When the temperature drops, there’s nothing better than pairing your favourite jeans or long floral skirt with fluffy knitwear. The more textured the better. Yet, the days of looking out the perfect knitted mohair cardigan or jumper could be behind.
Zara, Topshop, H&M and Gap have said they will ban all products made from mohair – which is produced from the hair of Angora goats – following footage released by animal charity PETA [warning: graphic content], which showed the goats being violently mistreated at farms in South Africa.
The recently released video exposé of the South African mohair industry highlights twelve farms that showed workers engaging in unethical practices with the animals. According to the animal rights activist group PETA, farmers admitted that after shearing, most goats die from exposure to rough weather conditions and suffer cruel treatment at slaughterhouses.
As a result, PETA is urging law enforcement agencies to investigate and file charges, since it believes these farms are violating the 1962 South Africa Animal Protection Act that protects animals against unethical raising and farming practices.
Meanwhile, PETA has said that following the probe, Arcadia Group, Gap Inc., H&M and Inditex will work toward eliminating mohair in their apparel, accessories and footwear products. According to PETA, Gap Inc. said it will no longer source mohair products for its brands, including Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy. PETA also said Arcadia Group will discontinue buying mohair for its eight brands, including Topshop. While Inditex’s seven brands, including Zara, Bershka and Massimo Dutti, will phase out mohair products by 2020, as well as H&M have said they too will make its eight brands mohair free by 2020.
A spokesperson for H&M said the supply chain for mohair is “challenging to control. Therefore we have decided to ban mohair fibre from our assortment by 2020 at the latest.”
More than half of the world’s supply of mohair comes from South Africa.
The PETA probe comes on the heels of other animal welfare milestones, as the apparel industry continues to improve its corporate social responsibility and material sourcing policies.
If you’re unsure, stick to supporting small, independent fashion labels who can track every stage of their supply chain, and who take pride in treating everyone and everything involved with decency and fairness, from people and animals to the environment.