PARIS (Reuters) - Actress and singer Jane Birkin has asked Hermes to remove her name from one of the luxury goods maker's best-selling bags due to what she called "cruelusli" crocodile farming and slaughtering practices.
"I have asked Hermes to rename the Birkin Croco until they adopt better practices that meet international standards for the production of this bag," Birkin said in a statement from her agent.
Birkin said she had signed actor Joaquin Phoenix's Mercy For Animals petition to "shed exotic skins from your wardrobe" in protest against the "millions of reptiles slaughtered each year and turned into shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories".
Nobody at Hermes was immediately available for comment.
Birkin agreed to lend her name to the bag after sharing a flight with the charismatic late head of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas, in the 1980s.
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 20,000 euros ($22,096), partly because shops routinely run out of them.
Customers can obtain one either by putting their name on a waiting list or by paying hefty fees to specialised buyers who hunt for the bags on their behalf.
A fuchsia Hermes crocodile Birkin bag with a diamond-studded clap and lock set a record as the most expensive handbag ever sold at a Christie's auction in Hong Kong last month, fetching $222,000.
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; editing by Susan Thomas)