Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Business

H&M, Zara and others ban mohair products after animal cruelty investigation

Some of the world’s largest clothing chains, including Zara, H&M, Gap and Topshop, have vowed to discontinue selling mohair apparel following allegations of animal cruelty at a dozen goat farms in South Africa.

Mohair, made from the hair of Angora goats, is prized for its softness and often used in sweaters, coats and winter scarves. But video footage from an investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shows workers dragging goats by the horns and legs and lifting them off the floor by their tails. In some cases, the goats cry as they are shorn. Afterwards workers are seen throwing goats across the floor.

It’s unclear if any of the brands sourced mohair from the farms that were investigated.

Removing mohair from store shelves will not be instantaneous. H&M, which is working to trace the source of all of its products, plans to ban mohair across all 4,700 of its stores by 2020.

"The supply chain for mohair production is challenging to control - a credible standard does not exist - therefore we have decided to ban mohair fiber from our assortment by 2020 at the latest," Helena Johansson, a spokesperson for H&M Group, wrote in an email.

As of Monday afternoon, mohair products were still widely available across retailers’ websites. Mohair-blend cardigans were selling for $29.99 at H&M, while Banana Republic touted wool-mohair tuxedo jackets for $548.

At Zara.com, mohair sweaters, coats and jackets ranged in price from $49 to $199. The retailer’s parent company, Inditex, says it will stop selling mohair products across all seven of its brands by 2020.

A spokesperson for Inditex, Amaya Guillermo, said the company has "committed to stop sourcing any new goods containing mohair."

The mohair backlash reflects a shifting consciousness among consumers who are increasingly willing to pay more for ethically-sourced clothing, industry analysts say. Companies such as San Francisco-based Everlane have helped promote an idea of "radical transparency" by showing customers exactly where items are made, and how.

The promise to ban mohair comes five years after Zara, Gap, H&M and others pledged to stop selling angora rabbit fur after PETA released video footage of factory workers in China hand-plucking fur from squealing rabbits. Gucci last year banned the use of animal fur in its clothing, joining a number of other brands, including Armani, Versace and Michael Kors, in going "fur free."

"We’re seeing more and more businesses recognize the importance of transparency - even the big guys like Target and Walmart are trying to engage in more responsible sourcing," said Marshall Cohen, an analyst for market research firm NPD Group. "Retailers are bringing that sensibility to the forefront."

The investigation at 12 goat farms and one slaughterhouse in South Africa, where more than half of the world’s mohair comes from, was PETA’s first look into mohair production. The organization says employees, who are paid by volume, "worked quickly and carelessly, [leaving] goats cut up and bleeding." The animals were sometimes killed after shearing, investigators said. At one farm, a worker cut the throats of conscious goats with a dull knife and then broke their necks, according to PETA. Other goats were taken to a slaughterhouse, where they were shocked with electricity, hung upside down, and slashed across the throat. PETA, which is based in Norfolk, Virginia, plans to file a complaint with the Federal Department of Agriculture this week arguing that factory conditions violate national animal protection statutes because they are causing the goat undue pain.

"The most effective way to prevent goats from suffering and dying in the ways we’ve seen is by going directly to retailers and consumers," said Dan Paden, director of evidence analysis at PETA. "What’s ultimately going to keep more goats from going through this is when retailers pull their support for the industry, and informed consumers leave the mohair products on the shelves and buy something else that doesn’t have as much cruelty woven into it."

Comments
Pinellas County strikes bed tax deal with VRBO, HomeAway and other AirBnb competitors

Pinellas County strikes bed tax deal with VRBO, HomeAway and other AirBnb competitors

The Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office will start collecting bed tax dollars from a slew of home rental apps that operate similarly to AirBnb starting Oct. 1.Prior to the new partnerships with TripAdvisor and Expedia, only AirBnb had set up to pa...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Study: Tampa International Airport ranks fourth best for satisfying travelers

Study: Tampa International Airport ranks fourth best for satisfying travelers

Times Staff WriterTampa International Airport was named the fourth-best large airport in the U.S. at keeping travelers satisfied, according to a study by J.D. Power released Wednesday.Meanwhile, the study ranked Orlando International as the country’s...
Published: 09/19/18
Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

Valet parking? A concierge? Midtown Tampa outlines plans for an amenity-rich office building

TAMPA — A sudden boomlet in premium office space is getting boomier as developers detail their plans for the first of three office buildings planned at Midtown Tampa, a $500 million mixed-use development near Interstate 275 and N Dale Mabry Highway.M...
Published: 09/19/18
Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Home refinancings up dramatically in the Tampa Bay area

Counter to the national trend, refinancings in the Tampa Bay area increased in the second quarter of this year. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, lenders originated 41 percent more refinancing loans in April, May and June than they did in the same p...
Published: 09/19/18
Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Too many homeowners forced to tap home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses

Tapping home equity to pay for day-to-day expenses like groceries and utilities is a recipe for financial peril. It can work for a while, especially if home prices are rising. Eventually the spigot runs dry, bills pile up and your home can be lost to...
Published: 09/19/18
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

‘Something fishy’ about sale of a golf-course villa in Seminole

SEMINOLE — There were so many unusual aspects to the sale of a certain Seminole villa that it’s hard to know where to begin. Is it with the fact the villa sold for $100,000 despite a cash offer of $128,700? Is it that the buyer was a Realtor in the s...
Published: 09/19/18
New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

New restaurants: Olivia from Chris Ponte, Crabby Bill’s Off the Hook

COMING SOON: OLIVIAChris Ponte, right, has been a steady and notable culinary leader in our area for more than a decade with his flagship restaurant Cafe Ponte in Clearwater. A couple of years ago he mixed things up a bit by debuting On Swann in Hyde...
Published: 09/19/18
AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson steps down after 20 years in driver’s seat

Associated PressFORT LAUDERDALE — Mike Jackson is stepping down after almost two decades leading AutoNation, the nation’s largest dealership chain. Jackson, 69, steered AutoNation through the economic crisis and shares have increased fourfold since h...
Published: 09/19/18
‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

‘Imminent’ bankruptcy filing for law firm of suspended St . Pete lawyer Mark Stopa

The law firm of suspended St. Petersburg attorney Mark Stopa is in such chaos that much of its staff has quit — some after suffering stress-related breakdowns — and a liquidation bankruptcy filing is imminent.In an emergency motion filed this week in...
Published: 09/19/18