More than 50 retailers have vowed to stop using mohair products after a PETA investigation into 12 goat farms in South Africa – the main supplier of the wool – found shocking abuse of the animals.
The PETA Asia report has led to companies including Marks & Spencer, Mango, Next, Primark, H&M, Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Esprit and others banning the use of the wool.
PETA Asia said Arcadia Group had stopped placing orders for mohair products across its eight brands.
Zara owner Inditex will also ban mohair across its seven apparel brands by 2020.
Among the abuse catalogued or filmed in the report were shearers lifting the goats off the floor by the tail, probably causing it to break at the spine.
It witnessed shearers sitting on goats and animals being dragged across the floor and hauled around by their legs.
Goats were left covered in faeces, were fully submerged in baths of dangerously toxic chemicals and had their throats slit with blunt knives while fully conscious.
Investigators witnessed the animals screaming with pain while their ears were punctured by blunt knives and during castration.
The report quoted one farmer as saying that at least 25% of goats on some farms die before their first shearing, which usually occurs when they are six months old.
Many goats die of exposure to the cold wind and rain after shearing which robs them of natural insulation.
Investigators were told that in one weekend, 40,000 goats died of exposure across South Africa and that up to 80% of goats die after shearing on some farms.
South Africa produces around half of the world’s mohair supply.
Mohair South Africa responded that the film and report were factually incorrect and “grossly misrepresented” the country’s mohair industry.
Managing director of Mohair South Africa Deon Saayman said: “Some isolated issues have been raised and we have launched an investigation to address these issues directly and swiftly.
“Over the past decade the industry has taken great care to ensure that sustainable production practices are introduced, accompanied by third-party audits as of the beginning of this year.
“These third-party audits will be expanded and done in cooperation with animal protection organisations.”
He said that once the individuals had been identified who had transgressed sustainable industry guidelines they would face action under South Africa’s Animal Protection Act.
Pending this investigation he said mohair production would be suspended on all farms implicated by the investigation.
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.