STOCKHOLM – Swedish fashion giant H&M said Wednesday it would stop making clothing containing angora hair after an animal rights group released video showing fur being plucked from live rabbits on Chinese farms.
“We are halting production” of angora products, said H&M spokeswoman Camilla Emilsson Falk. “We need to check to be sure if the producers are conforming to our standards.”
She added, however, that angora products already in H&M stores would not be withdrawn.
The Swedish fashion retailer’s move marks a U-turn from five days ago, when it insisted that its suppliers had met necessary standards and that it had carried out routine spot checks to ensure that. But that stance was met with sharp rebuke in Sweden, with critics saying the checks were not entirely efficient and calling for angora hair products to be banned completely.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), China produces 90 percent of the world’s angora hair.
The group’s video shows white angora rabbits at a variety of farms in China tied to wooden tables in rooms filled with cages as workers hold them down and tear off clumps of their fur by hand while the animals scream in agony. Another part of the video shows the rabbits pink-skinned after having their downy fur ripped off.
PETA said its sources told them that plucked angora hair fetched more money due to its length and quality, even though the method put the rabbits at more risk.
H&M’s Swedish competitors Lindex, Gina Tricot and MQ have all said they would stop producing and purchasing angora products from China, as they could not guarantee that the supplies originated from ethical farms.