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PETA warns Louis Vuitton of potential consumer fraud lawsuit

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

8 Dec 2020

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have called out Louis Vuitton over making “false claims” about the treatment of animals killed for the company’s products.

In a letter addressed to Louis Vuitton CEO and Chair Michael Burke, published on PETA’s website, the animal welfare organisation “demands” that Burke “immediately end false representations of humanely sourced ostrich leather.

The findings come from a PETA investigation into the largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world, including a then-supplier of ostrich leather to Louis Vuitton. Workers were observed striking ostriches in the face during transport to slaughterhouses, as well as being stunned and killed in front of other animals. For decades, PETA and its international affiliates have also exposed that animals on fur farms are electrocuted, bludgeoned, gassed, and often skinned alive. Yet despite the cruelty inherent in these industries, Burke recently claimed, “I can say 100 per cent hand on heart our animals are humanely farmed.”

“There’s no such thing as ‘humanely’ hitting an ostrich in the face or slitting her throat while other ostriches watch,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Louis Vuitton must stop lying to shoppers to sell bags and belts—or, better by far, join Calvin Klein, Victoria Beckham, Diane von Furstenberg, Vivienne Westwood, and Chanel in banning fur and exotic skins altogether.”

PETA’s letter to Louis Vuitton Dear Mr. Burke,

I am counsel to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the largest animal rights group in the world with more than 6.5 million members and supporters, and am writing to demand that you immediately end your false representations that the animals used for Louis Vuitton products “are humanely farmed.” Such representations are courting a consumer fraud action against your company.

Specifically, in comments to the Telegraph, you stated, “I can say 100 per cent hand on heart our animals are humanely farmed.“ Despite this assurance to consumers, there is no such thing as “humanely farmed” animals who are violently killed and skinned for Louis Vuitton products. As you no doubt know, PETA has exposed the cruelty of the exotic-skins industry, including within LVMH’s supply chain. A PETA-affiliate exposé into Vietnam crocodile farms shows tens of thousands of crocodiles in small, concrete enclosures—some narrower than the length of their bodies. The investigator was told the animals were kept there for over a year. LVMH is a majority owner of Heng Long, which LVMH admitted sourced skins from these farms for years. Similarly, a PETA investigation into the largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world, including a supplier of ostrich leather to Louis Vuitton, revealed workers forcing terrified ostriches into stun boxes—causing many to fall—and then slitting their throats, as the ostriches next in line watched helplessly. Workers were also observed striking ostriches in the face during transport. For decades, PETA and its international affiliates have also exposed that animals on fur farms are electrocuted, bludgeoned, gassed, and often skinned alive.

As described in the attached report that was provided to LVMH in 2016, this cruelty is standard wherever animals are killed for human use. And PETA’s investigations into the wool, down, and leather industries have revealed time and again that it is nothing but wishful thinking that certifications—which neither Louis Vuitton nor LVMH even require for all suppliers in their chain—somehow prevent egregious harm.

You can easily rectify this by removing all exotic skins from your offerings immediately, just as major designers, including Calvin Klein and Chanel, and retailers, such as Nordstrom and Selfridges, have already done. We hope you will recognize your untenable position and, at the least, immediately cease making this and any other false claims to misrepresent the suffering inherent in your company’s supply chain.

Image via Louis Vuitton website