H&M has suspended production of all angora products following reports by animal-rights campaigners of routine abuse on rabbits farms in China. The Swedish retailer’s decision appears to have been made in the wake of recent undercover footage, obtained by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, that shows rabbits screaming in pain as the fur is ripped from their skins. “H&M will immediately stop the production of all angora products until we have secured that our strict product policy is being followed,” the world’s second-largest apparel firm said in a press release Wednesday. “H&M doesn’t accept that animals are treated badly, which is checked when audits are made.”
PREVIOUSLY ON ECOUTERRE: Shocking PETA Video Shows Fur Ripped From Angora Rabbits
H&M’s move marks a 180-degree turn from an earlier statement just five days prior, when the retailer insisted it monitors suppliers and sub-suppliers to ensure they meet its standards. “H&M considers it important that animals are not treated badly,” it said. “We only accept products made of angora rabbit hair from farms with good animal husbandry. Plucking is not acceptable and hair-collecting must be done without harsh treatment.”
Ninety percent of angora fur comes from China, where there are zero penalties for animal abuse on farms.
Angora rabbits are a domestic variety of rabbits bred for their long, soft wool. Plucked angora hair fetches a higher price for its length and quality, even though the practice subjects rabbits to great stress. Animals that are cut or sheared don’t fare that much better. “During the cutting process, they have ropes tied to their front and back legs so that they can be stretched across a board,” notes PETA. “Some are even suspended in the air, while panting heavily and struggling to escape.”
Rabbits that don’t die from the trauma of plucking or shearing have their necks broken and slit two to five years later, when they’re sold as meat to local markets.
Ninety percent of angora fur comes from China, where there are zero penalties for animal abuse on farms, according to PETA. “When you buy a sweater, hat, or other product that contains angora, the angora fur most likely originated in China, even if the finished product was assembled elsewhere,” the group says.
H&M is currently offering full refunds to concerned customers who have purchased its angora products in the past. Other Swedish companies, including Lindex, MQ, Acne, and Gina Tricot have also ceased angora production.