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A slew of top fashion outlets including Topshop, H&M and Gap have pledged to ditch mohair after an exposé revealed animal abuse on farms in South Africa.
Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta will also drop the fabric following the investigation by animal rights charity PETA – which tackled the mohair industry in South Africa as it is the source of more than 50 percent of the world’s mohair.
Investigators visited 12 farms in January and February of this year, and uncovered a litany of abuse, including workers dragging goats by the horns and legs and lifting them off the floor by the tail, which could break their spines.
Footage from PETA’s investigation
Additionally, according to PETA, eyewitnesses saw goats’ ears being mutilated with pliers, leaving them screaming in pain.
“Shearers – who are paid by volume, not by the hour – worked quickly and carelessly, leaving goats cut up and bleeding. Workers roughly stitched them up without giving them any pain relief,” says the charity.
“Farmers admitted that after shearing, many goats die from exposure to the cold wind and rain – 40,000 reportedly died of exposure across South Africa in just one weekend.”
The investigation also highlights the ways ‘unwanted’ animals are slaughtered, saying: “At one farm, a worker slowly cut the throats of fully conscious goats with a dull knife and then broke their necks, hacking one animal’s head right off. Other goats were hauled to a slaughterhouse, where they were electrically shocked, hung upside down, and slashed across the throat.”
‘Leave it on the rack’
PETA Director of Corporate Affairs, Anne Brainard, said: “Baby goats were left screaming in pain and fear on the shearing floor, all for mohair sweaters and scarves.
“PETA is urging shoppers to check clothing labels carefully and, if it says ‘mohair’, leave it on the rack.”
PETA is asking law-enforcement agencies to investigate and file charges, as appropriate, for what the group believes are violations of South Africa’s Animals Protection Act, 1962.