Undercover footage taken at unnamed Angora fur farms in China last summer and presented by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in a video shows workers tearing the hair from gentle Angora rabbits affixed to boards, as they bleed and scream in agonizing pain.
This inhumane practice, called ‘plucking,’ has been advocated by some Angora farmers as the way to get the most desirable fiber.
The video has been widely shown in Scandinavia and sparked nationwide outrage, causing leading garment manufacturers, such as, IC Companys and H&M to speak out.
Just Style reports that IC Companys, whose brands include Tiger of Sweden and Peak Performance, stated: "No product is so important for the market and certainly not for us as a company that it justifies this mistreatment of animals. The practices shown in the documentary are clearly not in line with our policy and we will do our utmost to stop this practice.
"We will only begin using angora again when we are able to set up a supply chain with full transparency in terms on animal welfare issues on the Angora rabbit farms.”We have already started this process with our production offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai."
Sweden's fashion giant Hennes & Mauritz temporarily halted production of items containing Angora hair. "We are halting production" of angora products, said H&M spokeswoman Camilla EmilssonFalk, "We need to check to be sure if the producers are conforming to our standards.”
Other Scandinavian retailers have banned the material after viewing the footage of the torturous harvesting practices displayed in the video.
Ninety percent of angora fur comes from China, and there are no penalties for animal abuse on rabbit farms, nor are there any regulations on the treatment of animals, according to Daiji World.
After the rabbits have been plucked, they are confined to small, barren cages, where they are often unable to move after the trauma of having their fur ripped out. The rabbits endure the torment at regular three-month intervals, until they are deemed useless and farmers slit their throats.
Shoppers considering the purchase of sweaters, scarves or other furry garments as gifts for the holidays are being asked by PETA to take time to first read the label.
"If it says 'Angora', remember the gentle rabbits whose fur was cruelly ripped out of their skin -- and then leave the item on the rack."