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LONDON — Brands ranging from Calvin Klein to Stella McCartney to U.K. high street labels Topshop and Next have followed in the footsteps of Hennes & Mauritz AB, and are halting the production or stocking of angora products following reports by animal rights campaigners that rabbits are routinely abused in Chinese angora farms.
Last month, H&M said it would immediately stop the production of all angora products until it had secured that its product policy is being followed. "H&M doesn't accept that animals are treated badly. We only allow products made of angora rabbit hair from farms with good animal husbandry,” the Swedish high street retailer said.
In mid-November, animal rights group PETA screened videos showing workers ripping the fur out of rabbits' skins as the animals cry out in pain. It said China was the source of 90 percent of the world’s angora.
“PETA is appealing to shoppers this holiday season,” said Ashley Byrne, PETA’s skins campaign specialist. “Please take the time to read the label on that sweater or scarf. If it says ‘angora,’ remember the gentle rabbits whose fur was cruelly ripped out of their skin — and leave the item on the rack.”
On Monday PVH, which owns brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Arrow, said in a statement: "We take these matters seriously, and continually evaluate our sourcing practices to ensure our products are produced responsibly and ethically. We have recently made the decision to discontinue the use of angora in our products unless and until we can confirm that the angora fibers have been humanely obtained."
British high street retailer Next said Monday it has a strict animal welfare policy in place and is committed to the responsible sourcing of raw materials. "Our audit programme covers all stages of production, including the angora rabbit farms. The policy does not allow for any live plucking or tethering and during these audits we have not found any evidence of these issues. However, we do understand the general concerns within the wider angora industry, so have made the decision not to place any further orders for products containing angora."
Topshop's parent Arcadia, meanwhile, confirmed that it has halted production across the Arcadia group while further investigations are made with the company's suppliers. It is also working with PETA.
A spokesman for Stella McCartney said that: "In light of the recent information released about the widespread despicable treatment of the angora rabbits in China, we have decided to stop all future use of angora in Stella McCartney products even from trusted and cruelty-free sources. Although we have always guaranteed that our angora wool mix fibers come from a cruelty free source in Italy, we are no longer willing to encourage the use of angora in luxury fashion products moving forward."
Online retailer Asos.com also agreed to pull products that are unethically sourced: “As an online global fashion destination, Asos firmly believes it is not acceptable for animals to suffer in the name of fashion or cosmetics. Asos is a member of the Fur Free Alliance of retailers and recognizes that the sourcing of angora and other rabbit hair products causes distress to animals. As such, we will remove all Asos and third party branded product that fails to meet the policy, and no new orders will be raised containing angora or other rabbit hair.