EXCLUSIVE: An Australian model has lent her voice to a horrific new cartoon aimed at shedding light on “cruelty” associated with the luxury handbag industry.
PETA's animation is a response to ongoing censorship by social media platforms of real images showing graphic animal abuse.
Looking to target “younger generations” and “sensitive individuals”, the animal rights group's two-minute video documents a crocodile named Sidney’s heartbreaking life inside a crocodile leather farm.
“The animation makes it possible to share, without censorship, Sidney’s story – and the story of tens of thousands of crocodiles like her,” PETA’s Emily Rice said.
“Crocodiles are complex animals, but our message is simple: never buy anything made from anyone else’s skin.”
Model reveals why she voiced PETA's cartoon
The cartoon begins with Sidney in a “stark” and “crowded” pen with “no room to swim or play”.
Sidney is then moved into a tiny solitary pen so her skin isn’t damaged. The story then becomes darker and bloodier as her death through electrocution and impalement through the head.
Australian model Robyn Lawley said while researching the project, she was “shocked” to discover it often takes three crocodiles to create many luxury handbags.
Speaking to Yahoo News Australia from New York, Ms Lawley said before becoming vegan, she used to collect handbags and was even saving for a Hermes Birkin, which are often made of crocodile skin.
“I think we kind of just turn a blind eye and they've really got the consumer fooled,” she said.
“They want to sell you this item, and they sell it to you in such a way that you feel like it's such a fabulous purchase…
“And yet the animal is in a pit getting treated like sh*t.”
Robyn Lawley thinks fashion industry will change
Ms Lawley said she hopes the cartoon will result in consumers thinking twice before buying crocodile skin bags.
"What we're trying to communicate through the video is that these animals are treated so horribly," she said.
"It shouldn't be allowed."
Fur products are now shunned by many luxury brands, but exotic skins like crocodiles are still commonly used.
Ms Lawley is confident the fashion industry will evolve, just like it did when accepting diversity on the catwalk.
"I've been a curvy model for so long. And it's now changed," she said.
"The runway is now much more diverse, we have so many more ethnicities, so many more sizes.
"I think the fashion world can go more ethical... I think it's stupid of the fashion world to keep torturing these animals."
Handbag manufacturer Hermes was contacted for comment.
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