Inditex, one of the world's biggest fashion firms, has banned the sale of angora wool after activists highlighted the cruel treatment of rabbits by farms in China.
The parent company of Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka said it would stop selling angora garments in all of its 6,400 shops after facing months of pressure from animal rights campaigners.
A PETA campaign against angora wool showed videos of live angora rabbits screaming while fur is pulled from their skins on ten Chinese farms. The video also showed rabbits being stretched on boards and cut as their fur is hacked off.
China supplies 90 percent of the world's angora wool, whose soft texture made it a popular material for fluffy sweaters and socks.
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Many companies have stopped using the wool after being confronted with the gruesome reality behind its production. Inditex has now joined a list of global brands such as ASOS, H&M and Calvin Klein that have banned angora wool from their supply chain.
One of the last major brands still using angora wool is Italy's Benetton, according to PETA campaigners.
Inditex plans to donate the 20,000 sweaters, scarves and other garments still in stock to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. PETA reports the pile of unsold clothes is worth about $878,000.
Conversely, though H&M said it would stop production of angora products, they have refused to remove existing products from its stores. The brand says it will “only allow products made of angora rabbit hair from farms with good animal husbandry," but is offering customers refunds if they want to return products made from the wool.
Concern for animal safety has also led companies to recently reexamine their goose down supply chain. NGOs such as PETA and Four Paws have campaigned to end force-feeding and live-plucking of geese used for down. As a result, Patagonia developed its own 100 percent Traceable Down Standard, while The North Face and Textile Exchange have developed a similar Responsible Down Standard, which companies including Timberland, adidas and REI have committed to adopt.