French fashion house Hermès and Northern Territory resident Mick Burns have joined forces in purchasing a former horticultural farm near Darwin in order to build Australia's biggest crocodile farm.
The Sweet Life, a former melon and banana farm located at Lambells Lagoon, was purchased by PRI Farming - owned by Hermès - for a whopping $7.25 million.
It will be used for the skinning and consumption of crocodiles, with much of the product going to making the brand's trademark luxury handbags.
Geoff McClure, a crocodile farming consultant who has been involved in the industry since the 1980s, told the ABC the proposed farm will be a big expansion for the industry.
"The people establishing that farm would have no doubt that they can plan for the future," he said.
"[Crocodile] farming infrastructure only lasts around 20 years, and there are advances being made in animal husbandry which mean that you do need to update or change your infrastructure."
"So there is probably very good reason to build a new farm.
"They are harvesting eggs in the NT, raising those crocodiles on their own farms, to their own standard - and that standard has to be incredibly high, with no damage to the skin at all... to produce a product for high-quality fashion."
"We are talking here about handbags that are worth $US20,000 to $US30,000."
The company says the facility's crocodile stock will steadily increase over a five-year period to peak production capacity of around 45,000 crocs.
Needless to say, the news has outraged many who dubbed the use of crocodile skin for luxury handbags as 'immoral' and 'cruel'.
One Twitter user wrote: "Still cant get to terms this happens in this day and age. Killing crocs to wear them as handbags! So 1800s."
Another noted of the crocodile Hermès Birkin bag's namesake: "Jane Birkin asks Hermes to take her name off croc handbag...after she found out what goes on in these alligator farms.. It's extreme."
An EY report from 2017 estimated that the economic value of the NT crocodile industry, including farming and tourism, at an eye-watering $107 million.
It also noted that the industry's strong standards had 'encouraged high-end fashion producers such as Hermes and Louis Vuitton to purchase local NT farms to secure their supply chain'.
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