Upsetting New Video Reveals How Ostriches Meet Their End for Birkin Bags and Prada Purses

PETA Gives First-Ever Look Inside the 'Luxury' Ostrich Leather Bag Business: Juvenile Birds Are Shocked, Smacked, Killed, Plucked, and Skinned

For Immediate Release:
February 25, 2016

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Western Cape, South Africa – PETA today released the first-ever exposé of the highly secretive industrial ostrich-slaughter industry, where young ostriches are killed for “luxury” handbags, shoes, and belts by Hermès, LVMH, Prada, and other top European fashion houses.

Video footage was shot at South African slaughterhouses run by the two largest ostrich producers in the world, which supply up to 85 percent of all ostrich products worldwide. The video reveals that newly hatched birds, who would normally spend several years with their bonded parents, are kept in barren dirt feedlots until they are trucked to slaughterhouses. There, the 1-year-old ostriches are turned upside down in a stunner, are ejected to have their throats slit, and have their feathers plucked out, creating the bumpy-textured or “goose bump” skin used in Birkin and Prada bags and other “luxury” goods.

In the wake of the exposé, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—is calling on Hermès, Prada, and all other retailers to drop ostrich and other exotic skins and on shoppers not to buy these items.

“Smart, sensitive, and curious young ostriches are treated like victims in a horror film simply because someone wants a bumpy Birkin bag or a pockmarked Prada purse,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA urges shoppers to bag the skin and choose from the many high-end, ultra-fashionable, and animal-friendly vegan accessories on the market.”

In nature, ostriches share parental duties, and babies will stay with their mothers and fathers for up to three years. But on ostrich farms, chicks never meet their parents. Some birds are restrained and have their feathers ripped out while they are still alive for feather dusters and feather boas. The birds’ flesh is sold for human consumption.

This is PETA’s second exposé of exotic-skin suppliers to Hermès and the first glimpse into Prada’s suppliers. The group previously revealed that live alligators are hacked apart for Hermès watchbands and that crocodiles are kept in crowded pits for Birkin bags.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind