Wednesday 4 December 2013

Pulling the wool out of your eyes over angora...

Angora sweaters are the best, right? So soft, so warm, so reassuringly expensive. Because they come from adorable fluffy angora rabbits, then surely they're cruelty-free, right? I mean, who could possibly be nasty to a cute widdle bunny?

Well, the Chinese, it turns out. A recently released video from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) show angoras in a number of different farms being strapped down to wooden tables and having their hair torn out by hand, whilst they scream in agony. China produces the majority of the world's angora crop. If it transpires that this is the way that fur is harvested, then the market in angora could be about to go off a cliff.

H&M, always eager to be seen as a leader in the greening of the high street, have already been caught up in the row. Five days after declaring that their suppliers met ethical standards and were subject to impromptu spot checks, and facing rebukes for that stance from critics who saw major flaws in the way those checks were carried out, the Swedish fashion giant announced that it would no longer be supplying clothes made from angora in its stores. However, products made from angora already in stores would not be withdrawn. Look out for a sale soon.

H&Ms move has led to competitors in its home country also pulling angora from the shelves, and it's likely that if the video spreads demands for angora to disappear will gain heat. For the rabbits in cages, of course, the future remains uncertain. It's possible rabbit stew could be back on the menu in a big way this winter.

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