Following five years of pressure from PETA—including more than 300,000 messages from our supporters—American Express has removed crocodile-skin bags from its Membership Rewards program. Thanks to this victory, cardholders will no longer spend their points on bags made of crocodile skin. To help American Express celebrate its compassionate move, PETA U.S. is sending it a set of crocodile-shaped vegan chocolates.
Crocodiles’ Skin Belongs to Them!
Crocodiles are fascinating, intelligent animals who use tools, communicate through body language and sounds, and fiercely protect their young. They and other exotic animals, including snakes and alligators, have been the subject of multiple PETA entity investigations on several continents—all of which documented similar grim findings. Workers on “skin farms” torment these animals and often operate completely unsupervised by the fashion companies they supply.
A 2016 PETA Asia investigation into crocodile farms in Vietnam revealed that workers electroshocked crocodiles and then attempted to kill them by cutting into their necks and ramming metal rods down their spines while the animals were still alive.
One farm that holds tens of thousands of crocodiles and has supplied skins to LVMH (Louis Vuitton’s parent company), kept crocodiles in small, concrete enclosures—some shorter than the length of their bodies. The investigator was told that the animals are kept there for over a year. A reptile expert called these conditions “overly-restrictive … and inhumane” for larger crocodiles.
Finding Compassionate, Cutting-Edge Choices
The tide is turning against exotic skins, and it’s clear that people—especially young consumers—don’t want to support industries that abuse animals. A recent survey by Glamour magazine found that approximately 73% of Generation Z members identify as animal rights activists.
Instead of killing and wearing animals for fashion, companies like American Express can offer rewards made with vegan leathers—like those made out of grapes, teak leaves, pineapples, and many other materials—delivering the cutting edge of fashion to its valued customers.
Continuing the Campaign to Help Crocodiles
Although American Express’ decision to stop offering crocodile-skin products as rewards is a great step toward ending the exploitation of animals for clothing and accessories, our work must continue. Join us in urging fashion companies LVMH, Gucci, and Hermès to ban exotic skins from their fashions: