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Disturbing footage has emerged of crocodiles being slaughtered for their skins at a farm in northern Zimbabwe. WARNING: The following graphic footage may upset sensitive viewers.

A video secretly filmed by animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), shows dozens of crocodiles crammed together in concrete pits at a farm allegedly run by Padenga Holdings near Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe.

An official at the farm tells a PETA investigator that the company, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, produces 43,000 crocodile skins a year. The company supplies luxury French label, Hermes, which is famous for its Birkin handbags. The bags are favoured by celebrities like Kris Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian. Large crates stamped ‘France’ are visible in the footage.

In one clip, a worker is seen plunging a scalpel down the spine of a crocodile. “Previously, without the stunner, it was pandemonium,” the official confirms. He describes the luxury market for which the skins are intended as “bulletproof.”

“In the wild, Nile crocodiles can live to be up to 80 years old, but at this facility they are slaughtered at the age of around three,” PETA said. “It takes two or three crocodiles to make just one handbag.”

The footage will be upsetting to animal lovers although there is no indication that Padenga Holdings is committing any crime under Zimbabwean law. The company’s mission statement published on its website says that it is to be “the principal and preferred supplier of premium grade crocodile skins to the global market.”

Other scenes are shot at an alligator farm in Texas in which Padenga Holdings is reported to have a 50% stake.

Crocodile populations in some parts of Zimbabwe came dangerously close to extinction in the 1950s due to uncontrolled hunting. More recently, commercial farming of crocodiles at farms like those run by Padenga Holdings has led to a significant increase in crocodile populations in places like Kariba. This is partly due to a requirement that farmers release a percentage of their hatchlings into the wild.

Crocodiles at Padenga Holdings farms were last year revealed to be living on a vegetarian diet.


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