Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Retailers go animal cruelty-free following online petitions


French clothing company Lacoste will discontinue its use of angora wool products following online petitions and customer complaints against the use of the rabbit-hair fibre, joining a growing list of anti-angora retailers.

Requesting to be included in the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals‘ (PETA) list of angora-free retailers, Lacoste released a statement saying:

“As part of its CSR policy, we can confirm that Lacoste has no plan to use angora fibers in its coming collections.”

An outcry from animal campaigners and customers ensued when video evidence surfaced last year from PETA Asia‘s investigation into unethical angora farms in China. Director of PETA, Mimi Bekhechi, praised Lacoste for its decision, saying:

“By committing to ending all angora sales and pulling this vile product from its international websites and shelves, Lacoste has done the right thing for animals and consumers.”

Angora wool is the hair-fibre produced by Angora rabbits. The ultra-soft qualities of the rabbit‘s downy coat are what make the fabric highly-desired, but animal rights campaigners are protesting against the use of the animal product and the means of obtaining it, arguing that there is no humane method of harvesting large amounts of angora wool.

Last year PETA ran a campaign regarding the way angora wool is harvested, claiming that the process is traumatic and painful for the rabbits. Angora harvesters are accused of plucking live rabbits as their front and hind legs are tethered, harming their thin skin with sharp cutting tools during the shearing process and keeping the rabbits in caged isolation from birth within Angora wool farms.

Numerous online petitions have urged retailers who source angora to cease all operations involving the fabric. Companies who have adhered include ASOS, Calvin Klein, and Ted Baker. Clothing brand French Connection halted the sale of angora following the pleas of over 100,000 anti-animal cruelty customers, according to PETA. In a statement published on French Connection‘s website, the company explains that, “As a fashion brand we are responsive to our customers and to trends in the market and, despite the steps we have taken to ensure high standards in angora production, we recognise some customers have concerns about the continued inclusion of these fabrics in our ranges.”

Retail giant Topshop has also ended its relationship with angora suppliers, announcing via Facebook that, “Having listened to the concerns of customers…we have instructed our suppliers to halt the sourcing of product containing angora fibre whilst we investigate alternatives.”

Following Lacoste‘s announcement, there have been numerous comments on its Facebook posts from users thanking the brand for disassociating itself from, and ending its use of, angora wool.

Bekhechi advised other brands to follow the example set by Lacoste:

“Angora production is cruel, and PETA urges the few remaining retailers, including Benetton, to learn from Lacoste‘s experience and show that cruelty to animals has no place in their stores. We have sent a box of vegan chocolates to the company‘s headquarters in Troyes, France, to thank Lacoste for its compassionate decision.”