Hermes said Wednesday it was probing accusations of cruelty at crocodile and alligator farms that supply the French fashion house with skins for its luxury handbags and accessories.
Following the controversy that erupted in June after animal rights group PETA revealed an investigation into the treatment of crocodiles at farms in Texas and Zimbabwe, British singer Jane Birkin on Tuesday asked Hermes to remove her name from the crocodile tote Birkin bag until her concerns are addressed.
Birkin said in a statement obtained Wednesday that she was "alerted to the cruel practices ... to make Hermes handbags carrying my name" and has "asked Hermes to de-baptize the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place."
PETA filmed disturbing images of crocodiles in Zimbabwe and alligators in Texas —whose skin is used to make watch straps, bags and other accessories — where they live crammed into barren concrete pits from birth to slaughter as they're "cruelly hacked" to death, PETA said in a statement.
"At just one year old, alligators are shot with a captive-bolt gun or crudely cut into while they're still conscious and able to feel pain," PETA added.
"The investigator saw alligators continuing to move their legs and tails in the bleed rack and in bloody ice bins several minutes after their attempted slaughter," it added.
Hermes said it was investigating the farm in Texas but that it isn't the source of skins for the Birkin bags.
"Any proven negligence will be corrected and punished," Hermes said.
The manufacturer added that it imposed the "highest standards in the ethical treatment of crocodiles" on its partners.
Hermes also said Birkin's request did not affect "the friendship and trust" between her and the house.
"Hermes respects and shares her emotion and was also shocked by the recently published images," the company said in a statement.
No publicly listed phone number for Lone Star Alligator Farms in Winnie, Texas, about 50 miles east of Houston, could immediately be located Wednesday.
The bag was designed for Birkin in 1984, after a chance meeting of the singer and the then president of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas. A young mother at the time, she said she could not find a bag that was both elegant and practical.
Hermes trademarked the name Birkin in 1997, according to the New York Times, and can use the name over the singer's objections.
The crocodile version, which costs at least $36,000 and often nearly $100,000, is one of Hermes's best-known products.
Al Jazeera and wire services