Pictures or videos of animal cruelty immediately capture our attention. Most of us like animals and want them to be treated humanely. A company that buys angora wool, often associated with animal cruelty, is going to be targeted by activists. That’s what happened to Inditex, the parent company of the clothing chain Zara. A few years ago PETA investigated abuse on angora farms and released a video of rabbits having their fur ripped out and screaming in pain. I saw the video. It’s beyond upsetting.
Inditex recently announced that angora products will no longer be sold at its 6,500 stores. The company also owns Bershka and Massimo Dutti. “The angora products have been removed from the stores, in particular items that were in last year’s autumn and winter collection,” a spokesperson told the AFP. The company’s website states that it “does not sell products containing angora wool.”
According to PETA, 90 percent of angora wool comes from China, which lacks penalties for animal abuse or animal welfare standards. And that is why Inditex, along with other clothing retailers, no longer sell angora products. Clearly, it is impossible for the company to ensure that its angora wool supply chain is cruelty free. Inditex did not find evidence of animal cruelty at the farms that provided angora wool to its suppliers, “but after consultation with animal welfare organizations to explore more sustainable ways to produce angora and help develop better standards within the industry, we have decided that banning angora production was the right decision,” the company told the Guardian.
Selling something that is probably a product of animal cruelty is not good business. However, the working conditions in many of the factories that make clothing sold by retailers like Zara are appalling. And that is equally bad business. In April 2013, a factory building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing 1,138 workers and injuring many others. Bangladesh’s garment industry is the No. 2 exporter in the world, second only to China. Despite new government policies, workers in Bangladesh are underpaid and overworked. Very little collective bargaining occurs, and union organizers have even been killed.
Where is the kind of outrage over the working conditions of garment factory workers that is shown over animal cruelty at angora farms? Why aren’t activists targeting businesses, forcing them to ensure their supply chains are free of cruelty to humans? Surely, our fellow humans are worthy of as much outrage over abuse shown to them as are abused rabbits.
Image credit: Dennis Harper
Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.