As several major retailers temporarily ban the sale of Angora products in the wake of an undercover video showing alleged animal abuse at Angora farms in China, major clothing retailers Gap Inc. and Zara are holding out.
Update (Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.): Inditex, which owns Zara, released a statement on its website saying it will stop placing orders for Angora fur until it can be verified that its farms are in compliance with company requirements.
Update (Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.): Gap Inc. announced via Twitter on Wednesday that it will suspend orders of Angora while it "investigat[es] further."
Angora fur, valued for being lightweight, warm and silky to the touch, is plucked or shorn from Angora rabbits about once every three months. The fur can be used to make clothing items like sweaters, scarves and ear muffs. China is responsible for most of the world's Angora production.
In recent weeks, brands including H&M, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger made the decision to suspend Angora fur production while they ensure it's done humanely. H&M even took the step of offering to fully refund customers the cost of Angora products they had already purchased, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Executives at H&M and PVH Corp., which owns Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, made their decisions after watching an investigative video (below) supposedly filmed at Angora fur farms in China. The footage, which shows rabbits screaming while their hair is torn out by workers, was filmed covertly by animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at nine unidentified farms in China between June and September. The group then met with H&M and PVH execs to show them the video, PETA spokesperson Shakira Croce told The Huffington Post via email.
It was unclear as of Monday evening whether Gap or Zara execs had seen PETA's video. Neither company responded to The Huffington Post's requests for comments about the video and the companies' Angora products.
WARNING: Disturbing footage. (Story continues below.)
Evidence is mounting that consumers aren't happy with the two retailers.
A petition led by Washington-based nonprofit SumOfUs.org calls on Zara to stop the sale of items made with Angora fur. As of Monday, the petition had attracted more than 260,000 signatures.
PETA says it reached out to Gap Inc. about its Angora products but notes the company "hasn't budged." PETA has also set up an online petition to force the issue.
Gap Inc. operates more than 3,000 locations throughout the United States. Zara, a Spanish clothing maker, is owned by global fashion retail giant Inditex.
Update (Dec. 17, 2013 at 10:07 a.m.): Inditex, which owns Zara, told The Huffington Post via email on Tuesday that after "recent complaints" the company recently "reiterated" its policy of providing decent living conditions for animals to all its Angora suppliers. Those who buy clothing by Inditex "can rest assured that all its garments are manufactured responsibly and ethically," the company said.