Radical PETA may be, but some issues are disturbing enough to strike a chord with animal rights militants and people who just happen to posses more than a single strain of empathy. One of these issues is the horrific way angora fur is, um, “obtained” from the bodies of rabbits, to be used in luxe winter sweaters and cute fluffy accessories.
In November PETA first uploaded a video to YouTube detailing the cruel procedure. I haven’t watched it — if you have a taste for watching workers at an angora farm in China “violently ripping the fur from the animals’ sensitive skin as they scream at the top of their lungs in pain,” you can do so here — but over 800,000 people have. It is claimed that plucking a rabbit without causing harm takes up to two weeks of gently removing the loosened hair, which is far too slow of a process for the fast fashion monsters. After suffering through the quick and tortuous alternative, which the rabbits endure every three months, many of them appeared to go into shock.
In response a petition was launched at SumOfUs, which quickly amassed over 77,000 signatures. After the weekend that number has jumped to over 255,000, and due to pressure, major UK retailers Topshop, H&M and ASOS have now committed to stop selling angora, pulling all angora products from their websites and offering refunds to customers who have already purchased them.
But one retail behemoth not heeding the cries of distress from both the bunnies and the people is Zara. Zara currently has over 60 angora items for sale on their website, ranging from sweaters to gloves, hats and scarves. The petition subtitle has now been changed to, “Zara: stop production of your angora products immediately, and save the bunnies!” It’s less than 20,000 signatures away from its goal of 275,000.
It’s not the first time Zara has clashed with PETA over animal rights interests. In 2009 the Spanish chain came under fire for selling big-top t-shirts promoting the Ringling Bros. circus, which has in turn been hit with lawsuits for beating elephants. Zara caved and pulled the t-shirts from the racks of its (then) more than 1,300 stores.
Sign the angora petition here, if you haven’t already, and let us know whether Zara will still be getting any of your Christmas money if they don’t pull the offending products.