Peta protests handbags from Hermes

(REUTERS)- A pool of blood red paint surrounds supporters of the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).  

Painted as crocodiles, they protest in front of luxury label Hermes against the use of crocodile skins in their handbags.  

Ms Claire Dicarlo, an activist with Peta, said:  "We're asking Hermes today to stop using exotic skins to produce their bags. Crocodiles and other exotic animals feel pain and suffering, and they don't need to use them to produce their bags any more."

Japanese spectators had mixed reactions on the protest.  

Ms Rie Koroda, a 70-year-old Japanese housewife, said:  "I'm surprised by the truth. I think it will be a turning point in the practice of killing animals." 

Ms Noriko Kogure, a33-year-old Japanese housewife, said:  "There should be an impact on bag sales if they have to change its name, but I think people who are eager to buy one won't change their mind." 

Actress and singer Jane Birkin had asked Hermes to remove her name from one of the luxury goods maker's best-selling bags due to what she called "cruel" crocodile farming and slaughtering practices. 

The crocodile Birkin and the Kelly bag, named after actress Grace Kelly, are among the most sought-after luxury goods.  The starting retail price is more than S$30,000 (USD$21,837), partly because shops routinely run out of them.