What Is Mohair?
Mohair is a long, smooth fiber used in sweaters, hats, and other fluffy accessories. You may notice it on a clothing tag and be unfamiliar with how it’s actually obtained, but be warned: As with all animal-derived textiles, the production of mohair garments involves suffering and slaughter.
Mohair is taken from angora goats. Maybe you’ve heard the word “angora” before, but don’t confuse mohair with “angora” or “angora wool” on a clothing tag. Angora wool is an entirely different fabric that’s often violently obtained from rabbits.
Angora goats are bred (primarily) for their soft inner coats, which are generally shorn twice a year, beginning as early as six months after birth. But the problems with mohair begin well before the six month mark, and they continue until the day that the goats are slaughtered.
Here’s why you should never buy or wear mohair:
Workers dehorn baby goats when they are 1 or 2 weeks old, typically by burning their horns off with a hot iron or applying a caustic chemical paste, which can cause severe burns or blindness if it gets on the animals’ skin or into their eyes. Males also endure a painful testicle removal procedure using rubber rings, which can leave them in distress for days and often leads to tetanus infection. These procedures are usually carried out without any pain relief.
To obtain mohair, workers often tie the goats’ legs together, pin the animals to the floor, and use electric shears or large clippers to shear them. Since goats are prey animals, being restrained in this way is a horrifying experience for them. And because workers are paid based on the number of animals shorn instead of receiving a flat hourly rate, they work fast, causing the same frequent injuries and gaping wounds that occur in sheep shearing.
Angora goats are so sensitive to temperature differences that summer winds and rain can kill them even when temperatures aren’t low. Yet after being shorn, angora goats are often crammed into transport trucks and forced to endure long trips without their natural insulation, making them more susceptible to internal parasites, cold temperatures, and complications from nutritional deficiencies. Shearing them in the winter causes many goats to die of pneumonia. They also experience high mortality rates when they’re left without shelter after shearing, which many of them are.
Angora goats used for mohair are killed as soon as they’re no longer useful to the industry—well short of their natural 10-year life expectancy. They’re often shorn one final time before being sold for meat, or they may be slaughtered for their skins, which are used to produce clothing, rugs, and other items. At the slaughterhouse, they’re killed by captive-bolt gun, electric shock, or direct throat slitting, which can cause them to suffer for up to 10 seconds while still fully conscious.
If you purchase mohair, you’re supporting an industry that raises and slaughters goats for meat and wreaks further destruction on the environment. As mohair sales increase, the market for angora goat meat also expands—particularly for kid meat (yes, it’s just as horrifying as it sounds). What’s more, to produce 1 pound of mohair, goats must be fed between 40 and 50 pounds of high-quality feed that was grown on land that could’ve instead been used to grow crops fit for human consumption.
Leave mohair—and all animal-derived fabrics—off your shopping list!
There’s no excuse for supporting an industry that abuses and kills millions of goats every year, especially when there are plenty of warm, cozy, and stylish fabrics available that aren’t made from mohair, angora, or wool. Please join the millions of people all over the world who know that compassion is always in fashion. Leave animal hair, feathers, and skins out of your wardrobe, and join the vegan fashion revolution today. Check out the links below to find winter-ready looks that are entirely animal-free: