You may already know that leather, fur and wool come from animals who are
often terribly abused and killed to be turned into shoes, coats, jumpers and
other items of clothing. But did you know that many other types of materials
used for clothing are made from the skins and fur of animals? Some of these
materials are not so recognisable. See if you know any of these:
Angora (Mohair): angora is made from the hair of goats or rabbits. Angora
rabbits are routinely strapped to boards for shearing – an experience that
is painful and traumatic for the animals.
Down/Feathers: birds often have the feathers pulled out of their skin after
they have been slaughtered, but sometimes birds – such as geese from
"breeding flocks" and those raised for the cruel foie gras industry – are
plucked whilst they are still alive. They feel every feather as it is ripped
from their body.
Silk: silk is derived from the cocoons of caterpillar larvae. Most of the
insects abused by the silk industry don't live past the pupae stage, when
they are steamed, boiled or gassed to death in their cocoons.
Velvet: velvet is also often made from silk, but synthetic alternatives can
Cashmere: cashmere is made from the hair of Cashmere goats and wild goats of
Tibet. Up to 80 per cent of young goats may be killed and discarded as trash
if their coats are not considered to be of sufficient value to farmers.
Chamois: chamois is the skin of the chamois antelope. Goats, sheep and deer
are also used to make leather household cleaning cloths.
Pashmina: pashmina is hair cut from Himalayan goats and used to make shawls
of the same name.
Shearling: shearling is a sheepskin or lambskin pelt, typically with leather
or suede on one side and shorn fibres on the other. It is often made into
Nubuck: nubuck is the inner side of a cow's skin that has been sanded to
create short fibres.
Synthetic alternatives are readily available so that you don't have to buy
cruelly produced materials made from animals. People all around the world
are making informed, cruelty-free choices in their everyday lives. Buy
consciously and compassionately, and make sure you always check the label
before you purchase any item.