No warm fuzzies with angora

I’ve often wondered about angora production. The soft, fuzzy sweaters, mitts and hats that pop up in stores each fall seem so cozy. I’ve never bought angora though.

Angora can refer to cats, goats, ferrets, but it’s the angora rabbit that people use for wool. To get angora, the animals don’t need to be killed, which is why many people don’t think about it as a cruel industry. Angora can be combed, shorn, or plucked.

What? Yes, I wrote that. Plucked! Shearing results in shorter hair, so often plucking is preferred. Angora molt every few months, and in theory, pulling loose hair from a rabbit shouldn’t hurt, but as with everything, care and welfare is abandoned when volume goes up and there’s money to be made.

Angora Rabbit from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:White_Satin_Angora_Rabbit.jpgNinety percent of angora comes from China, where there are no animal welfare standards and no oversight into the angora industry. Recent undercover video shows rabbits screaming in pain as they’re plucked. I didn’t even know rabbits could scream. It’s heartbreaking. And after being plucked, they lie in shock in their filthy cages. After 3 to 5 years of this abuse, they’re killed). You can read more about the developments here (the video is embedded but won’t play automatically, so you don’t have to watch it).

If 90% of angora comes from these conditions, it makes sense that 90% of the angora in the stores is cruelly sourced. Frankly, even shearing doesn’t look humane to me. In this video, a woman boasts about how well her rabbits are treated, but she ties up one rabbit’s legs, stretches him and rotates him like a spit pig (minus the skewer).

The video isn’t graphic per se, but it’s not how I would like to be handled on a quarterly basis. Kind or cruel, why should they live in cages to be wool-making machines? Rabbits need to forage and burrow. It’s another example of commodification. These rabbits are slaves for our fashion and treated like nothing more than money-making machines.

animals are not fabric

To quote the slogan on my new favorite sweater (from The Tree Kisser’s website), animals are not fabric.

If you want to help, here’s how:

  • Don’t wear or buy angora.
  • Ask the stores you shop at not to carry angora.
  • Sign the petitions linked to in this article and tell stores like The Gap and Zara to stop carrying angora

(Update: Zara and The Gap, along with Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, suspended further angora purchases pending investigation. H&M and ASOS have vowed to stop selling it permanently. Pressure works! Keep on these retailers. They make money from us, so we have a say!).

12 thoughts on “No warm fuzzies with angora

  1. I’m appalled by the “fashion industry” and how they go about getting their material. I used to have 2 ferrets, and I currently have 2 rabbits. Although rabbits don’t have to be killed for their fur, the plucking, shearing, and shorn process can be painful and very stressful. I wouldn’t recommend angora to anyone nor would I ever wear it myself. Animals fur should be theirs and theirs only! ❤

    • Thanks for commenting. No style is worth torturing an animal. Glad you agree. I’m also glad for your perspective. I’ve never lived with a rabbit but the angora process does seem very stressful. The graphic video said it’s especially stressful for prey animals to be tied up. Makes sense.

  2. I am so glad this appalling practice behind angora fur has been exposed. I don’t wear any wool anymore, but never really thought about angora wool items. Hopefully enough department stores come on board and take a stand against yet another example of animal cruelty for fashion!!!

  3. Me and my little brother just watched the Peta video showing the awful conditions these beautiful creatures were kept in. I shed a tear upon hearing those screams. How can people be so cruel? Glad it’s being highlighted and certain individuals will think twice before becoming slaves to ‘fashion’.

    • Thanks for commenting. I watched the video too, so I would know what I was writing about. It’s heartbreaking. I don’t understand some people. But I’m glad to meet you and other like you. We can make a difference!

  4. I saw big, cool guys shed a tear upon watching this video. one said he had a female colleague who was very cute and wore angora twin sets and that he thought he fancied her but now they needed to talk about her fashion choices. things are changing. we really need to explain things and to unveil things. kudos for that.

    • Excellent! I’m glad tough guys can show compassion. And if people like that woman’s colleague know they’re not “cute” when they wear cruel clothes, maybe they’ll rethink it. I have a colleague who wears fur and she told me her husband said, “I thought you were a caring person. Why do you wear that?” Good for him!

      • exactly! by no means do I want to generalise, but in my personal history I found men often much more open toward this knowledge, while several women told me they loved (!) fur and added things like “well, it’s their fate then to end up as my fur coat”. unbelievable. is it any wonder I don’t answer the phone when they call?

  5. I’ve never bought angora and now I’m glad I have never supported this barbaric industry. Thank you for informing us; people need to know what they are supporting. Once again, I thought it was like the dairy industry where animals are not killed, till I found out the animals (cows, hens, rabbits and countless others) suffer horrible lives all because of greed and ignorance. If we continue to buy animal “products” once we know, that makes it a very cruel choice.

    “Animals are not fabric”–I like that–and they are not products or food.

    I’m signing the petition. It’s the least I can do. ♥

    • Thank you! Not buying angora is the best thing to do. Signing the petition is great too. Did you see the update at the bottom of this post? In just a few short days since word started to spread, retailers are listening! Most just want to do whatever it takes to make money. And if we speak up, they’ll change.

  6. Pingback: I don’t mind faking it! | fashionable over 50

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