In a statement, Birkin said:
Having been alerted to the cruel practices reserved for crocodiles during their slaughter to make Hermès handbags carrying my name… I have asked Hermès to debaptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place.
Hermes was quick to appease its famous muse, and released its own statement:
Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.
Shocked, no less! Maybe they thought the reptiles were sung to sleep in their cribs, but as it turns out, PETA released a video showing otherwise.
Hermes went on to say::
An investigation is underway at the Texas farm which was implicated in the video. Any breach of rules will be rectified and sanctioned.
While Hermes insists that the company respects 'slaughter standards' established by veterinary experts and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Birkin's announcement may take the luster of this season's new infatuation with crocodile and alligator accessories. On the other hand, consumers who buy exotic skins and furs are probably immune to campaigns by PETA.
Birkin probably can't get her name back, since she never had it trademarked in the first place. She receives around £30,000 a year from Hermes as a sort of friendly royalty, and reportedly gives the money to charity.
The Birkin bag has long been the ultimate status symbol all over the world, and demand is kept high by outrageous prices and waiting lists. If Jane Birkin's protest saves even one crocodile from hanging on the arm of an obscenely wealthy socialite, it will be a triumph, however small.