The Easter holidays shares images of happy bunnies frolicking. For me, the festivities bring back
memories of the suffering existence of Angora rabbits. The reality is very different for these bunnies whose fur were ripped out by the fistfuls in rabbit farms in China.
For readers who are unfamiliar, Angora wool is considered a luxury fibre in the fashion industry. It is used in everything from sweaters to mittens and hats. The wool is solely derived from the downy coat on the long-haired Angora rabbit. 90 percent of the world’s angora came from rabbit farms in China.
It has been 7 years since my opinion piece "Say no to clothes made with Angora rabbit fur" in the Singapore Straits Times on 25 October 2014 in support of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an American animal rights organization led by Ingrid E. Newkirk. PETA uncovered rabbits screaming in pain and terror as workers ripped the fur out of their skin at the China farms.
These rabbits have their feet tightly tethered, and are suspended in the air or stretched across boards while being sheared at just 8 weeks old. The sharp cutting tools wound them as they struggle desperately to escape. Thereafter the animals lie motionless inside tiny, filthy cages, stunned and in shock. They endure this shearing every three months. 60 percent of the rabbits in these farms die after only one to two years of this ordeal. Those that survive over 5 years are slaughtered and sold for meat. There are no penalties for abuse of animals on farms in China and no standards to regulate the treatment of the animals.
Here is one of the videos courtesy of PETA. Please note that the contents may be disturbing for some readers and not suitable for children. This is the video link for readers who are unable to see the video below - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCJhFvKQCKc
I'm glad to share that PETA's eyewitness footage from inside the farms sent shock waves through the clothing industry and the marketplace back in 2014. Since then, more than 300 major retailers have banned angora including Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer, L Brands, QVC, Lands’ End, Express, Pac Sun, Mango, Topshop, ASOS, Marks & Spencer, New Look and many others. Inditex, which owns Zara, not only banned angora wool but also worked with PETA to donate almost $1 million worth of its already manufactured angora garments to Syrian refugees. The anti-angora campaign led by PETA has virtually decimated the industry.
Many people are still unaware of the cruelty inherent in animal-related industries. Today, bunnies are strung up and ripped apart or decapitated for the fur on their backs, bloodied and poisoned in invasive experiments, confined and violently killed for their flesh or neglected in traveling exhibits or breeding mills. This Easter, start choosing animal-free fashions and don't support any exploitative animal trade.