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Gucci, Louis Vuitton skin reptiles alive to make pricey handbags: PETA

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Louis Vuitton and Gucci are selling bags, belts and wallets made from snakes and lizards that were cruelly killed — some with their heads hacked off as they tried to scurry away — according to an explosive new investigation.

Some of the reptiles were bludgeoned repeatedly with a machete — with workers cutting off their legs even as the lizards floundered helplessly, according to hidden-camera video that captured the practices and was shared with The Post.

Other videos show snakes that were partially slit open, with hoses stuck down their throats to inflate them with water — apparently to make it easier to skin them alive, according to an investigation by animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

“Because of their unique physiology, lizards do not die instantaneously after being decapitated and their brains can remain conscious and fully able to feel pain for over 30 minutes,” according to PETA.” The videos captured two instances in which lizards’ heads continued to move after they’d been hacked off from the rest of the body.

A wall of lizard skins are drying and a separate picture shows a man holding a lizard with its legs tied up.
Animal rights group, PETA, went undercover at reptile slaughterhouses in Indonesia.
PETA Asia

The disturbing photographs and video footage of the grisly killings at a facility in Indonesia represent the first time PETA has been able to demonstrate how these reptiles used in the luxury fashion industry are slaughtered, according to PETA spokeswoman Ashley Byrne.

A lizard laid out about to be decapitated.
Lizards being decapitated at a reptile slaughterhouse, according to video caught from a PETA investigation. The organization says Gucci and Louis Vuitton use parts of these animals in their products.
PETA Asia

“We have documented evidence of cruelty to reptiles in the supply chain for years,” Byrne told The Post, “but this is the first time we could expose how they are killed. This footage is straight out of a horror movie.”

Lizards being dunked in buckets of water before they are killed.
Lizards being dunked in buckets of water before they are killed, according to video caught by the investigation.
PETA Asia

On Monday, PETA sent letters to the heads of luxury conglomerate LVMH – which owns Louis Vuitton – and Kering, which owns Gucci.

LVMH did not respond specifically to the allegations regarding snakes, but it said in a statement to The Post: “LVMH respects all views and sensitivities on the use of animal-based raw materials and we support and are actively involved in the sector’s efforts to achieve the best possible practices. Our intention is to provide customers with a product that has been made in the most responsible and ethical manner possible.”

A python being hammered on its head.
A python being hammered on its head multiple times in an effort to stun it, captured by the video.
PETA Asia

Kering, which stopped using fur in September, was informed in a separate letter from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk written to Chief Executive Francois-Henri Pinault that live lizards in its supply chain have their “legs tied tightly together” while they are “submerged in tubs of water before they were placed on a wooden block and decapitated.” 

Kering said in a statement that “while we have taken these allegations very seriously, there is no evidence that Kering brands are directly or indirectly connected with this facility or those practices. Such practices are strictly forbidden by Kering’s animal welfare standards.”

A beam with several pythons suspended and dangling from it.
Pythons are hung in order to fill their mouths with water to expand their skins for removal, according to the investigation.
PETA Asia

A Kering spokeswoman told The Post the company had launched an internal investigation. “Should there be a proven connection between this facility and our supply chain, we would immediately terminate the business relationship,” she said. “We are committed to continuously enhance traceability and animal welfare in our supply chains.”

Both luxury fashion houses use International Leather Works, the Indonesia-based company that procures exotic skins from the farms featured in the investigation, PETA’s Byrne said.

It is not the first time PETA has tangled with both companies over their supply chains.

In 2016, the advocacy group went to bat for crocodiles in Vietnam that were allegedly part of LVMH’s supply chain and held for months in “small, filthy concrete enclosures, some narrower than the length of their bodies,” Newkirk wrote in the Dec. 13 letter.

It has also targeted Kering over its use of fur, which the company has since given up.

Pythons' mouths and anuses are being tied shut.
Pythons’ mouths and anuses are tied shut to increase the water pressure inside their bodies, according to a PETA investigation; this makes it easier for them to be skinned alive, the organization says.
PETA Asia

PETA is planning protests at Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores in Las Vegas starting next week, Byrne said, and in New York City soon afterward — including the large Louis Vuitton store on East 57th Street.  

The organization is calling on the fashion houses to commit to using vegan leather instead of exotic skins, Byrne said, pointing to the companies’ own websites that purport to use only businesses that treat animals humanely.

A python is being slit open with a razor blade and its skin removed.
A python is being slit open with a razor blade and its skin removed as it’s still alive, according to the PETA investigation.
PETA Asia

In fact, Louis Vuitton unveiled its first vegan leather sneaker made from corn, the company said in November.

The Charlie, as it’s called, is made from Biopolioli, a corn-based material that’s similar to polyurethane but more sustainable.

Gucci also introduced a new leather alternative sneaker in June that’s made from plants and wood pulp and viscose called the Demetra. 

A python is being slit open with a razor blade and its skin removed.
Lizard skins are drying at a slaughterhouse in Indonesia.
PETA Asia

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