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NORFOLK – Several leading global apparel brands, including Zara, H&M, Gap and Topshop, have said they will stop selling mohair apparel after a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) investigation found evidence of animal cruelty at 12 goat farms in South Africa. The animal rights group’s eyewitness exposé, the first of its kind on the mohair sector, shows workers dragging goats by the horns and legs and lifting them off the floor by the tail. 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. Mohair is made from the hair of Angora goats and is renowned for its softness, often being used in sweaters winter scarves.

While it has not yet been established whether any of the brands mentioned here sourced mohair from the farms investigated, swift action has been taken by all. In a statement, H&M said: “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. H&M group has an Animal Welfare Policy with strict requirements for all animal-deriving materials that we use in our products.”

South Africa is the source of 50 per cent of the world’s mohair, however, the video footage could do a huge amount of damage to its reputation; indeed, it looks like it already has done.

“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.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—notes that many goats’ sensitive ears were mutilated with pliers, which left them screaming in pain. If is claimed that 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.

We understand that Arcadia Group, owner of Topshop will no longer purchase mohair for any of its eight brands, which include Topshop, and Gap Inc. will no longer source mohair products for Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Inditex’s seven apparel brands, which include Zara, and H&M Group (including its eight brands) will be mohair-free by 2020.

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