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Victoria’s Secret Puts Kibosh on Cashmere

Victoria’s Secret & Co. has banned cashmere in the wake of a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) campaign.

“Victoria’s Secret’s decision is a win for the countless gentle goats who will be spared the agonizing ordeal of someone ripping their hair out,” Tracy Reiman, PETA executive vice president, said. “PETA asks everyone to help goats keep their hair by choosing vegan fabrics, which aren’t produced by condemning animals to a lifetime of suffering.” 

A PETA Asia video investigation into cashmere farms in China and Mongolia, which together are responsible for 90 percent of the world’s cashmere, appeared to show goats that were pinned to the ground while workers ripped out their hair with sharp metal combs. In China, the investigation suggested that goats deemed no longer profitable were slaughtered after workers hit them over the head with a hammer to stun them. And in Mongolia, PETA said workers dragged animals by one leg onto the slaughterhouse floor before slitting their throats in full view of other goats.

Cashmere production’s negative environmental impact is greater than any other animal-derived material, PETA claimed. The industry is a significant contributor to soil degradation, which turns grasslands into deserts, including in Mongolia, where 90 percent of the land is in danger of desertification, it added.

PETA said brands should instead source stylish, vegan fabrics to take the place of animal-derived materials, including soy cashmere, recycled polyester, organic and sustainably farmed hemp, and bamboo as well as modalTencel and viscose made from sustainably harvested wood. 

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Victoria’s Secret joins Asos, Columbia Sportswear, Overstock and dozens of other companies that have put the kibosh on cashmere. PETA is now calling on nameplates including Urban Outfitters, H&M and Madewell  to follow suit. Last year Madewell sister brand J.Crew notably signed up to the Good Cashmere Standard operated by the Aid by Trade Foundation, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

PETA has previously come after Coach-owner Tapestry and Ralph Lauren for their use of exotic animal skins, as well as Nike and Allbirds for their use of wool.

Victoria’s Secret did not immediately respond to Sourcing Journal’s request for comment.