You may have seen mohair on a tag before and been like what’s that? *shrug* I’ll take it! Well, stop doing that. It’s bad.
First things first: Mohair is a long, smooth fiber used in sweaters, hats, and other accessories that comes from angora goats. (It’s different from angora wool, which comes from angora rabbits.)
Here’s why it’s cruel: Workers dehorn baby goats when they’re only 1 or 2 weeks old, typically by burning their horns off with a hot iron or with caustic chemical paste, which causes severe burns or even blindness if it gets on their skin or eyes. The babies try to rub their heads to ease the pain.
Goats may endure the pain of having their horns burned out with a hot iron, a procedure typically done when they’re 1 or 2 weeks old, as in this image. This procedure is typically done without any pain relief.
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 are exploited for profit.
Males’ testicles are removed using rubber rings, which leaves them in distress for days and often leads to tetanus infection. Pain relief? Don’t kid yourself—the baby goats don’t get anything like that.
These sensitive animals have many complex needs, including specific nutritional requirements, which are usually not met on mohair farms.
That’s just the beginning: To obtain mohair, workers often tie the goats’ legs together, pin the animals to the ground, and shear them with electric shears or large clippers. Being restrained like this is particularly horrifying for prey animals. And because workers are paid per animal shorn—not by the hour—they work fast, frequently injuring the goats and cause gaping wounds.
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.)
After shearing, angora goats lack the covering they need to avoid the deadly effects of becoming chilled. They’re so sensitive that summer winds and rain can kill them even when temperatures aren’t low, and shearing them in the winter causes many to die of pneumonia.
Their miserable lives are ended by a painful, terrifying death: As soon as the industry can no longer exploit them for maximum profit, the goats are sold for meat or slaughtered for their skin. Buyers cram them into trucks bound for the slaughterhouse for rides as long as 35 hours. Once there, humans kill them with a captive-bolt gun, electric shock, or slit their throats.
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.
Mohair production is also destructive to the planet. One pound of mohair requires that goats be fed between 40 and 50 pounds of feed grown on land that could have been used to grow crops to feed humans. “Overstocking” and “overgrazing” commonly cause land degradation—particularly in Lesotho.
What You Can Do
Never buy any product that contains mohair or any other animal derived material. Plenty of cozy fabrics aren’t made from mohair or wool, so you never have to support this cruel, exploitative, and destructive treatment of animals. Just check the labels before you buy!
SPREAD THE WORD!