H&M under fire for using controversial mohair from South Africa – SAPeople

H&M under fire for using controversial mohair from South Africa. Photo: Stock Photo from iStockPhoto

Swedish clothing company H&M is under fire for allegedly backtracking on its promise to stop using mohair wool. The multinational fashion giant had abandoned mohair wool, along with around 70 other companies like Zara and Gap, after a 2018 briefing from South Africa – the world’s largest producer of mohair wool – showed how cruelly the goats were apparently treated. As customers sign a petition and boycott them, H&M says goat farming in South Africa has improved since then.

The video briefing came after an investigation by PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) Asia found farm workers in South Africa were dragging animals and rough handling them with ‘excessive force’ and metal combs sharp. PETA alleged that some workers “even slit the throats of fully conscious goats, some of which screamed” in pain and fear.

According to the South African Department of Agriculture (DAFF), South Africa had 12 goat farms in 2018, producing more than half of the world’s mohair. PETA said the video footage showed only a portion of the abuse “documented at the 12 Angora goat farms the eyewitness visited.” Based on the expose, the NSPCA in South Africa brought charges against four mohair growers in the Eastern and Western Cape.

After the briefing, H&M told the Washington Post: “The supply chain for mohair production is difficult to control – a credible standard does not exist – so we have decided to ban mohair fiber from our range. by 2020 at the latest.”

But, there are currently at least 14 items made from Mohair, available on the H&M website.

Mohair H&M
Four of the 14 mohair items currently available on the H&M site.

PETA and thousands of disgruntled customers have accused H&M of failing to deliver. PETA says “soft goats” are still “cut for mohair and cashmere.” (According to PETA, “After goats are exploited for cashmere, their throats are slit in slaughterhouses and they die in agony.”)

A petition launched by PETA has already been signed by 27,000 people, calling on H&M to stop supporting this “abuse”. PETA says H&M is “betraying animals and its customers by rolling back its bans on mohair and cashmere.”

A SAPeople contributor whose sister and brother-in-law produce mohair, says “the utmost care is taken of their Angora goats, as they are precious and worth a lot. Babies are hand raised if the ewe cannot nurse them. They are never mistreated!

H&M explains its decision to reintroduce mohair

H&M also claims that mohair production has improved since 2018. An H&M spokesperson told Aftonbladet: “The decision to reintroduce mohair into our materials portfolio is the result of the introduction of the mohair animal welfare standard.

“RMS, Responsible mohair standard, is developed and owned by Textile Exchange. The standard has helped us achieve our goal of only using mohair from farms where animals have been treated humanely.

H&M states on its website that it has a long-standing commitment to improving animal welfare in its global supply chain (including the use of mohair) and has used experts to develop standards of animal welfare that can be used throughout the fashion industry.

H&M says: “We say a big NO to fur and for many years have banned the use of exotic skins, as well as any material from endangered species. Since 2013, this ban has also included the use of angora wool, and since 2020 we only allow mohair from farms certified to the Responsible Mohair Standard. As part of our 2030 goal to only use sustainably sourced materials, we are now starting to phase out conventional cashmere.

RMS in South Africa

The RMS development process began in 2019 and was released in March 2020, according to Mohair.co.za. It encourages ethical and sustainable goat farming. South Africa’s Mohair Empowerment Trust (MET) says its ten partners have successfully gone through the RMS audit process and are “pleased to confirm that of the ten existing projects, nine have been successful, with a project currently in progress. ”.

According to the South African Mohair Producers Association (SAMGA), keeping Angora goats in South Africa, particularly in the Eastern Cape, is popular as it offers high profitability, provides regular income (the goats are sheared twice a year) and mohair is used all over the world because it is a natural and environmentally friendly fibre. Farms also played a vital role in the economic empowerment of black farmers.

“The goal is not only to promote black economic empowerment, but also to increase the supply of this rare natural fiber – one of the most sought-after natural fibers in the world,” says MET.

SA produces more than half of the world’s mohair and isknown for the exceptional quality of its mohair, as well as the sustainable and ethical way in which it is produced,” according to MET.

PETA says RMS doesn’t protect goats

PETA accuses H&M of hiding behind the “Responsible Mohair Standard”, which it says does not protect goats from abuse.

“In fact, this standard allows workers to castrate goats and cut off parts of their ears without any pain relief and provides no protection for goats during slaughter, when workers shoot them in the face. head or slit their throats,” says PETA.

“Furthermore, H&M is reintroducing cashmere to its range under the guise of the absurdly named Good Cashmere Standard that it helped develop. Among many other failures, this standard allows untrained farmers to kill kids using blunt force trauma…”

“The mohair and cashmere industries cause death” – PETA

“The mohair and cashmere industries cause death. If the goats do not die from exposure, neglect or violent shearing, they are slaughtered. No sweater or cardigan is worth this pain,” says PETA.

H&M says it has joined forces with organizations such as Humane Society International, Textile Exchange and Sustainable Fiber Alliance, to make animal welfare a priority in the fashion industry. (SAPeople has contacted Humane Society International for comment.)

Social media users criticize H&M

Many angry customers around the world are leaving messages on H&M’s social media pages. On Instagram, one said: “I can’t believe you guys are back to selling mohair. Such a step back. It doesn’t matter if your mohair suppliers claim their process is humane. You can never control that. I won’t buy another item until I see that you are going to discontinue mohair.

Others are short and direct: “No mohair. Keep your fucking promise,” “#nomoremohair #stopanimalabuse #stopanimalcruelty,” and “STOP USING MOHAIR. Stop cruelty.

PETA asks H&M to focus on vegan materials

PETA says, “Goats form meaningful relationships and strong bonds with each other and with their human caretakers. They have even been known to wag their tails and jump for joy when they are happy.

“H&M must protect the goats and its customers by ending its reliance on misleading ‘human’ labels, abandoning mohair and cashmere altogether like so many other retailers have done, and focusing about the wonderful vegan materials it already sells. The company has already banned angora, fur, exotic skins and other animal-derived materials, so clearly it can and will take steps to the animals when she is under enough pressure to do so.

SAPeople has contacted the South African Mohair Grower’s Association for comment.

About Wanda Reilly

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