UK retailers halt angora wool sourcing after cruelty allegations

LONDON Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:33am EST

LONDON Dec 16 (Reuters) - Dozens of British clothing brands, including Topshop and Marks & Spencer, have halted the sourcing of product containing angora wool after an animal rights charity alleged cruelty in the fur extraction process in China.

Last month, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released a video shot in China, the source of the majority of the world's angora fur, showing workers violently ripping the fur out of rabbits' skin as the animals scream in pain.

It called on consumers to leave jumpers and scarves made out of the fur on retailers' racks.

In response, online fashion retailer ASOS has become the first British company to implement a permanent ban and to pull existing stock of angora from its website.

A raft of other retailers have ceased supplies.

Philip Green's Arcadia group, which owns Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton, Outfit and Bhs stores said that having listened to customers "we have instructed our suppliers to halt the sourcing of product containing angora fibre whilst we investigate alternatives."

Marks & Spencer said its animal welfare policy does not allow for any live plucking and said it believed that was being adhered to across the angora farms from which it sources.

"We are now carrying out additional visits to these farms to be absolutely sure that this is the case. Also we will not place any further orders with our suppliers for products containing angora wool until we have concluded these visits and reviewed the findings," it said.

Other retailers who have decided to suspend the placing of further orders for products containing angora include Next, Primark, New Look and Ted Baker.