This Is How Goats Suffer and Die for Mohair Sweaters and Hats

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.

©iStock.com/Byronsdad 

Here’s why you should never buy or wear mohair:

Painful Dehorning

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.

Goats may endure the pain of having their horns burned out with a hot iron, a procedure typically done when they are 1 or 2 weeks old, as in this image. This procedure is typically done without any pain relief.

Rough Handling

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.

An angora goat on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas, bleats during shearing, a process that requires goats to be held down, as in this image. (In some cases, their legs are tied together.)

Neglect

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.

After shearing, angora goats lack the covering they need to avoid the deadly effects of becoming chilled. They are often rapidly shorn in as little as five minutes, which can lead to bloody wounds. (Workers left a covering of hair on the backs of the goats seen here, as they were shorn in the winter, but it will still be difficult for the animals to retain their natural insulation. Unlike sheep, goats do not carry layers of body fat.)

Slaughter

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.

When they become old or no longer produce desirable hair, angora goats are slaughtered and their skins sold to produce clothing, rugs, and accent pieces, such as the hide seen here.

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.

A worker in South Africa carries a young goat by his leg in this 2014 image. Standard agricultural practices include routine abuse, as the animals used for food and fashion become a means to a profitable end. In the commercial mohair trade, there is no way to know how an animal was treated at all times.

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:

Source: https://www.peta.org/features/what-is-mohair/