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South African Mohair Industry Responds to Animal Abuse Allegations

The South African Mohair Industry is clapping back at animal abuse claims and taking action to enforce ethical supply-chain practices.

On Saturday, the non-profit organization responded to reports of animal mistreatment that circulated last week, including a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) video probe targeting South African mohair farmers. The South African Mohair Industry said it was “shocked” by the reports and even though it denied the claims, it said it would investigate potential animal abuse.

“We view these reports in a very serious light and are treating them with the greatest of urgency,” the South African Mohair Industry said. “While we consider much of the report, and accompanying footage, to be factually incorrect and a misrepresentation of the South African Mohair Industry, some isolated issues have been raised and we have launched an investigation to address these issues directly and swiftly.”

According to the South African Mohair Industry, the industry has taken the steps to ensure sustainable production practices are followed and that third-party audits were conducted at the beginning of the year. The organization said these third-party audits will be expanded and conducted in collaboration with animal protection organizations.

Following the conclusion of the investigation, individuals who are found to be violating the Sustainable Industry Guidelines will undergo punitive measures and face potential action from South Africa’s Animal Protection Act. The organization also said all mohair produced on farms that violate the Sustainable Industry Guidelines will be suspended and withdrawn from auction until they realign with industry guidelines.

“Angora goats are farmed for their fiber and not intentionally harmed in any way as they are the livelihood of every mohair farmer. As an industry, we are passionate about our animals, our fiber and every single one of the 30,000 individuals who depend on the mohair industry for their livelihood,” the South African Mohair Industry said. “We want to ensure that we portray the passion and dedication of the South African producers and our remarkable industry—passion and dedication that is widely recognized by the international community.”

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The organization’s response comes on the heels of a PETA animal cruelty investigation, which prompted a slew of high-street brands, including Arcadia Group, Gap Inc., H&M and Inditex, to ban mohair products from their supply chains.

The video exposé documented 12 farms in the South African mohair industry and allegedly demonstrated workers engaging in inhumane practices with the animals. PETA urged law-enforcement agencies to investigate and file charges, since it believed that these farms were violating the 1962 South Africa Animal Protection Act that protects animals, including angora goats, from unethical farming and raising practices.