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Birkin Gives Hermès OK to Keep Using Name After Crocodile Spat

Hermès can keep selling its famous Birkin bags after actress Jane Birkin said she was satisfied with how the company ensures the ethical treatment of crocodiles reared for their skins.

PARIS, France — Kim Kardashian and Victoria Beckham, rest easy: Hermès International SCA can keep selling its famous Birkin bags.

Actress Jane Birkin is satisfied with how the company ensures the ethical treatment of crocodiles reared for their skins, Paris-based Hermès said Friday in a statement. The 68-year-old demanded in July that the bag be renamed until the “cruel” methods used at some slaughter facilities were eliminated.

“Hermès reasserts its commitment to implement best practice in the farming of crocodiles,” Hermès said. “This is in strictest compliance with international regulations.”

The spat erupted after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a video in June showing alligators still moving after being shot by a bolt gun at an Hermès supplier in Texas. The rights group said some workers at the farm were told to cut into 500 conscious animals with knives when the gun wasn’t functioning and described how metal rods were shoved into the reptiles’ skulls to destroy their brains.

Hermès pledged on Friday to cease using the farm if there is any repeat of the neglect of its prescribed procedures. The incident at the Texas facility was an “isolated irregularity” and an audit in July showed the location was in compliance with Hermès’s standards, the luxury-goods company said. It’s now requiring suppliers to sign an agreement to uphold the highest standards in crocodile treatment.

Birkin bags are Hermès’s most iconic product, accounting for about 15 percent of sales, according to Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in London. The bags cost from about $9,400 for an entry model to $68,000 for a new 40-centimeter version in crocodile, and are worn by celebrities including Beckham, Kardashian and singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.

By Andrew Roberts; editors: Matthew Boyle, Thomas Mulier.