by Rosie Porter
It has recently been brought to our attention on social media sites the shocking truths about Angora wool. Videos and images have been circulated, displaying the torturous cruelty that farmed Angora rabbits have been enduring. In order to stop this inhumane treatment from going on, the demand for such products needs to decrease.
The graphic video on the website of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – a well established animal charity) shows an Angora rabbit being stretched over a wooden bench with its paws tied down with ropes at either end. A Chinese factory worker then sits on top of the creature and starts plucking the hair out with his bare hands. The images are extremely distressing as the poor animal is visibly bleeding through its pained skin, screaming in the most excruciating agony. The video is a completely shocking experience and makes us as the consumer wonder why on earth high street stores have been selling products that contain the wool. The fashion industry continue to be caught out participating in such disturbing behaviour, which has included revelations about the prolific use of sweat shops – forcing young children to work in awful conditions only a few years ago. Somebody at the top of the pyramid is using cheap and disgusting ways to churn out moderate quality products, using methods which their customers would protest against. Yet it is only by accident and through private investigation that these things are brought to our attention, and only then will producers decide to change their processes.
Whilst farming laws are limited in the UK, it is China where stores source their cheap supplies. PETA states that ‘It is estimated there are around 50 million rabbits farmed in China for angora wool and the country accounted for 90% of the 4,700 tons produced in 2012′. The rabbits can be kept alive in dirty, claustrophobic cages for up to 5 years, being sheered or plucked every 4 months. If the rabbits don’t die from the trauma and stress, they are then hung upside down to have their throats slit, after which their meat is sold. The horrific conditions of the cruelty and footage are available on PETA’s charity website, it is worth watching and sharing to alert more people about the disgusting behaviour that some humans are capable of.
After the recent outrage high street stores have reacted positively, stopping the production of angora products. Stores like H&M, Primark, Espirit, ASOS and New Look have said they will discontinue the use of Angora. But some stores like M&S and Topshop are still selling some products containing the wool.
Angora wool is most commonly used in jumpers, cardigans, hats, scarves and gloves. So checking the label is the best way to stop these barbaric products from leaving the shelves. Petitions and campaigns for companies to halt production of these products have been working well; but this work needs to be continued by spreading this message to more people. Please visit http://www.action.peta.org.uk and help educate our nation of some of the extremities of the fashion industry… always read the label.