How often do people purchase clothes in the pursuit of fashion and stop to consider what it’s made of, (wool, fur, leather) where it came from (an animal) or where it was assembled (sweatshops)?

Humane Fur Garments

A number of popular retailers insist they only sell wool products from farms that have satisfactory animal husbandry techniques. Sadly, vast amounts of materials pass through the hands of brokers prior to reaching the actual retail facility, making it difficult to track exactly where a garment originated.

Angora wool, known to be softer than cashmere, is one of the most sought after materials for those comfy, warm sweaters. The fine fibers come from the domestic Angora rabbit. Although its history is contentious, the Angora rabbit has been bred for centuries throughout Europe and was only recently brought to the United States in the 1920’s.

These docile animals spend their lives on angora wool farms in tiny, filthy cages. With cages so small and conditions so repulsive, it’s no wonder the angora wool industry wants to keep the truth of how their garments are produced under wraps.

In 2013, PETA released footage from undercover investigations of ten angora farms in China. The investigations showed workers tying severely distressed rabbits down and ripping the fur from their bodies. The footage is graphic, but heartbreakingly real.

If you’re ever inclined to reach for a soft angora sweater, consider the pain and suffering that occurred to make that sweater possible.

Here are 5 facts you NEED to know about the angora wool trade:

  1. Today, 90 percent of angora wool being sold has been imported from China. Notorious in the animal welfare community, China is known for their lax animal welfare laws and negligence when prosecuting those who have perpetrated animal abuse.
  2. Angora rabbits are sheared every three months for two to three years. As they age, the rabbits yield less fur and are ultimately strung up and inhumanely killed before they’re sold to market for their meat.
  3. The male Angora rabbit has a fur yield that is only 80 percent to that of the female. They’re routinely killed immediately after birth since they’re not profitable to the breeder.
  4. The trade value of angora wool is $27 to $35 for every two pounds. Longer hairs are worth more, which are achieved by plucking directly from the skin rather than shearing.
  5. It’s estimated that there are 50 million rabbits being farmed for their wool in China, each one producing on average one pound of fur per year.

What Can You Do?

Harvesting angora wool without harming the rabbit requires slow labor that isn’t congruent with the industry. Angora wool farms, like so many others similar to it, only continue to exist because of consumer supply and demand. The fashion industry systematically makes every attempt to conceal the abuse and killing of animals for their products — if consumers knew the truth, after all, it would inevitably hurt sales.

Popular retailers H&M, ASOS, French Connection, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger have published statements voicing their opposition to the angora wool trade and affirmed that they would cease production of any products made with angora wool. Yet, consumers have commented that they’re still finding garments made with angora for sale online and in stores.

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