Some of the world’s largest clothing retailers have pledged to stop selling products made with mohair fabric over allegations of animal cruelty at farms.
Topshop, Gap, H&M and Zara said they would ban mohair garments, made from the lush hair of Angora goats, after footage released by Peta showed the animals being mutilated and violently handled at farms in South Africa.
In the video, some of the goats filmed by the animal rights charity are heard crying as they are forcibly shorn before being thrown across the floor by workers.
Others have their throats slit or necks snapped by farm staff while fully conscious.
It is unclear whether any of the retailers sourced mohair from the 12 farms investigated by Peta.
H&M, which has 4,700 shops across the world, said the supply chain was “challenging to control”.
“Therefore we have decided to ban mohair fibre from our assortment by 2020 at the latest,” a spokeswoman said.
She added: “For us, it is of utmost importance that animals are treated well and we have therefore decided to permanently ban mohair. We have been in close dialogue with Peta for several years and fully agree with them on this matter.
“We will now look into what other alternative materials we can offer our customers.”
Gap vowed to stop selling mohair products by spring next year. The ban will also apply to the company’s brands Athleta, Banana Republic and Old Navy, said spokeswoman Laura Wilkinson.
She added: “We take the matter of animal welfare seriously and over the years have worked closely with stakeholders to take positive, proactive steps to address these important issues.”
Arcadia said it would no longer place orders for mohair for any of its eight fashion brands, which include Topshop, Topman, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins.
“The Arcadia Group was concerned to learn of video footage obtained by Peta showing poor treatment of Angora goats to obtain mohair fibre,” a spokesman said. “We have therefore committed to stop sourcing any new goods containing mohair.”
Inditex, the Spanish clothing company that owns Zara, said it had “committed to stop sourcing any new goods containing mohair” by 2020.
Mohair is prized as a silky, resilient, luxury fibre and is often used to make jumpers, cardigans, coats and winter scarves.
More than half of the world’s supply comes from South African farms.
Peta said it witnessed animal cruelty at all 12 farms it investigated in January and February this year. The charity has submitted its undercover footage to police in South Africa as evidence of what it alleges were breaches of the country’s Animal Protection Act.
At one farm, Peta said, a worker cut the throats of unwanted, conscious goats with a dull knife before snapping their necks. One animal was filmed being beheaded.
The charity said its undercover investigator also witnessed many goats having their ears mutilated by pliers.
One farm worker was filmed admitting thousands of goats died of exposure to the cold wind and rain after being sheared.
“Baby goats were left screaming in pain and fear on the shearing floor, all for mohair sweaters and scarves,” says Peta director of corporate affairs Anne Brainard. “Peta is urging shoppers to check clothing labels carefully and, if it says ‘mohair,’ leave it on the rack.”
In 2013 leading clothing retailers including Marks and Spencer, Asos, Next and H&M stopped selling products made with Angora rabbit wool after Peta released footage of workers ripping the fur from screeching animals in Chinese factories.
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