US animal rights group cries foul over Padenga croc slaughter

A new video by the US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has revealed what it says is gruesome slaughter of crocodiles at Padenga Crocodile Farm located in Kariba.

Padenga was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in July 2012 and sells crocodile skins to Hermes-owned tanneries in the USA.

Hermes crocodile Birkin bags fetch as much as $50,000 while watchbands are sold for around $2,000.

Last year alone, Padenga slaughtered an estimated 43,000 crocodiles, according to PETA.

PETA, which says it is the biggest animal rights group in the world, carried out clandestine investigations at the farm where the director of operations who The Zimbabwean identified as Charles Boddy spoke on the slaughter procedures.

Boddy said he was not aware that he was being investigated or that representatives of PETA visited the farm.

“PETA is calling on Hermès to stop manufacturing and selling exotic-skin products, which come at a huge cost to wildlife,” said the animal welfare outfit in a statement.

The video expose reveals that crocodiles were sometime sawed open while still conscious.

The slaughter involves electrically stunning the crocodiles, sawing into the necks, shoving a metal wire down their spines and jamming a metal rod up into their skulls to scramble the brains.

The sawing of the necks with box cutters is meant to disrupt blood floor and the workers stunned the alligators with shot guns.

PETA complained that the alligators were kept in crammed and dirty conditions, with some 220 animals sharing one pond.

In some cases, ‘slaughtered” crocodiles are seen wriggling in ice-water bins, indicating that they would have survived the assumed slaughter.

“We pander to the luxury market,” Boddy is heard saying in the video, adding that the bags made out of the crocodile skins are “hugely expensive”.

At one time, the stun gun malfunctions and the manager instructs a worker to cut into more than 500 conscious alligators.

"People pay thousands of dollars for these 'luxury' accessories, but the reptiles on these cruel, filthy farms are paying the real price," said PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk.

Boddy, however, insisted that the slaughter procedures at Padenga followed international standards.

“We do our crocodile harvesting in accordance with international norms. This sensationalism does not help. It is well known that a slaughtered crocodile can go up to between six and eight hours wriggling or twitching after its death,” Boddy told The Zimbabwean.

Video: Padenga Croc slaughter

Post published in: Agriculture

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