This announcement was made by the Arcadia Group, Esprit, Inditex’s apparel brands and H&M Group to stop selling mohair fabric, which is made from the hair of Angora goats.
It followed after a new, explicit exposé released by Peta - an animal rights organisation - showing farmers dragging goats by the horns and legs, and lifting them off the floor by the tail, which could break their spines as they shear them.
The organisation is now also calling on Forever 21 to follow suit.
Peta’s investigation, which is the first of its kind, covered 12 farms across South Africa in January and February. The mohair industry in South Africa is the source of more than 50% of the world’s mohair.
Peta vice-president of International Campaigns Jason Baker said: “Gentle baby goats were left torn up and bloody, all for mohair sweaters and scarves.
“Compassionate companies are acting swiftly to cut ties with this egregiously cruel industry, and Peta is calling on all retailers still peddling mohair items to follow their leads.”
The organisation, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”, has asked law enforcement agencies to investigate and file charges, as appropriate, for potential violations of South Africa’s Animals Protection Act of 1962.
The organisation said farmers admitted that, after shearing, many goats die from exposure to the cold wind and rain. About 40000 reportedly died of exposure across South Africa in just one weekend. Unwanted goats also died in agonising ways.
Clothing retailer H&M pledged to remove mohair from their range by 2020.
“For us, it is of utmost importance that animals are treated well and we have therefore decided to permanently ban mohair. We have been in close dialogue with Peta for several years and fully agree with them on this matter.
"We will now look into what other alternative materials we can offer our customers.”
M&S clothing said: “We have a very small volume of mohair fibre in some of our products. However, we recognise that the traceability of the mohair fibre back to farms is currently a challenge and we do not have the level of assurances that we would like to ensure the welfare of these animals is being upheld.”
The company added that until they can trace the fibre back to a farm source and verify the appropriate levels of animal welfare, they will eliminate mohair-containing products from all its stores and website by March 2019.
The 68 companies include these which have made similar pledges to ban mohair: Ascena retail group, Inc, which owns Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Justice and other brands, with over 4800 stores throughout North America; and Bestseller Group, which owns brands such as Vero Moda and Noisy May.