The images are graphic, violent and difficult to stomach.
Livestock workers are jabbing Angora goats with sharp implements, stomping booted heels on their legs and dunking their heads into tanks of caustic cleaning solution. A shearer drags a struggling goat by its horns and clips off its wool so roughly it begins to bleed. Another man ignores an animal’s kicks as he drives a dull knife through its throat and begins to saw its neck. Goats cry piteously as they’re lifted off the floor by their tails and thrown across the room.
One worker confessed to the camera that goats regularly die of exposure the cold wind and rain after being sheared. He once lost 40,000 animals over a single weekend.
The footage, captured by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) at a dozen goat farms in South Africa and broadcast to the world in May, drew immediate ire and, perhaps more surprisingly, near instantaneous action.
Some of the world’s biggest brands declared mohair—the long, glossy fiber Angora goats are bred for—immediately verboten. H&M said it would “permanently ban” mohair by 2020. Arcadia Group, which operates Topshop, affirmed that it would no longer source any new goods containing the fiber, while Gap Inc. signaled that its Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy brands would eschew mohair starting next year. And Inditex, which owns Zara, said it would phrase out the material by 2020 because it “deplores the cruel practices uncovered by PETA.”
Asos, Britain’s No. 1 online-only retailer, took an extra step, vowing to shun not only mohair by the end of January 2019 but also cashmere, silk, down, feathers, bone, horn and shell.