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Mohair SA intensifies abuse investigation

May 20 2018 06:06
Max Matavire

As Mohair SA intensifies its investigation into the gruesome abuse of animals, particularly goats during shearing, two Karoo farms have already been suspended from participating in mohair sales.

The mohair industry generates R1.5 billion in foreign currency annually.

Worsening the situation, big international brands such as Inditex, the owners of Zara stores; Gap; H&M; and the Arcadia Group, which owns TopShop, have ordered their stores to stop selling any product with mohair.

The cruel manner in which goats are handled during shearing at Karoo farms was exposed by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), an international animals rights organisation.

“Our Peta Asia investigators visited 12 mohair farms in South Africa in February this year. What they found was terrible – the way animals are abused during shearing,” Sascha Camilli, Peta European media and projects coordinator told City Press this week.

Peta’s investigations report and a video, which are on its website, tell in gory details how the animals are lifted from the floor by the tail and shearers sit on them as they shear them.

“Shearers are paid by volume and not by the hour which pushes them to work fast and carelessly, thereby slashing the animals all over the body. This results in the animals bleeding from all parts of their bodies,” said Camilli.

Zara Customer Care told City Press it is “concerned about the evidence of cruel practices on South African mohair farms uncovered by Peta”.

“Following constructive discussions with Peta, Inditex has decided to phase out the small number of products we sell containing mohair and committed that all its products will be completely mohair free by the end of the 2019 winter campaign,” said Zara.

“We have reminded our suppliers of their obligation to comply with our code of conduct for supplies, which includes our comprehensive animal welfare policy.”

H&M Group also confirmed this week that it had “permanently banned” mohair.

Responding from Stockholm, Sweden, H&M group press officer Iñigo Sáenz Maestres, said: “For us it is of utmost importance that animals are treated well and we have decided to ban mohair permanently. We have been in close dialogue with Peta for several years and fully agree with it on this matter.

“H&M Group has an animal welfare policy with strict requirements for all animal-derived materials that we use in our products.”

Mohair SA said it viewed the “allegations” of animal cruelty “in a very serious light”. However, it denied that production had been stopped.

“Reports and the accompanying video led us to an investigation in which two farms were implicated. These farms were suspended from participating in mohair sales pending the outcome of a third-party audit of their farms,” said Riaan Marais, Mohair SA spokesperson.

“We have taken action and the investigation is still continuing.”

Mohair generates R1.5 billion in foreign currency, exports 3.5 million kilograms of mohair (50% of the world’s supply) and has about 30 000 people who directly or indirectly depend on the industry.

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animal cruelty  |  exports
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