Los Angeles - Kim Kardashian has been criticised by PETA for owning a crocodile skin handbag.
The 31-year-old socialite has been seen carrying a Birkin bag made from reptile hide in recent days and the animal rights organisation has blasted her for causing pain and suffering to an innocent animal for the sake of style.
PETA spokesperson Wendy Wegner told RadarOnline.com: "For every alligator or crocodile-skin accessory, an animal was likely beaten but still conscious and able to feel excruciating pain as his or her skin was peeled off.
"These animals feel fear and pain and they don't want to die. Alligators and crocodiles have no real legal protection, but they have done nothing to deserve the violent treatment that they endure.
"PETA urges consumers to watch Joaquin Phoenix's video expose of the cruel exotic-skins industry and vow today never to buy items made from the skin of alligators, snakes or crocodiles."
Highly desirable accessory
The black Birkin bag can cost up to $50 000 and it is a highly desirable accessory, despite the ethical issues surrounding the use of animal skin in the fashion world.
Kim - who is dating Kanye West - has been a target for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for years due to her fashion choices which include fur coats and numerous items plundered from animals.
Most recently the pressure group criticised her for wearing a pair of thigh-high Christian Louboutin python skin boots - which cost $5 495 - in Paris, France.
Clothing made from the python skin is banned in the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star's home state of California.
In March, her sister Khloe quit PETA after it publicly approved a flour-bomb attack on Kim at a red carpet event.
The 28-year-old reality TV star once posed naked in an anti-fur advert for the organisation but she decided to cut all ties in support of her older sibling in the wake of the incident.
At the time, Khloe said: "I just received word that the woman responsible has very close ties to PETA, despite PETA publicly stating otherwise.
"I've been a vocal supporter of PETA for a long time but I have also been very vocal about anti-bullying, so this was a huge disappointment for me. As you all know, I don't condone violence and bullying and what happened was just that."