Cruelty-free clothes

Clothing is a contentious subject when it comes to human rights (conditions and pay for the people who make our clothes), the environment (impact on nature from factories, chemicals used for dyes and water use for clothes production) and animals. In this section we will focus on the animals, but you will find sections on human rights and environment in relations to clothing else where on this site.

What materials are used for your clothes? Much of our clothing these days is synthetic, but there are still lots of fabrics made from natural sources.

Simple Thing: Know what you are buying

Need a warm jumper for winter? Find your item from ethically sourced shops. Sheep’s wool from local farms for example is nice and warm and not harmful to animals. Many wool shops sell online or will have a website where you can find

Simple Thing: Do I really need another one?

The problem with the production of clothing made out of wool such as angora is the immense demand. Angora rabbits have thick, warm and soft fur; ideal for making us nice warm jumpers, scarves and hats. You can very easily get this fur off an angora rabbit by giving it a nice brush. However, to be effective, you need to brush it when it is moulting, which only happens at certain times of the year. In order to meet the demand of angora wool, the farmers cannot afford to wait for this. Therefore they have resorted to literally pulling out the rabbits’ fur. Needless to say this is extremely painful (imagine someone pulling out all your hair) and traumatic for the rabbits.

If we make sure the demand for angora decreases so that a realistic amount of wool can be produced, angora wool farmers won’t be forced to torture their animals to be able to keep up in the market.

So do you really need to buy that jumper or cardigan? Can your current knitwear last you another year or more? Or if you really need it, why not have a little browse in a second hand shop?

angora rabbit; angora wool; cruelty to animals

‘Spinning her Angora Rabbit’ – A lady is picking small tufts of fur from her rabbit while it is relaxing on her lap. Can you imagine a happier beginning for your warm woolly jumper? Unfortunately the demand for angora wool is so high that for the majority of angora rabbits in the wool industry this is but wishful thinking. Photograph: from ‘Procrastination!’ in ‘Life, Fiber, Books and All’, 2007.


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