A new PETA video exposé of the mohair industry in South Africa – the source of over 50% of the world’s mohair – has prompted more than 140 top international retailers, including Topshop, H&M, and Marks & Spencer, to ban the cruelly obtained material. Now, global online fashion platform ASOS has not only joined them but also gone a step further.
Following its decision to drop mohair, ASOS – which sells more than 850 labels as well as its own-brand clothing and accessories – confirmed that it’ll also ban cashmere, silk, down, and feathers across its entire platform by the end of January 2019.
“PETA applauds ASOS for leading the charge for compassion in fashion,” says PETA director of corporate projects Yvonne Taylor. “In response to PETA’s campaigns, consumers are changing the face of the industry by demanding that designers and retailers ditch animal-derived materials in favour of cruelty-free alternatives that look great without causing suffering.”
Each year, the mohair, cashmere, down, and silk industries exploit countless goats, geese, ducks, and silkworms, causing these sentient beings unnecessary pain and suffering, claims the campaign group. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – revealed that angora goats reared for the mohair industry endured mutilation of their sensitive ears with tattoo pliers, which left them screaming in pain. Shearers – who are paid by volume, not by the hour – worked quickly and carelessly, leaving the animals cut and bleeding. Workers roughly stitched them up without giving them any pain relief, PETA said.
Cashmere goats, who are kept by the millions in China and Mongolia, need their coats to protect them from the bitter cold. But they’re frequently shorn in midwinter to meet market demand, and many die from exposure as a result, the animal cruelty lobbyists claim. Young goats with perceived “defects” in their coats are slaughtered, and native wildlife is often persecuted and killed to protect the industry, PETA said.
Most down comes from birds who are victims of the meat and foie gras industries. They’re often pinned to the ground by workers who violently yank fistfuls of feathers out of their delicate skin as they cry out in pain, PETA reports. In the production of silk, silkworms are boiled or gassed alive in their cocoons. Approximately 6,600 of them are killed to make every kilogram of silk, according to campaigners.
Not only are today’s vegan fabrics indistinguishable from animal-based fibres, they’re often also higher-performing and less harmful to the environment, PETA added.