An £82,657 Hermès Birkin bag at the Hermès shop in New York / TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images


Actress, singer and style icon Jane Birkin has asked luxury fashion brand Hermès to rename their famous 'Birkin bag' due to her concerns over cruelty to crocodiles in farms that supply the company with leather.

The 68-year-old actress publicly called on Hermès to rename the iconic bag after being alerted to the cruel treatment of crocodiles on farms that supply Hermès with leather for their bags.

Prices for Birkin bags start at £6,700, but can cost as much as £100,000 depending on the type of materials used.

The model of bag was created for Birkin and named after her by Jean-Louis Dumas, the former chairman of Hermès, in 1984.

The bags can be made out of calf, ostrich and lizard leather, but the priciest versions are typically those made from the skin of the saltwater crocodile.

The bags are also released to Hermès shops on unpredictable schedules and in small quanities, making them even more desirable to fashion fans.

In a statement, Birkin said: "Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name, I have asked Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag."

Recently, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) released an undercover video apparently taken on crocodile and alligator farms in Zimbawe and Texas that allegedly supply Hermès with the leather for their bags.

The most expensive Birkin bags can cost over £100,000

During the video, in which farm workers are recorded saying their farm supplies Hermès, crocodiles are shown living in concrete ponds, being killed by having metal rods shoved down their spinal columns, and twitching in ice buckets after being dispatched by workers.

Ingrid Newkirk, the founder of Peta, thanked Birkin for her statement on Hermès.

Newkirk called on the luxury brand to "stop plundering wildlife, factory-farming crocodiles and alligators and slaughtering them for their skins."

She added: "Once, Birkin bags marked people as celebrities or at least members of the super-rich, but soon, no one will want to be caught dead carrying one, and animal advocates will then breathe a sigh of relief".

The Independent has contacted Hermès for comment.