dead and dying lizards... they're struggling to breathe with blood pouring from their throats," Fruno said.

"Snakes which aren't killed by decapitation are paralysed by having skewers shoved up their noses and then they're pumped full of water to separate the skin from the organs while they're still alive."

No one at the nearest Hermes office in Singapore was available to comment.

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