Prada has a new shareholder: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Following a recent exposé that showed juvenile ostriches being stunned and slaughtered for their skins, which luxury houses such as Hermès, Louis Vuitton, and, yes, Prada, then turn into bags, wallets, and shoes, PETA has signed on to attend the company’s annual meetings and “officially call for an end to all exotic-skins sales,” according to the animal-rights group. The stock purchase, PETA added, will allow the organization to affect change from within.
In September 2015, PETA investigators traveled to South Africa, where they obtained undercover footage from one of the largest ostrich slaughter houses in the world.
PETA staffers described what they saw thusly:
Investigators saw workers force terrified ostriches into stun boxes—causing many to slip and fall—and then slit their throats. The ostriches next in line watched helplessly as their flockmates were killed right in front of them.
Workers were caught on camera striking ostriches in the face during transport, and when ostriches stumbled over a collapsed flockmate outside a slaughterhouse, a plant director joked, “I’ll call the animal welfare officer just now.”
Ostrich leather’s characteristic bumps are the follicles where the animal’s feathers used to be.
“Every pockmarked Prada purse represents a young, sensitive, and terrified ostrich who was hung upside down, shocked, plucked, and slaughtered,” said Tracy Reiman, executive vice president at PETA, in a statement. “PETA is taking the fight against cruelty straight to Prada’s boardroom and demanding a permanent end to ostrich-skin handbags.”
— PETA (@peta) February 27, 2016