Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) say they will be at the South Coast Plaza Hermès at noon, not to score an $1,100 Lettres d'Erevan cashmere and silk shawl designed by Karen Petrossian but to urge shoppers to "not to buy the skins of tormented animals."
An investigation uncovered mistreatment of alligators on a filthy Texas farm that supplies Hermès skins, PETA claims. "After a captive-bolt gun at the facility was believed to be malfunctioning, the manager told a worker to cut into hundreds of live and fully conscious alligators and try to dislocate their vertebrae and then shove a metal rod up their spinal columns," the group reports. "Some reptiles were writhing minutes after their necks were sawed open with a knife or box cutter in a crude effort to slaughter them–all for $2,000 watchbands."
Footage also claims to have been captured from Zimbabwe, where "thousands of crocodiles were crowded into unnatural, barren concrete pits for $40,000-plus Birkin and Kelly bags," PETA claims.
"PETA's exposé of Hermès suppliers in the U.S. and Africa reveals that every Hermès watchband or Birkin bag means a living, feeling being experienced a miserable life and a ghastly death," says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a statement. "People pay thousands of dollars for such accessories, but the reptiles on these cruel and disgusting factory farms are paying the real price."
To educate shoppers in the Costa Mesa temple of high-end consumerism, PETA will show how a "reptile" lies in a pool of "blood," which they plan to depict near the outside of the Hermès' storefront. The prop will be painted to look like a crocodile and flanked by a banner proclaiming, "Hermès: Accessories to Murder." Protesters say they will chant, "Animals are not ours to wear."
The outdoor area near Hermès is by the southwest corner of the north parking structure off Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa.