After being contacted by PETA, Forever 21, along with British fashion retailer New Look, has decided to ban angora from its products, joining a growing number of international brands and retailers.
The controversy around the fabric began at the end of November when the animal rights organization released a video filmed undercover at ten angora farms in China that showed fur being brutally plucked from live angora rabbits. Since then, several fashion brands and retailers including H&M, ASOS, Boden, Cheap Monday, Marks & Spencer, Next, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger decided to ban angora from their products and shelves until questions of ethical sourcing and production are cleared up.
"PETA applauds New Look and Forever 21 for doing the right thing for animals and consumers," said PETA's Yvonne Taylor. "Shoppers are horrified to discover that an 'angora' label means that live rabbits had the fur ripped from their bodies, and they're relieved when their favorite shops refuse to support this abuse."
Other companies are handling the video's release differently. According to Fashion United, Debenhams, Gina Tricot, Hobbs, Next, Phase Eight, Primark, Ted Baker and Whistles have pledged to keep angora out of future collections but are still selling remaining stock, while Arcadia Group (including Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge), C&A, Espirit, French Connection, Gap Inc., Zara and others have taken the first step and suspended angora production.
The online fashion news publication also reports that Michael Dal Grande, a German producer of yarns and natural fibers, has criticized PETA for its one-sided and abridged presentation, pointing out that the video showed only rabbits of the hair type "spiky angora", which represents a mere 10% of the worldwide angora production. While this very well may be the case, 90% of all angora is produced in China where there are no penalties for animal abuse on rabbit farms and no regulations for the treatment of animals.