What Is Angora Wool?
- It is considered a ‘luxury’ fibre, along with other wools such as cashmere and mohair (angora goats are used to produce mohair and not angora wool)
- Angora rabbits suffer tremendously during the process of collecting the wool, which is why we would always advise avoiding angora wool and shopping for animal-free alternatives
- Angora wool is a fluffy fibre that comes from the soft, thick coats of angora rabbits
Where Is Angora Wool Produced?
- The vast majority of this (90%) comes from China, and other producers include Argentina, Chile, the Czech Republic, and Hungary
- Some angora wool is produced in the UK, but this is mostly on smaller-scale farms
- According to the International Wool Textile Organisation, around 4,700 tonnes of angora wool is produced each year
What Are the Welfare Concerns for Angora Rabbits?
Rabbits are highly social animals who seek companionship and lots of space to move around, therefore by keeping them on cages on angora farms, they are unable to carry out many natural behaviours. Last year, we celebrated the end of any pet food containing rabbit meat appearing on the shelves of UK retailers, however, angora rabbits are still suffering immensely due to being kept in such cruel conditions for their fur.
The process by which wool is collected from them causes immense suffering – they are sheared around every three months using sharp cutting tools, or their fur is torn off by hand, with no pain relief provided.
Shearing is a painful and stressful experience for the rabbits, as they naturally fear being handled and pinned down which is a common process in the industry, this can even lead to heart attacks due to stress.
Although the average lifespan of an angora rabbit in the wild is between 7-12 years, at just two years old, angora rabbits are deemed no longer profitable because they start to produce less wool, and so they are then slaughtered and sold for meat.
Angora rabbits are kept in cruel conditions, often in filthy cages full of waste, which can cause many of the rabbits to develop infections, particularly in their eyes.
We Need More Compassion in Fashion!
- To make more sustainable and animal-friendly choices, you could consider buying second-hand clothing from places such as charity shops
- To help protect angora rabbits from this cruelty, you can avoid angora wool, and feel comfortable in the knowledge that no rabbit had to suffer in order to make your clothing. Here is a list of brands that are based in, or have a strong presence in, the UK and have banned angora
- If you are buying brand new, there are several sustainable alternatives you can choose when out shopping:
1) Recycled acrylic - made from recycled plastic. This is the most widely used fabric for a wool alternative
2) Recycled polyester – made from recycled plastic bottles. Also widely used and requires only 30% of the energy that polyester does
3) Organic cotton – no use of chemicals of GMOs. Organic cotton products are produced without using harmful synthetic chemicals or additives
4) TENCEL™ Lyocell – made from wood pulp. This is manufactured through an environmentally-friendly process and is biodegradable and recyclable
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