Sweden’s colossal clothes maker Hennes & Mauritz (H & M) said it has stopped making apparel with angora hair in the wake of a video showing the source of the fur used in angora production — live rabbits.
In a recent video made by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the living hares were shown strapped down on a table while Chinese workers “harvested,” i.e., plucked hair from the hapless creatures.
China is the world’s leading producer of angora, accounting for 90 percent of global production. Currently, the Chinese government imposes no penalties for animal abuse, according to PETA.
Angora wool is typically used in the manufacturing of sweaters, socks and scarves.
Although H & M claimed that its angora sources complied with regulatory standards, the firm nevertheless halted angora production and purchasing, joining other Swedish retailers which have also stopped using the product.
H & M said that angora clothing now in retail outlets will not be recalled and promised to refund the purchase price of angora apparel if buyers requested it.
Chinese farmers, fearful of losing revenue from angora sales, claim that angora can be plucked more humanely and with less pain to the rabbits. But plucking, say some experts, yields the most desirable fur for angora production.
H & M says it will soon inspect Chinese angora suppliers and then determine how to proceed with its current need for the material.
“We need to be sure if the producers are conforming to our standards,” said Camilla Emilsson Falk, a spokesperson for H & M.