Hermès plans to open a new alligator farm in Australia for luxury goods. This news drew strong criticism from animal welfare groups.
According to the luxury brand’s plan, the farm will hire 30 employees and start with 4,000 alligators, a number that will eventually grow to 50,000 while producing 15,000 pelts per year. The area is already home to many alligator farms, but these numbers will make the next establishment one of the largest in the region.
Dr Jed Goodfellow, a senior policy official at RSPCA Australia, said the company remains opposed to the killing of any animal “where the purpose of their death is primarily to produce a non-essential luxury item like fur or skin” . He said the company was not aware of the details of animal welfare practices on the planned farm and said that in general there were many welfare risks raised by the crocodile farming under intensive conditions, “including injuries from close confinement, small individual enclosure arrangements and the impacts of restraint and slaughter methods.”
On the other hand, the chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s crocodile specialist group, Professor Grahame Webb, says fashion brands like Hermès are actually contributing to conservation efforts in the region. “[Those companies] must have more and more control over their supply chain in order to guarantee the highest standards ”, he told the Guardian. “Hermès is a very conservative company – they are the ones trying to do the right thing. Australia has an excellent reputation for its crocodile management program around the world. Webb also noted that harvesting eggs from the wild was sustainable and the numbers of wild saltwater crocodiles are now “healthy and stable.”
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